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The importance of the Master Materials for Operations

In our experience in consulting carrying out projects for different companies and in most cases needing data about the materials from said companies, we detected that one of their weaknesses is the lack of information in the databases, either due to not having it or being incomplete.

We think that a good materials database is essential for the adequate support of the company’s operations, in demand planning, supply, production, warehouse processes, distribution and transport.

What should a good master material contain to support operations and why?

The basic data of identification, article description, cost and categorization of the products by families / subfamilies: it is important that the products are correctly identified and categorized in families and subfamilies of products, and avoid creating general families of products for those articles that do not correspond to none of the families originally created in the company.

A good definition and categorization of products will allow the adequate demand planning by product groups and is the basis for the implementation of the Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) process.

When planning demand, shipping materials and purchasing materials, it is important to have information about the product’s logistics units. Knowing the minimum sales units, the batch units if any, units in a box, units per layer, per pallet … will allow us to better manage our goods movements throughout the supply chain.

Lastly, it is important to have accurate information on the dimensions and weight of the products in all their grouping units from the manufacturers, particularly for those companies with software that uses these dimensions to locate the items in the most appropriate location or to lead the order picking process according to volume and weight. Sometimes this data is completed with an erroneous value, forcing the reception team to carry out these measurements manually at the entrance of the merchandise, an additional work that can also cause a bottleneck in this part of the process.

Maintaining the company’s master material is a task that is justified by its support for operations and indirectly provides an economic benefit to the company.

Author: Inmaculada Battaglia
Publication date: 22 April 2021