Get Your Data Ducks in a Row

Posted By: Michelle Duerst

Global Data Harmonization


In order to effectively manage their processes, companies must first manage their data.  Many leading companies currently have multiple platforms with isolated data repositories.  It’s no surprise that they cannot accurately see the true costs or compliance issues of their products.

Not only can this be frustrating, but more importantly- leads to significantly increased NPDI costs, wastes, and errors.  These errors can lead to recalls and hefty fines for non-compliance.

How do you get your data ducks in a row?


1.  Understand the culprits.

  •       Missing or incorrect data
  •       Multiple definitions
  •       Multiple versions
  •       Duplicated data
  •       Isolated data
  •       Data incompatibility


2.  Define goals for harmonization.

  •       Improved operational efficiency
  •       Effective decision-support capabilities
  •       Reliable reporting
  •       Compliant product, packaging, and labeling
  •       Greater brand loyalty
  •       Cost controls
  •       Resource allocation

3.  Define clear processes for data harmonization.

  • Migration:  Move data from multiple platforms to a synchronized database
  • Data cleansing:  Search and identify what should be removed/changed in your database
  • Data harmonization:  Review changes and implement (purging duplicate entries, mass replace, etc.)
  • Data governance:  Establish ownership and processes for maintaining database

4.  Find solutions that will allow high granularity for data maintenance and organization

  • Comparison:  Compare and contrast material attributes and product specifications to easily find duplicates and variances.
  • Where-Used:  Search for specific ingredients/materials by amount or percentage.
  • Mass Replace:  Replace an ingredient in multiple formulations/specifications.  (Ex:  consolidating and choosing a preferred vendor for multiple plants).
  • Data Integration:  Synchronize with ERP systems to continually update (push/pull) material attributes, recipes, and resources.
  • Vendor Collaboration:  Synchronize with vendors, allowing them to upload specifications for bought materials.