Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Managing Your Supplier Master

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I can’t tell you the number of companies I worked with whose supplier master contained 30,000 records or more. Talk about a mess! So, why is having a supplier master data problem common? It all starts at the source.

The first question I always asked customers was how a new supplier could be added to the system. The most common response was “we don’t know,” followed by “it’s complicated.”

And indeed, the problem is not as straightforward to fix as it seems. It all comes back to centralization vs. decentralization. There will always be segments of spend beyond the scope of a central buying organization. And decentralized spend categories are often where the most prolific growth in the supplier master occurs.

Some companies just resign themselves to periodic cleanup. And maybe that’s not an awful approach. By not introducing too much bureaucracy into the new supplier process the organization stays nimble. Many of my former customers used Austin-Tetra for help and seemed pretty satisfied.

Those that choose to tackle the problem head-on begin by inserting a central approval process for new suppliers. But expect LOB pushback, and offer same-day turnaround or some semi-approved status codes to keep from slowing down the pace of your business.

What’s worked for you?


Written by Dave Stephens

02/20/06 3:35 PM at 3:35 pm

Posted in Opinion

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