Using Data Cleansing to Improve ERP

An often forgotten about process during ERP implementation, but nonetheless important, is data cleansing. One main reason most companies decide to upgrade to a new ERP system, or implement one for the first time, is usually to take advantage of good data systems and use them for forecasting and planning. Unfortunately, those data systems are only useful when the data flowing into them is up to date and relevant.

Data cleansing ensures that you’re going to get the most out of your new ERP system, especially if you’re hoping to use its prediction analytics to the fullest. This process can be long and tedious but will pay off in the end. The task is also often underestimated. Usually, data is spread across multiple systems or spreadsheets and it is hard to realize how much of it there really is when it’s not all in one place.

Deciding whether you need to tackle all those separate spreadsheets and systems can be difficult. Some companies even sit in denial simply because it is too hard to fathom going through all that information. Here are some questions to ask yourself to decide whether it is time.

  1. Have you forgotten to delete any price quote entries?
  2. Do you have any duplicate supplier or customer accounts?
  3. Have any old product codes that are no longer in use still in the system?
  4. Is there any critical data sitting in a spreadsheet that isn’t in your ERP system?

Answering yes to any of these questions means you’re probably ready for some data cleansing and consolidating. Now it’s time to figure out where you’re going to begin. This can be difficult when you’re in many different systems. Here are some good places to start:

  • Consolidate any data that might be duplicate information, such as addresses you might have saved under different names like “East Center Street”, “E. Center Street”, “E. Center St.” and “East Center St.”
  • Regularly meet with co-workers who will be data cleansing with you to discover where you might be bottlenecking or facing problems
  • Establish a completion date

The hardest part of data cleansing is simply getting started. Once your data is spruced up, however, your ERP system will be able to live up to your expectations.

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