The challenge is that traditional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems (which most organizations use) is that they are not designed to cater to warehouse operations and requirements. The good news is that you don’t need to rip and replace your ERP system to streamline warehouse operations. How do you achieve this? By reconciling inventory data between ERP and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).
Easier said than done, right? Not if you follow the right steps to reconcile your inventory data so your ERP and WMS software are constantly “talking” to each other. Check out these best practices to maintain data integrity across these systems to streamline your journey to supply chain excellence.
- Regular Data Synchronization: Establishing a regular synchronization process between your WMS and ERP systems is crucial. This ensures that inventory data is consistently updated in both systems, and this is where data reconciliation tools can be game-changers. They facilitate seamless synchronization between systems with minimum human intervention and reduce human error risk.
- Define Data Ownership and Responsibility: Clearly defining data ownership and responsibilities is vital for maintaining accurate records across the inventory data lifecycle. You can achieve this by assigning specific individuals or teams to oversee data maintenance and reconciliation, drive accountability, and promptly resolve discrepancies.
- Standardize Data Formats: Consistency is vital when it comes to data formats. Standardize the formats used by both systems to minimize errors during reconciliation. You must also consider employing a standard data dictionary to ensure uniformity in terminology and units of measurement – all of which are integral units of what comprises truly “standardized” data.
- Conduct Regular Audits: While automation is key to driving efficiency and accelerating time to value, regular physical inventory counts and audits are equally integral in maintaining data integrity. These audits help identify discrepancies, enable timely adjustments, and maintain a reliable inventory baseline by aligning physical counts with system data.
- Implement Data Validation Checks: Set up data validation checks to identify inconsistencies and errors during data transfers or updates. These checks should verify quantities, locations, and other relevant data fields. Having these measures for automated alerts for data discrepancies help you nip data quality issues in the bud.
- Establish Reconciliation Procedures: Delineate standardized reconciliation procedures and steps to be followed when inconsistencies are detected. Document the process for investigating and resolving discrepancies, including the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved. This will ensure a consistent and efficient reconciliation workflow and empower your teams with a go-to rulebook when needed.
- Train Personnel: Your people will always be your biggest asset. So you must ensure you empower them with comprehensive training for managing inventory data in the WMS and ERP systems. Ensure they understand the reconciliation process and are familiar with the tools and techniques used for data validation and correction. Doing so will enhance accuracy and efficiency and also create a culture of accountability throughout the value chain.
- Monitor Data Change History: Maintaining a comprehensive log of all changes made to the inventory data in both systems is crucial. With the right data reconciliation tool, you can trace the source of discrepancies and identify potential issues in data entry or system integration. By having a clear change history, you can also quickly investigate and rectify any inconsistencies.
- Conduct Root Cause Analysis: When discrepancies occur, conducting a root cause analysis helps get to the bottom of the cause. Not only does this analysis help identify underlying reasons and address systemic issues, but it is also foundational in preventing future discrepancies and improving overall inventory accuracy.
- Regular System Maintenance: Regularly updating and maintaining both, the WMS and ERP systems, is essential. Keep them up-to-date with the latest software patches and upgrades, and review and optimize system configurations to ensure seamless integration and data consistency.
Tick all these boxes, and your organization will be one step closer to achieving supply chain excellence. Once your WMS and ERP systems are linked with clean, reliable inventory data, you can be rest assured that your inventory records will improve operational efficiency, minimize errors, and drive better decision-making.
About Pivotree: Pivotree designs, builds, and manages frictionless commerce experiences for brands and their customers around the world. We provide end-to-end solutions and services in Commerce, Data Management, and Supply Chain for hundreds of brands globally.