Data serves as the foundation for today’s digital world. Many of us operate with the assumption that this data is accurate and so we don’t question its validity. Important business decision are made based on this valuable data.
Often, we don’t realize data values are incorrect until after they’ve made it into the ERP or business environment – if we ever realize it at all.
If you don’t intentionally input low-quality “garbage” data into your ERP, then where does it come from?
The front door, aka data collection. That is, the point or process where your data is collected and communicated to the ERP database.
If you still rely on paper-based recording processes, manual data entry into spreadsheets or human memory (“tribal knowledge”) to keep track of data before your workers input it into your ERP at a computer workstation, inaccurate data will creep into your supply chain, often without you realizing it.
Manual data collection can only achieve about 60% accuracy. That leaves a lot of room for error and guesswork.
This problem may originate with frontline workers who receive shipments, interpret and transcribe handwritten sheets into the ERP or handle inventory. Managers or IT may not immediately recognize these inefficiencies. Meanwhile, frontline workers don’t have access to the entire picture, so they don’t realize the big effects these small problems are creating.
Figure one explains how this can happen:
Using manual data collection, inventory processes are too slow, opaque and inefficient for the manager to make the correct decision because the data driving that decision was inaccurate and outdated.
Mobile data collection is an industry-best practice that combines automated data capture (ADC) with enterprise mobility and barcoding technology to eliminate opportunities of human error in data collection. Employees scan barcodes to instantly capture inventory data or transact materials, which is then communicated to the ERP in real time with validation steps along the way. The end result is world-class accuracy up to 99.999%.
In this way, mobile data collection keeps errors out of your environment. Validations along the way ensure new errors don’t pop up as inventory is transacted during receiving, putaway, transfer, production, shipping and beyond.
Figure two illustrates the previous scenario, but this time using mobile data collection:
The manager was able to make the correct decision and react agilely because the data she used was accurate and up-to-date – thanks to mobile data collection.
Mobile data collection technologies, like mobile barcoding, provide built-in best practices because they integrate decades of supply chain and ERP experience into their architecture.
With manual data collection, you just can’t trust that your data is correct, even with a modern ERP like Oracle Cloud.
With mobile data collection, however, you eliminate the lag time between when work is performed and when it’s updated in your ERP. With built-in validation steps along the way, you can automatically check, double check and re-check your data to keep it accurate without any additional labor or time-wasting manual recounts. This creates perfect or near-perfect data accuracy.
Since you can trust that your data is high quality at all stages, you can now make more informed business decisions and more strategically grow and scale operations.
In addition to enforcing perfect or near-perfect data accuracy, mobile data collection provides numerous other operational benefits:
Modern ERPs, like Oracle SCM Cloud, are built on data. It’s crucial that you can trust that data’s accuracy to oversee and control stock levels, inventory movements, and make important decisions.
When low quality data enters your ERP, it has negative downstream effects across production, order fulfillment, analytics, customer service and overall decision making. If you use the wrong part to fix a machine and it subsequently breaks down, it can halt production and throw timelines into disarray. The same thing happens with low quality (garbage) data – but to your business plan. And just as that machine may be irreparably damaged because of the wrong part, so too could that plan, or at least be cumbersome to fix or reconcile after the fact.
If you have been letting “garbage” data into your ERP, even unintentionally, then it’s time you examined your data collection practices.
Once you can trust your data, you can more easily make smart supply chain decisions for your business.
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