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Unified Data Structure Enables Collaboration at Würth

Master data management helps break down data silos and create golden product records across the enterprise.
7000
users
100
companies
1
MDM solution

The Würth Group is a global market leader in assembly and fastening materials, employing over 85,000 people. The company was facing a number of challenges due to both organic growth and acquisitions:

  • Siloed ERP landscape
  • Inconsistent product information
  • Lack of collaboration between subsidiaries
”Taking a master data approach to our data management challenges has enabled us to take advantage of governance rules in creating a unified view of our products. This is important for our omnichannel strategy and for achieving a global presence”.- Wolfram Sperrer, Head of E-Business Product Data Würth IT GmbH

Challenges

Siloed ERP landscape – Lack of visibility

The Würth Group comprises over 400 companies spanning 80 countries, including 260 allied companies operating under their own brands that joined as acquisitions. At a local level, individual companies in the Group were entering product data into their own ERP systems for the products they chose to go to market with in their specific regions. The result for the Group as a whole was a siloed ERP landscape that created poor customer experiences because of varying descriptions of the same product across regions.

Furthermore, the siloed approach was causing a lack of supply chain visibility. It was impossible for the Group HQ to get insight into whether the same product came from different suppliers or if the same supplier sold to different businesses at different prices.

To address these issues, Würth required a unified product data structure to be shared among all companies.

Solution

Golden product records

Presently, Würth utilizes Stibo Systems' Product Master Data Management (Product MDM) to establish a common product data hierarchy through centralized product information management. Over 100 Würth companies and more than 7,000 users collaborate on this single MDM solution.

Würth has adopted a centralized approach to product information management to ensure a streamlined process of entering, maintaining and updating product data across the enterprise. This unification is crucial for managing Würth's extensive product range and diversity of companies. A shared data hierarchy facilitates collaboration and prevents the detrimental maintenance of separate hierarchies for each company.

Capabilities of Product MDM:
  • Acquire, manage, govern and share master data in a unified format to provide the organization with a single source of trusted data.
  • Central hub for products and technical attributes, supporting a global data policy through a unified data structure enforced by the Group headquarters.
  • Creation of golden product records by matching and merging external supplier data with internal systems.
  • Onboarding supplier product data directly into the central structure via a built-in supplier onboarding tool. Automated workflows ensure golden product records are created when product data is entered into the system. Integrated ERPs are then synchronized, providing all companies access to consolidated information.
  • External classifications, such as ECLASS and AI components, facilitate finding the right classification in the system.
What is a Golden Record?
The golden record is the consolidated master data record of a customer, supplier or product based on the most trusted information. This is also referrred to as a single view, which consists of one unified, trusted version of data that captures all the necessary information needed to know about a customer or a product. It is very common for organizations to have several records of the same object sitting in the same or in different systems. Some of these records might be inaccurate or incomplete. Through data governance capabilities, such as matching, linking and merging, master data management (MDM) is capable of unifying information into one trusted version.

More information:

Local independency preserved to accommodate local markets Convincing different companies within the group to use a common data structure and collaborate posed a major challenge because many of these companies are competitors in the same markets. Therefore, it was important to preserve some independence.

Companies retain the possibility to manually create and enrich product information to accommodate their local markets and customers, but, at the same time, clear governance rules ensure that product attributes and value lists are uniform across the Group. Governance rules also prevent local companies from overwriting each other's product information, so data consistency is maintained.

Common master data hierarchy

Cross-company use of product data allows one company to access and use (but not change) a product created in the common data hierarchy by another company. The result is that each local company now contributes to a common master data structure and not just to their local ERP system, as they did in the past. User rules and permissions within the centralized system enhance data security and control.

Outcomes

Collaboration. As a result, global product selling and collaboration on cross-border selling have become much easier. For example, the solution allows different companies within the Group to share assets, such as supplier product data, enabling company A to sell company B’s products in case of company B’s absence in a particular market.

Global selling. The centralized data system also enables the Group to present a global product offering, supporting initiatives like the Italian eshop. Supplier data from various sources are integrated into a unified system to be used on the marketplace platform.

Cost efficiency. The possibilities and benefits of having a single, consolidated product information hub are endless. Apart from the declared goals of data consistency and collaboration, product lifecycle management and translation processes have become more cost efficient through easy access to shared data.

Omnichannel. The implementation of the MDM solution supports Würth's current multi-channel approach and is a crucial steppingstone in the transition to becoming fully omnichannel, providing the adaptability needed to meet evolving market demands.

Company:

Würth

Industry:

Manufacturing and wholesale

Region:

Germany

Solution:

Product MDM

Business Benefits

  • Global selling
  • Increased cost efficiency
  • Omnichannel fitness
  • Collaboration between subsidiaries