Building an effective master data strategy for waste management

  Pritesh Pattni


Most waste management businesses have embraced technology in recent years, digitising the day-to-day processes that used to be pen and paper. But, in many cases, this digital transformation has been done in silos, leading to disparate systems and software. And most of all, this has created a huge amount of data stored in different places and formats. In order to achieve true operational efficiency, a system is needed where all of the data is manageable, accurate and up-to-date.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of Master Data Management, its benefits, and how to develop and execute an effective master data strategy that can unlock key operational efficiencies within your Waste Management business.

What is Master Data Management?

Master data refers to having one set of reference data to control the entire end-to-end process by incorporating rules, standardising input and removing duplication. It can cover relatively static reference data, transactional, unstructured, analytical, hierarchical and metadata.

Master data management has the objective of providing processes for collecting, aggregating, matching, consolidating, quality-assuring, persisting and distributing, such data throughout an organisation to ensure consistency and control in the ongoing maintenance and application use of this information.

What is a Master Data Strategy and why is it important in waste management?

A Master Data Strategy is the process in which your business plans and executes the tasks required to achieve its goal of having a single source of Master Data. In the waste management industry, the benefits of executing this strategy are all the more significant because of the range and different types of data involved:

  • Different types of waste
  • Regulations and codes relating to recycling and disposal of different materials
  • Customer, client and supplier information
  • Vehicle fleet information and their collection schedules.

With Master Data Management in place, this opens the door to streamlining all of the operational processes related to these elements. For instance, optimising and scheduling routes, reducing service disruptions and minimising costs.

Eradicate Different Data Sets & Manual Input

At a basic level, master data management seeks to ensure that an organisation does not use multiple (potentially inconsistent) versions of the same master data in different parts of its operations, which can occur when multiple software applications are being used. These applications might be from different vendors, used across different sites, or even different teams, i.e. Accounts, Sales & Operations. Or all of the above.

A typical example of poor master data management is the scenario of a company at which a customer has set up an account but the data related to that account lives in and is managed in several different places. This account is duplicated in both the CRM and accounting application with different contacts, locations and pricing for services. When the said services take place, confusion could reign with getting to sites, accessing locations and billing the correct people. And this confusion can lead to mistakes in invoices, which are costly to rectify in administration time, delay payments and worst of all could jeopardise the customer relationship.

So the first goal of your Master Data Strategy should be to agree upon a single system where the master data will live. Secondly, you need to ensure that this system has all the relevant fields for which the data can live, whether it’s relevant to just one area of your business or all of them.

Eliminate Incorrect Data by Incorporating Rules

In computing, a master data management tool can be used to support master data management by removing duplicates, standardising data (mass maintaining), and incorporating rules to eliminate incorrect data from entering the system to create an authoritative source of master data. Master data are the products, accounts and parties for completing business transactions.

Eradicate Data Silos by Linking All Transactions with a Common Point of Reference

Master data management (MDM) is a comprehensive method of enabling an enterprise to link all of its critical data to one file, called a master file, that provides a common point of reference. When properly done, master data management streamlines data sharing among personnel and departments. In addition, master data management can facilitate computing in multiple system architectures, platforms and applications.

This will involve integrating all of your disparate software or upgrading to software that covers more than one function within your business.

Quality Control & One Version

At its core, Master Data Management (MDM) can be viewed as a “discipline for specialised quality improvement” defined by the policies and procedures put in place by a data governance organisation. The ultimate goal is to provide the end user community with a “trusted single version of the truth” from which to base decisions.

An effective Master Data Management strategy requires careful policing and advocating a single person or team to have the final say on the correct data to use. Human error can and will cause errors in the accuracy of your data. But with a proper quality control process in place, these errors can be flagged, fixed, and the culprit made aware of their mistake so they can avoid repeating it in the future.

Drive Process & Standards

Master data management (MDM) comprises the processes, governance, policies, standards and tools that consistently define and manage the critical data of an organisation to provide a single point of reference.

Power Transactions with Master Data

While master data is often non-transactional in nature, it is not limited to non-transactional data and often supports transactional processes and operations. For example, Master data may be about customers, products, employees, materials, suppliers, and vendors, and it may also cover: sales, documents and aggregated sales.

Bringing your transactional data within the Master Data Strategy enables the benefits to impact the areas of your business most closely related to your waste management company’s income generation and bottom line.

How ISB Global helps waste management companies deploy a master data strategy

Through our waste management software, Waste & Recycling One, ISB Global has helped waste management companies around the world streamline their data collection and management, ensure full data accuracy, operate more efficiently and drive revenue.

Benefits of Waste and Recycling One Master Data

Master data
Master data stored in Waste and Recycling One

Enhance Service, Speed-Up Billing, Manage Payments, Increase Profitability

Using one set of data in Waste & Recycling One means that right from the very beginning of the process, like a quote, through to the very end, like banking and payments, everything can be monitored and controlled. Giving you continuity, accuracy, speed and insight in everything your business does.

You just don’t get this level of efficiency and control in separate software applications.

WR1 Business Partner Master Data in the embedded CRM is linked to Price Lists, Material Data, Waste Codes, Job Data and, perhaps most importantly, integrated into financial transactions, so that accounts payable and receivable activities can be actioned immediately. One set of customer and supplier data is used throughout the software so that quote is passed to contract, scheduling, planning, in-bound material and container processing.

As the customer and supplier data is maintained through Waste & Recycling One, quote to cash, as soon as jobs are confirmed they can be immediately invoiced, any matching payments directly related to the job, no rekeying into other software applications.

Accounting journal transaction is raised immediately and the nominal ledger is updated, manually, semi or automatically, it’s your choice.

In general, as an improvement in speeding up administrative processes, the use of Waste & Recycling One as an integrated software solution eradicates the need for multiple applications and saves on average 30% administration time immediately on implementation.

Find out more in our article: Data Management for Process Control

Learn more about the features and benefits of Waste Management Software.

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