What is master data, and why is it essential for serialization?

One of the significant factors to determine the success of a product’s serialization is to have accurate and verifiable information. The serialization data needs to include information about the product details, the source and where it is destined to arrive. The information in the records must include details like the name of the product, the cost, and location of shipping. This information is also known as master data that could be about materials, vendors, suppliers and customers and can also include transactional data (depending on the business). As master data is used to maintain and build an accurate and reliable system for product records, this helps during data exchange between interfaces and in singling out where issues have occurred in the supply chain.

Many organizations believe they have useful, precise datasets only to later face challenges with trade partners and associates as the information may not be valid anymore or found in the same system. It’s also important to note that master data is stored in different systems (e.g. government systems) and is created only once, and then referred to and used again and again. The information can then be edited and updated within a dataset.

Companies must, therefore, ensure serial numbers for their products and maintain records of their master data which is critical when exchanging data and for the packaging and labeling stages. The objective is to synchronize the data from different sources and locations; otherwise, there’s a risk that it may become inaccurate, stale and unusable. The data needs to correctly correspond to the serial number of the product in the company records and when sending it to partners. That’s why it’s crucial to be alert, vigilant and to have proper protocols in place. This is so there’s appropriate data management and to include consistent practices and policies.

Studying and understanding the master data helps in planning a serialization strategy as it provides information about a product and explains the journey of the product in the supply chain. It helps in also the packaging and labeling configuration in the serialization process. Master data is vital in the serialization of a product as the serial numbers on it or the unit allows tracking and tracing and is used to check if the information is sent to the right destination with the correct, corresponding serial number. Accounting for master data usage throughout the serialization stages and process prevents future challenges with serial numbers on packages and with differing country-specific requirements. Businesses can use master data information to grow and work more quickly and efficiently. More so through understanding data requirements and addressing the master data challenges right from the inception stages till completion.