We need to make a clear distinction between traditional Master Data (MD), Supply Chain Master Data (SCMD), and Instance Data (IData). This will help us understand some important differences in various supply chain track and trace technologies.
Wikipedia defines “Master Data” like this today:
“…Master Data is that persistent, non-transactional data that defines a business entity for which there is, or should be, an agreed upon view across the organization.”
This isn’t detailed enough for me. MD must include a data element that serves as an identifier. An identifier that refers to a given MD record must be unique within the organization.
Good candidates for MD are customer information, location information, product information and employee information. The characteristic these all have in common is that the data behind them rarely change. For example, I have been issued an employee number by my company. My employee number is the unique identifier for the MD that describes me to the company. My mailing address, phone number, marital status, social security number rarely change.
Most organizations make use of MD so that they can maintain the definition of these entities in a single place, and they can simply refer to these definitions through the corresponding unique identifier. The identifier provides a quick way to get to the full set of information. In many cases, the identifier can serve as a stand-in for the full set of information.
Supply Chain Master Data
Wikipedia doesn’t yet have a definition for Supply Chain Master Data. I’ve coined the term to describe something that is similar, but distinctly different than Master Data as described above. I’ll define it like this:
“Supply Chain Master Data is that persistent, non-transactional data that defines a business entity for which there is, or should be, an agreed upon view across the supply chain.” Continue reading Master Data, Supply Chain Master Data and Instance Data