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shutterstock_114965776Data synchronisation is a process that involves two sets of data being always aligned so that transactions or actions based on each set of data generate consistent results when it is used.

An obvious example of data synchronisation in a supply chain context is agreement about pricing between buyers and suppliers. Once price is agreed, a buyer may issue an order and the supplier will deliver the product and issue an invoice for the delivered product at the agreed price. If the price data is synchronised between the buyer and the supplier before the transaction there should be no claim, error or disagreement. This was always the case, even before electronic trading and electronic data synchronisation.

Some other related data may have to be agreed, even if all that is being synchronised is pricing. So the start and finish date of the applicable price, the ordering unit to which that price applies and other key data may also have to be synchronised.

GS1net is a datapool (hosted by GS1 Australia) with which suppliers and buyers can connect, so that when changes are made to data in one company’s database, those changes can automatically be sent to all companies who do business with them. GS1net is part of a worldwide network, the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN), built around the GS1 Global Registry, GDSN-certified data pools that are located around the world, the GS1 Data Quality Framework and GS1 Global Product Classification. Bizcaps Software is an Alliance Partner of GS1 and its software was the first certified in Australia for use with GS1net.

When a supplier and a customer use the same accurate and up-to-date data, it is faster and less expensive for them to do business together. Synchronising accurate, properly classified data results in improved accuracy of orders, fewer duplicate systems and processes, and a proven way to streamline processes that will drive unnecessary costs out of the supply chain.

As electronic trading and supply chain systems become more sophisticated, the number of data elements that can usefully be synchronised have increased and are certainly not limited to pricing. The volume of data and the speed of its transfer have also rapidly increased. Transactions now often take place with little manual intervention.

While such systems are a lot more efficient, the potential for costly errors has increased accordingly. So, for instance, if the buyer receives the delivered product into an automated warehouse, completely controlled by an electronic system, it is important that the dimension, weight and other logistics information is aligned between the supplier and the buyer. If it is not, all of the benefits of automation and electronic trading are lost for at least one of the parties. A report in the grocery industry in Australia found that the cost of “bad data” in the supply chain will be AU$1.035 billion over five years,

Data synchronisation solutions, such as Bizcaps Enterprise, MCIS and DataSync are designed to allow trading partners to create, maintain and share product and location information, based on GDSN and GS1 standards, on an ongoing basis, eliminating manual processes and keeping product information up-to-date between buyer and supplier.