Three systems, large amounts of data, multiple system dead-ends and no key identifier. Such was the situation with the supplier master data at ÖBB. With the help of Bisnode and thanks to the D-U-N-S® number, the data have now been cleaned up and enhanced and will continue to be of high quality in the long run. Read here how ÖBB went about this and why the investment is worthwhile.

ÖBB operates three different systems in the area of strategic purchasing: a tender platform, a supplier management system and SAP. Because there was no key identifier, ÖBB contacted Bisnode to initiate a master data project.

The starting point

ÖBB kept a lot of data in the systems and wasn’t satisfied with the quality. The information was incomplete, out of date or duplicated. The database had grown over the years to more than 180,000 datasets.

The solution: the D-U-N-S® number as key identifier

Philip Bayer, Process Manager SCM in the strategic group purchasing department of ÖBB-Holding AG, became aware of Bisnode Austria because of the D-U-N-S® number and reached out to them. Dun & Bradstreet has been issuing the D-U-N-S® number since 1962. The acronym stands for “Data Universal Numbering System”. The nine-digit number uniquely identifies every company worldwide. Today, more than 330 million companies in 240 countries worldwide bear a D-U-N-S® number. The decision to use them as identifiers in the ÖBB systems was therefore a very quick one.

«I became aware of Bisnode because of the D-U-N-S® number»

Philip Bayer Process Manager SCM in strategic group purchasing ÖBB-Holding AG

Data cleansing as the basis for data quality

A master data project always happens in three steps: cleansing, enhancing and maintaining. That was also the case at ÖBB. During the cleansing process, incorrect information in the dataset was corrected and missing information was added. At the same time, Bisnode appended the D-U-N-S® number to each dataset.

Segmentation of data before cleansing

The number of datasets had grown to 180,000 over the years. In order to reduce the workload involved in cleansing, the suppliers were segmented beforehand. ÖBB only took into account those suppliers with whom it had had a business relationship in the last five years. This reduced the number of datasets from 180,000 to 42,000.

Rollout of the “Direct+" interface

ÖBB has connected its supplier management system to Dun & Bradstreet’s data universe via the API Direct+ and uses it to obtain up-to-date and correct data. When a supplier registers on the supplier platform, the D-U-N-S® number is added at the same time via the API. This gives ÖBB automatic access to the Business Credit File created by D&B, i.e. to all the information collected and processed, such as company affiliations, financial scores and ratings, compliance information, etc. This is particularly relevant for ÖBB as it checks every supplier thoroughly before entering into a business relationship with them.

Finally, ÖBB feeds the newly entered and enhanced data into the two other systems: the tender platform and SAP.

Investment is paying off

With the D-U-N-S® number, ÖBB has a uniform identifier in use. This has made maintaining matching tables in the background a thing of the past. However, the more than 100 users within ÖBB are the ones who benefit the most from the data availability and the high data quality.

Further improvements are in the pipeline

There are still more projects and improvements to come at ÖBB. At the moment, purchasers draft a report on their suppliers, which can run into several pages. They have to gather the information they need and include it on these reports. In future, only the decisive criteria and indicators concerning the audit of a supplier will appear on the report, which will save employees an enormous amount of time and work.

Modern Data Management

Modern Data Management

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