The key to preparing data for import into SiteSense® is understanding your Materials Management System (MMS) workflow and data. Choosing the best strategy to import data into SiteSense® Materials Management System depends on where the data originates. Whether your process involves an ERP system, spreadsheets or pencil and paper, SiteSense® MMS has a data integration strategy to suit any situation.
What Makes Data Unique?
The ability to identify specific artifacts in a material management system is important for all of the data import strategies. When integrating two systems, there needs to be a reference that both systems can use to identify pieces of data. This information makes it possible to detect when data is updated or removed.
A unique identifier can be as simple as a Purchase Order number, yet it might be as intricate as a Part Catalog number. The key is that the unique identifier does not change over time. The unique identifier needs to be static. Which means if the name of a part can change, it’s not a suitable candidate for being a unique identifier. Look for something that does not change. Choosing the appropriate unique identifier strengthens the integration process.
The Human Error Factor
Another overarching factor when choosing a strategy for ingesting data is the human factor. Whenever a human interacts with data that interaction introduces the possibility for data corruption. The term “fat fingered” and the acronym PEBCAK exist for a reason. People can make mistakes. Type a ‘0’ instead of a ‘9’, enter a date day-month-year instead of month-day-year, miss a line item. These scenarios will creep into any system and the data integrity will suffer. Reducing the touch points in a material management system where the data is manipulated by a person, reduces the human error impact on the integrity of the data. The higher the integrity of the data, the more efficient the operation.
Data Import Strategies
The manual approach is generally recommended for point of entry and one-off scenarios. Users of SiteSense® can manually create any artifact in the Material Management System (Example: Part, Purchase Order, Material Transfers, etc.). As stated previously, manual entry introduces the human element, so this strategy should only be used when appropriate. If SiteSense® is where the artifact is first created, such as a Pick Ticket, then it is appropriate to use manual entry. One-offs and inventory corrections are other examples where the manual approach is appropriate. However, if the artifact is a Purchase Order created in a third-party ERP system then there are better suited strategies with automation.
One way SiteSense® MMS helps reduce human factor errors is the ability to map data from a third-party current ERP system or spreadsheet. Purchase Orders, Receipts, MRRs, ASNs or any other acronym for an artifact in the material management system can be mapped into SiteSense® MMS. Using data early on in the MMS process allows for a more complete look into a project site’s material inventory and equipment workflow.
ERP Adapters provided by SiteSense® MMS can offer very tight integration. Changes made in the ERP system are reflected in SiteSense® and vice versa.
Some systems run on spreadsheets and other systems use spreadsheets as a way to export data. Spreadsheets are a staple in the construction industry. SiteSense® is able to map rows and columns to create particular material management system artifacts. Uploading spreadsheet files into SiteSense® MMS is an efficient way to ingest large amounts of data.
The SiteSense® Advantage
SiteSense® MMS uses data from wherever it originates and employs flexible strategies to increase data integrity of the entire system. Contact Intelliwave today to learn which data integration strategy works best for your application.