Single source of (customer and product) truth is central to superior customer experience

By: Avijit Biswas

22 Jun, 2021

Remember the Batman V Superman Jeep Renegade Dawn of Justice edition? Built to release with the movie in 2016 this special edition included standard popular equipment group in addition to all the Batman black. Now imagine a customer walking into a dealer store looking for replacement of its dual zone climate control. The dealer says they don’t carry it any longer and neither are they able to locate one that does.

Automotive companies where part identification and reporting diversity has proliferated across storage locations & production units lose the ability of sharing parts inventory between sister dealers. In turn this makes availability check and response to opportunistic spares sales situations super hard to service.

Customers looking to replace that climate control now has to wait for days as dealer agents navigate through store systems to confirm earliest availability.

Part Name Part Number Vendor Location Stock(numbers) Qty Availability
Blower fan 82105-LFT Universal Spare Parts Everet, MA 15
Evaporator CC-20167 Integrated Climate Control Systems Roxbury 64
Condensing coil 30248 USP Inc. 24 Shetland St, Everett 90
Expansion valve CLMT CNTR-70345 Univ. Spare Parts Everett, MA 210
CC Fan CC-82105 ICC Syst. Wash. Street, Rox. 84
Cond. coil 49350 Int. CC System Washington St., Roxbury, MA 104

Systems unaware of alternates (after all Dawn of Justice used the same climate control as many other Jeep models) and unable to understand that Stock, Qty, Availability mean the same - have no way of responding to that waiting customer.

On the input side too, without harmonized view of inventory, centralized procurement department created to drive economies of scale, does very little in rationalizing vendors or simplifying supply chain.

It’s not uncommon to receive call from a Telco’s local sales team offering an upgrade, just a day after one has signed up for same on the web. Absence of golden record, with subscriber’s personal, service, and related information, leaves the subscriber annoyed and sales representative frustrated. B2B insurance gets complicated with different divisions and geographies buying multiple disparate risk coverage from the same insurer. Policies are often distributed via different channels that may include third party agencies as well.

Policy Holder Address ID
Millennial Motors 1200 Ilderton Rd, London SE15 1NP 1003-495-7680
MM Asia 65/1 Obudan Street Manresa. Quezon City, Philippines Null
Baltasar Goncalves MM Europe 1003-495-7688
Pringle Motors (MM) Corporate Office 1003-495-7700

Claim managers will have to struggle through these records manually - checking every address, asking colleagues, sieving thru’ past records before they can conclude that all of them roll up to Millennial Motors in London. Different policies were sold to its operating units by multiple agencies drawing from the central negotiated agreement.

Inconsistent levels of detail, missing fields or descriptions, missing or inaccurate classifications (if that at all exists) are daily challenges that operations teams across industries are living with.

Digital commerce has now made this problem truly explode. Localized field attributes is the challenge that every retailer is grappling with. The table below would give you a sense already.

SIZE 0 1 0 2 0 3 0 4 0 5 0 6 0 7 0 9 11
JP XS S M L XL XXL 3XL 4XL 5XL
US XXS XS S M L XL XXL 3XL 4XL
EU 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58
UK 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48
Height cm 155 ~ 165 160 ~ 170 165 ~ 175 170 ~ 180 175 ~ 185 180 ~ 190 185 ~ 195 185 ~ 195 185 ~ 195
feet 5'1 ~ 5'4 5'3 ~ 5'6 5'4 ~ 5'7 5'6 ~ 5'9 5'8 ~ 6'1 5'9 ~ 6'2 6'1 ~ 6'4 6'1 ~ 6'4 6'1 ~ 6'4
Chest cm 78 ~ 86 82 ~ 90 86 ~ 94 91 ~ 99 96 ~ 104 101 ~ 109 106 ~ 114 116 ~ 124 126 ~ 134
inch 31 ~ 34 32 ~ 35 34 ~ 37 36 ~ 39 38 ~ 41 40 ~ 43 42 ~ 45 46 ~ 49 50 ~ 53
Waist cm 66 ~ 74 70 ~ 78 74 ~ 82 79 ~ 87 84 ~ 92 91 ~ 99 98 ~ 106 111 ~ 119 124 ~ 132
inch 26 ~ 29 28 ~ 31 29 ~ 32 31 ~ 34 33 ~ 36 36 ~ 39 39 ~ 42 44 ~ 47 49 ~ 52
Sleeve(Center Back) cm ~82 ~83 ~84 ~85 ~86 ~87 ~89 ~91 ~93
inch ~32.3 ~32.7 ~33.1 ~33.5 ~33.9 ~34.3 ~35 ~35.8 ~56.6
Neck cm ~34 ~36 ~38 ~40 ~42 ~44 ~46 ~50 ~54
inch ~13.4 ~14.2 ~15 ~15.7 ~16.5 ~17.3 ~18.1 ~19.7 ~21.3

Should the production unit treat JP XS and US XXS as 2 different ‘products’? Or should that be done at the dispatch end? Add to this the challenges of different retail chains using different expressions to count inventory – stock, quantity, qty, available units and so on. Production planning, ATP check, distribution planning have never been this complex.

Big data analytics or AI enabled decision making can be impactful only with robust data governance. And data governance can only be attempted after masters are harmonized and standardized.

Until then customers will continue to

- receive telecom sales rep’s upgrade request calls even after signing up for the same

- be surprised to know that the climate control was always available, and

- wait for insurance claim processing for weeks

About the Author

Avijit Biswas

Avijit is the Co-founder and CEO of Sainapse