The Data Management Checklist’s painful to have an expensive route accounting software and then fill it up with dirty data. Your data is your business intelligence, and you rely on it to provide an accurate picture of what’s going on in the business.

Dirty data jeopardizes the accuracy of your reporting and possibly the fate of the free world. Or at least your sales distribution report. Your data is an asset – maintain, manage and verify it.

This short checklist provides tips you can follow to implement a data management plan in your company to keep your intel fresh and clean.

The Data Management Checklist for Beer Distributors

  • Begin at the beginning:
    • Start with this simple approach: Ask those who use the data – the sales team, the inventory person, the GM – what problems do they see with reports? What info are they concerned about? What do they think needs to be ‘fixed’?
    • Make a list of their issues (data issues only, leave the other issues for HR). This list will help you prioritize where to start the clean-up process.
  • Conduct a data audit
    • It sounds impressive, and it is. Make an assessment of your data and determine how much work needs to be done.
    • Most common issues: missing, incomplete or inconsistent data.
  • Create a clean-up plan
    • Start with the most important areas: Products and accounts are the two pillars of the distributor database. Tidy these up first. Run reports to check completeness of data.
    • Next, plan to clean up the issues noted by your team in step one.
  • Get support from the top
    • “Hey boss, here are some problems I found…” Buy-in from the top is a big piece of the data management plan. People need to take the data seriously or you’ll just be spinning your wheels. Get the boss on board, and tell them it was their idea.
  • One person must be in charge of your database
    • If everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. Have one person in charge of your data management plan, and data integrity. The buck stops with this person (and it’s probably you!)
  • Limit the number of people allowed to enter data
    • Give some people access to view the database, but not to enter data (you know who these people are – they’re not fit to dress themselves, let alone enter data in the system. View only permission for these folks).
  • Train people to enter data the right way
    • Train each person who does data entry carefully on the correct procedures. The fewer number of people you have making entries, the easier this will be.
  • Document procedures and clearly define the process for data entry
    • It’s not enough to tell them what to do, you need to write it down and put it on paper. In some cases you may need to tattoo it on their forearm. Do what must be done; data entry standards are essential to data integrity.

Only you can prevent dirty data. Implement a data management plan today.

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