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The Supplier Master Data Riddle

Supplier Master Riddle

They say that, if you can solve “Albert Einstein’s riddle”, you are in the top 2% of intelligent people in the world. Sometimes navigating an organization’s supplier master feels like a riddle. As such, just for fun, here is a puzzle…

1. Within the supplier master there are five supplier records, each with the same company name, yet each has a different tax ID.

2. Each supplier record relates to different organizational units (sites).

3. Each organizational unit purchases a different product, has had different invoice numbers tied to their record, and maintains a unique remit to / bank address.


Here are some hints:

  • Site 4, US has a supplier with a TIN# of 86-5251821.
  • Invoice #3956 was for Site 6, EMEA.
  • Site 4, US buys Keyboards.
  • The record with TIN# 74-7205478 is next to, and above TIN# 48-2816262.
  • The supplier with TIN# 74-7205478 provides Consulting.
  • Invoice #4213 was paid to an HSBC, UK bank account.
  • TIN# 59-7015211 uses an HSBC, US account.
  • The middle “supplier” had provided Monitors.
  • The top supplier record serviced Site 2, UK.
  • The supplier record using a JPMC, US account for payment is next to the one who has an invoice of #7566.
  • The supplier record with the invoice of #4712 is next to the record that uses an HSBC, US bank account.
  • When Servers were bought, a Citigroup, US account was used for payment.
  • Payment to the RBS, UK account was for Site 1, CA’s supplier record.
  • The Site 2, UK supplier record is next to the supplier record having a TIN# of 87-4888411.
  • The supplier record representing Laptops is next to the supplier record using a JPMC, US bank account.

There are no tricks – and, if you are so inclined, you can solve this puzzle through logic alone.

The question is, however, how difficult should it be to match your supplier relationships, and related information, to your supplier records? It shouldn’t be, and it certainly shouldn’t be something so confusing that 98% of the world’s population would not be able to solve the Supplier Master Riddle.

Without proper master data governance at the core of Supplier Information Management, one cannot establish the “single version of the truth” needed to: gain operational efficiencies; extend the value of any investments within the existing supply base initiatives; and, avoid having to solve the Supplier Master Riddle.

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