Do you work with live in Europe and work with folks in the US?  Or live in the US and work with folks in Europe?  Have you noticed how all your meetings appear to be at the wrong time with people dialling in an hour early or late?  Welcome to the finest example of why mastering time really matters.

In 2005 the US Congress had an idea, an idea that they could be more energy efficient by changing daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the second Sunday in March.  Whether it has saved energy appears still open to debate but either way the point of this is simple.

One country changed the dates for its calendaring system which meant that for a period of 2 weeks or so it would be out of step where previously it had been in-step.  From an MDM perspective this means that one source systems time maps differently to the base time (UTC) for a period of time.  If you are doing a proper mastering system and converting everything to UTC then this isn’t an issue but the daylight savings time gives us a slight kink.  The issue isn’t the mapping at the point at which the meeting is made its the mapping at the point at which the appointment is made, so our calendar should map with a UTC offset based on the future mapping not based on the mapping today.  This is where many calendaring systems fail today.

So is this important for a business beyond appointments?  It certainly is if we take fresh goods as an example.  If we have something with a very short lifespan, say a human heart, then the mapping different of an hour could mean that we incorrectly say that the heart is out of time for the transplant.  If we ship the ‘wrong way’ across the dateline for a product that has a 3 day shelf life and it takes 1 day to ship then when it arrives its only got 1 day left to sell, a 50% reduction in available days.  The point here is that mastering time is critical in the global supply chain.  We’ve covered this before on this blog when we put time as being part of the ‘Location’ mastering challenge.  This need to print the date of the destination rather than the source and of considering the point at which it will be valid rather than just the context now is central to the challenge of mastering time.

So instead of cursing the calendaring software take a look at your own enterprise and think:  Are we burning time in our systems?  Have we mastered calendars across our organisation?  Or have we just assumed that ‘its a calendar, they all look the same anyway’.