Why you should get rid of Excel when it comes to your inventory

Written by
4 Minute Read
Share Blog:

There was once a time when using Excel spreadsheets for your inventory management was probably the best option. Even now, it can seem like a cost-effective choice, especially when you’re just starting out and the pennies are a tad tight. But don’t get fooled into using it, your business can do better. With the cloud-based options that are available today, you can get a purpose built solution that will suit your needs, and for only a small cost. Trust us, it will save you in the long run.

Anyway, just to convince you even further, we’ve put together our top 5 reasons as to why you should ditch Excel when it comes to your inventory management, and switch to something as awesome as Unleashed!

Reason #1 – It drains too much of your time

Excel spreadsheets are all about manual data entry. There’s very little automation and they essentially drain your or your staff members’ time. For starters, they don’t come all set up, ready to go. Someone has to actually sit down and take the time to organize the tables in a way that will actually work with your business. And given your business’s needs will changes, it is likely you will have to spend hours changing your spreadsheets as you go too. Who has the time and patience for that?

Also, just think about how many products and SKUs your business has now, not too mention how many it could have in the future. Manually entering all the data for this is simply going to be painful. Added to this, it’s not like you can take your spreadsheet with you as you do stock takes. So, now you’re not only looking at having to enter all the data manually but you’re also double handling it as well, as you’ll probably need to print your spreadsheet to write on as you count, then type it into the spreadsheet once you get back to your desk.

Reason #2 – It doesn’t grow with your company

When your business is looking to grow Excel stays stagnant. You can’t look to add any new features, nor can you add any new reporting or forecasting features that will help you realize your true potential. You are literally stuck with what you have. This may be fine when you are literally just starting out and you only have one or two products to sell and your client base is small. But when you start staring down the barrel of having thousands of SKUs, hundreds of sales and deliveries from suppliers every day to top up your stock, things will start getting pretty tricky really quickly unless you have inventory management software that can easily keep up. Finally, would your Excel macro cope with a couple of heavy calculations around hedging foreign currency risk?

Reason #3 – It’s out of date before you’ve even left your desk

Real-time data and inventory management is critical to the success of your business. Your customers want to know whether you have what they want now, not whether you had it yesterday when you last updated your spreadsheet. Excel simply can’t offer that. You won’t have the time to be updating your spreadsheets as you go so it’s always showing true data, instead by the time you’ve typed it in it’s probably changed again and you’ll be back to square one.

Reason #4 – It’s error ridden

As a result of all the manual data entry and tracking you will have to do with Excel, errors are bound to slip in. This is particularly the case when many people are using the same document. We’re only humans after all, so these things will happen. The real problem is, especially when you are looking at large amounts of data, it’s really hard to spot the errors and spot them in a quick enough time frame to do something about them. (Imagine needing to handle tens of thousands of serial number tracked stock?) Chances are you will only really pick them up when it’s too late, if at all. You simply cannot run a business with those kind of mistakes riddled throughout your inventory records.

Reason #5 – Only one person can use it at a time

Excel spreadsheets are pretty simple in the fact that only one person can edit them at a time. Yes, you can upload them to the cloud these days to get around this but the features are not the same and it can get a little tricky. But how are you expected to work and keep your inventory records up to date when only one person in the business can access them at a time. It will be stifling to your productivity. Not to mention if someone decides to create different version of the document, you’ll be left in limbo as to which one to use.

Yes, you will need to go through a period of change management to switch over to dedicate stock management software. But it’s worth it.

More about the author:

Share Blog:
Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

More posts like this

Subscribe to receive the latest blog updates