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8 Ways Excel Fails at Inventory Management

Tracking your company’s inventory with a spreadsheet is costing you big bucks. Logging inventory cycle counts with Microsoft Excel may seem like the most frugal approach. But in truth, it would be cheaper to buy an automated inventory management solution than to continue using your Excel spreadsheet.

Why waste time and money?

Consider these eight ways that inventory management via spreadsheet may be wasting precious time and money in your business. 1  Bad information. Most inventory tracking spreadsheets are riddled with errors. Typically, employees write down cycle counts and pile the papers on a desk, until the person who manages the spreadsheet gets around to making updates. That employee may not be able to read illegible handwriting or accurately transcribe numbers. Sometimes it can take hours to make corrections and track down real data. 2  Lost sales. There are few things worse than missing out on a sale because an item simply isn’t in stock. But if you’re manually tracking inventory, lost sales are bound to happen. If the spreadsheet hasn’t been updated in a timely manner – and with accurate information – your company can’t make good purchasing and restocking decisions. 3  Wasted time. The spreadsheet says part No. 72 is in stock. But, nobody can find it. The warehouse practically shuts down as multiple workers look for the elusive item. This scenario costs you time and productivity. In contrast, an automated inventory management system reveals exactly where in the warehouse each item is stored and precisely how many are available. 4  Endless inventory counting. Whether you perform frequent cycle counts or periodic full-blown inventory audits, the entire process can be painful and time-consuming. Workers try to find correct information on an eye-crossing spreadsheet, and then track down items for manual counts. This can shut down your critical business processes, eat precious hours, and frustrate everyone involved. 5  Overstocks. You certainly didn’t want to run out of part No. 72 again. You ordered more. And then, when the new inventory of part No. 72 wasn’t logged into the spreadsheet, you ordered more again. Whoops. Overstocks tie up your cash and saddle your business with costly items you cannot use or move. 6  Lost opportunities. A supplier wants to make a deal and offers you a serious discount. Should you restock and, if so, how much should you buy? Without accurate real-time information, as well as quality historical data, you may end up with too much—or too little—inventory. Over- and under-stocking inventory is one of the biggest, most expensive, mistakes companies can make. 7  Back-office inefficiency. A shared spreadsheet causes conflict. Only one user can be logged in at a time, which leads to frustration and wasted minutes. In addition, it may take an employee days or weeks to update the database. An automated inventory management system, on the other hand, instantly updates records so you can access accurate information in real time.  If you’re a retailer, you can improve customer service and sales by making sure you remain fully stocked. If you’re a manufacturer, you can eliminate costly downtime, reduce the space required to store excess inventory and stock, and improve that all-important bottom line. 8  Poor supply chain visibility. Today, supply chain visibility is critical for compliance with federal regulations.  With a spreadsheet-based system, it is almost impossible to get an end-to-end view of transactions across the enterprise, let alone the supply chain. Instead, you might spend days or weeks manually tracking down product information required for recalls, items lost in transit, or defects.

Say goodbye to spreadsheets.

Solving these challenges is much easier and more affordable than you might think. Find out more about inventory management solutions such as Wasp Inventory Control from System ID.