Good inventory management is essential for optimizing your supply chain and distribution. This is true for all sectors, from construction to food processing and the fashion industry. But which tool should you use? A lot of entrepreneurs and SMBs use Excel or another similar spreadsheet software. But is using a spreadsheet enough to manage your business effectively? What are the advantages and limits of this system? Take a look at our guide comparing managing inventory with Excel with using specialist software!
The reason inventory management is so important to businesses is because of its central role in the supply chain. Optimizing your inventory management means optimizing your costs, your space, and your time, which are all precious, limited resources. But it also means optimizing the quality of your service. The way you manage your stocks has a direct impact on all your day-to-day logistics and sales. By tracking and keeping control of your inventory, you are constantly monitoring the situation, helping you anticipate changes in the market. This helps you avoid stock-outs, ensure your products are permanently available, and keep your customers happy.
Two recent examples underline the issues relating to good inventory management. In March 2020, the panic caused by the first lockdown emptied the stocks of certain food and hygiene products (pasta, toilet paper, etc.) in record time. One year later, the Ever Given container ship running aground in the Suez Canal has slowed down the supply chain around the world. In both cases, the businesses who best managed their inventory were the least affected.
Excel is easy to use, has a familiar interface, and the cost of a license is low, meaning it is often a company’s top choice for managing its business. The tool is in the form of a workbook divided into several worksheets. This widely used non-specialist program can be used for tasks ranging from accounting to scheduling. In the specific case of inventory management, you can use it to manually record merchandise entries and removals. From straightforward inventory management to order management with inventory tracking: the features adapt to suit your changing needs.
Excel is not suited to more elaborate order management, meaning it can quickly become complicated and hard to manage when your business’s needs evolve. Inventory management is not a spreadsheet’s primary purpose.
Managing inventory manually in Excel does not just waste time, there is also an increased risk of making mistakes(carelessness, incorrect formulas, oversights, tiredness, etc.). The risk of losing data is also a serious concern. Moreover, as Excel is not an automated solution, you cannot track your inventory in real time. And only one employee can access and modify the file at a time. That is where specialized software comes in!
As your business develops, your inventory grows, your orders increase, and you take on more employees, Excel becomes a limited tool. You cannot manage everything with an Excel inventory spreadsheet. Specialized, automated inventory management software offers more security and flexibility. When spreadsheets no longer allow you to effectively manage stocks or when you increasingly encounter errors and frustrations, you need a collaborative solution. Erplain’s sales and inventory management software designed specifically for small businesses has the solution. Get a 360° overview of your inventory and business!
Managing inventory with spreadsheets could be a suitable solution when a business is just starting out, but its limits soon become apparent. As you accrue more products, orders, and users, specialized software becomes a must. Easy to use and specially designed for entrepreneurs and SMBs, the system developed by Erplain simplifies sales and logistics. Keep complete control and visibility over your inventory and sales!