How to know when your business is ready to upgrade from spreadsheet forecasting and ordering
For many business folks, Excel is synonymous with ordering inventory. It’s often the go-to choice because of its familiarity and seeming ubiquity. There’s good chance that the computer you’re reading this article on right now has Excel installed, or access to something similar from Google or Open Office.
But as businesses grow and your inventory levels and complexity increase, Excel stops helping and instead makes your life more difficult. Worse, the inefficiency of ordering with a spreadsheet is costing you money through excess stock and wasted time.
Salesforce reports that almost 90% of spreadsheets have errors in them. So, while spreadsheets can seem like the “free” alternative to dedicated order management software, they’re anything but.
While you consider that, here are 5 ways to tell you’ve outgrown Excel -
1. Formula Errors Are Costing You Money
When you use Excel, formula errors are always at your fingertips. And if the number of cells in your spreadsheet is heading north of 50K – and we’ve seen far worse than that – then your chances for errors increase exponentially.
Unlike Excel, getting accurate results from Slimstock doesn’t depend on entering both the data AND the formula correctly. With Slimstock, the math is handled in the backend for you, ensuring accurate results. Forecasting and sales planning software is built for seamless upgrades and data migration.
Instead of answers, spreadsheets just raise more questions, like -
1. Will the macro you rely on work the same in latest version of Office?
2. Are hidden cells you forgot about being copied correctly to a new workbook?
3. Is having to worry about potential problems like this really better than simply avoiding them altogether?
JP Morgan Chase once famously attributed a mistake that cost them $6 billion to errors made in Excel. While the spreadsheet mistakes you see might not be enough to finance a lunar mission, they definitely add up (not unlike unsold inventory in your warehouse that was accidentally ordered due to a spreadsheet mistake).
2. You Don't Know Who Changed the Spreadsheet
Even if you do detect the mistakes that your spreadsheets are 90% likely to have, how do you know where they came from? Because it only takes one error to ruin an entire workbook, even efforts to doggedly ensure responsible use can be quickly undone.
The core of this problem is that Excel simply wasn’t designed as a collaborative piece of software, so trying to use it as one will always lead to difficulties. Even if it is possible to develop and implement a system of documented changes, the time you spend administering it can no doubt be better spent elsewhere.
Instead of opaque or byzantine usage tracking methods, Slimstock makes seeing who made changes to your data a simple and transparent process. By providing an automatically logged audit trail, you’ll always know who’s making changes to your books and when.
3. You Spend Hours on Reporting
If there’s any benefit to using spreadsheets for complex ordering and inventory tasks, it might be the brief sense of accomplishment you get from producing useful information out such an unwieldy grid of data. That’s a meager reward. And, time spent cleaning and validating data before turning into charts is time you’re not spending on improving customer experience or having dinner at home.
As anyone who’s done it knows, even if you get good at creating reports from spreadsheets, the monotony of it is unbearable and unnecessary. Slimstock quickly generates helpful, high-level reports like a Profit & Loss sheet to help with business planning. It is also equipped with a customized reporting dashboard to give you real time insights on key metrics that are always available, instead of having to create them by hand.
4. You're The Keeper of the Spreadsheet and You Need To Go On Vacation
Almost every office has The Keeper of the Spreadsheet. It’s the person you tell when the data needs to be updated, because only they know the password and it’s a closely held secret.
What’s the only thing worse than this situation? When you’re The Keeper. No one’s doubting your ability to administer spreadsheets, but what happens when you need to go on vacation? Even if you have named your Assistant Keeper, do you really trust them? Or what happens if the Keeper quits, or gets fired, or simply changes positions within the company?
This is what’s knowns as a single point of failure. These are a serious liability for any business because the eventuality of them failing isn’t “if” but “when”. Slimstock removes the risks from single points of failure by being purpose built to allow multiple users different levels of access as assigned.
5. You’re Falling Behind On Ordering Best Practices (And It’s Costing You Money)
Is the fact that it works most of the time the best thing you can say about your ordering spreadsheet? If so, then it’s unlikely you’re making gains in efficiency. Slimstock is able to save companies money because it identifies inefficiencies, reducing stock levels by up to 30%. It does this by constantly updating with best practices and new features, such as seasonality, weather factors and machine learning.
What would you do if, tomorrow, your finance team asked you to lower inventory by 30%? While it may be possible to make quick gains in the short term, without a coherent strategy these attempts ultimately end up sacrificing fill rate and CSAT. Slimstock is a system developed by people who understand inventory management.
Since 1993, Slimstock has proven itself as the market leader in inventory optimization. With Slimstock you will get advanced forecasting and supply planning features to upgrade your ERP. Thousands of companies around the world trust Slimstock to lower inventory levels, increase service levels and deliver fast implementation and ROI. Our team of expert consultants and responsive customer support will create and implement a customized inventory management strategy to help you achieve your goals. Chat with one of our friendly customer service reps today to learn how we can help optimize your inventory.