6 Reasons Why Your Inventory-Driven Business Should Drop Excel or the Spreadsheets

By Rackbeat June 20, 2023

Are You Still Using Excel, Google or Spreadsheets?

You may have many good reasons for managing your inventory-driven business in Excel or Google Sheets. It’s easier and more convenient to stick to a tool you know, for better or worse, especially when you are pressed for time during your daily work.

After all, it does give you a quick overview of your inventory, orders, manufacturing, suppliers and invoices. So why not continue down the same path?

Yet, you should consider pumping the brakes if you haven’t already. Because the longer your business is up and running, the more data, orders, customer information, etc., accumulate in your spreadsheets. And the more time you will need to spend updating files, keeping things organized and digging through your sheets to find the information you need.

That’s time, energy and resources you could use for other, more profitable activities and tasks.

And then there are all the pitfalls that can come with using Excel, Sheets, and spreadsheets…

6 Reasons Why You Should Consider an Alternative to Excel, Google Sheets or Spreadsheets

Loads of Data = Loads of Typing Errors

As the years go by, whether you’re expanding the business or not, your data will multiply since you constantly receive new orders, customers, inventory items, etc.

Therefore, if it’s not already the case, you’ll have to spend a lot of time manually updating your spreadsheets. And as mentioned, that time could be used for other tasks.

But the worst part is that throughout all these days, weeks, months and years, it’s close to impossible not to make a typing error or two. For instance, this study found that at least one mistake is made every 300 times your fingers hit a key on your computer.

And since it can be very difficult to spot an error in larger datasets, the mistake may result in your goods arriving late or you will purchase a bunch of products that will collect dust in the warehouse.

In both cases, you lose money, time and energy trying to correct the typing errors.

Purchases, Sales and Inventory Levels Are Based on Outdated Data

Another problem with all the manual data entry is that you always have to update sales, invoicing, inventory, orders, etc., retroactively. That means – after a change has already occurred.

And since your inventory movements and product flow never stand still, the overview you are presented with in Excel, Sheets or the spreadsheet will be faulty as you’re shown an outdated depiction of reality.

This means that your sales forecasts are never really accurate, customer orders are clouded in uncertainty and your orders are based on incorrect information. Again, this leads to a lot of wasted time, unprofessionalism and loss of resources.

Extra Labor: Since Your Spreadsheets Don’t Integrate with Other Systems

Speaking of wasted time, administrating your business from your spreadsheets involves a lot of double work and extra mouse clicks since very few systems integrate with the sheets.

This means that you have to update your spreadsheets in one program but make purchases in another. You have to record your sales and issue invoices in one place, and then register the same information in your accounting system – or send the numbers to your accountant.

Once again, you are wasting time, money and resources that you will never get back.

It’s a Challenge for Other People to Work on Your Spreadsheets

Let’s say you go on a well-deserved vacation or your business grows to the point where you need to hire more people. Both scenarios are very positive. But what will happen to the inventory accounting and updates on the product movements?

Depending on the complexity of your formulas and the amount of data stored in the documents, it can be quite a headache for your co-workers to work with your spreadsheets. And this creates a breeding ground for errors that are difficult to correct. Not everyone is equally skilled in Excel – or understanding of your mathematical genius.

It’s Difficult to Find Information on Previous Orders

If you need to find an old order – either from a customer who wants to return a product or a supplier who gave you a shipment loaded with errors – you have to do some serious digging in Excel, Sheets or the spreadsheet.

Of course, it all depends on how diligent you have been in keeping your sheets organized, the level of information you have included and the amount of data you have stored. But for most people, it will be an annoying and time-consuming task that can result in you never finding the needle in the haystack.

There is Not Much Data Security

The more data you include in your inventory overview, order summary and sales statistics, the more strain you put on your computer due to the size of the files. And as the days turn into years, you get closer to the point where your computer can no longer bear the burden.

And then what happens to all your data?

Unless you have stored it on an external hard drive, all that important information will simply be lost. Thus, you will have to start from scratch in systematizing your inventory, orders and invoices.

But fortunately, there is a piece of software that can steer you away from the data loss, and the 5 other pitfalls, and help you get rid of your spreadsheet solution for your inventory and order management.

This software is an inventory management system.

Avoid Typos, Time Waste and Data Loss with an Inventory Management System

With an inventory management system, you gain a complete overview of your most important data, such as inventory levels, purchasing and customer orders, in user-friendly dashboards that all relevant employees can easily access, understand and generate old reports from.

(This is a screenshot of an order overview in Rackbeat).

These overviews are automatically updated whenever there is a change in your stock movements, which means you no longer have to spend time and effort on manual data entry (eliminating the risk of typos). It also allows you to base your purchasing policy and sales strategy on the latest figures rather than outdated data.

Also, you don’t have to perform all those double tasks that you do in your spreadsheets when transferring data from one system to another. Most inventory management software can be integrated with your webshop, accounting or shipping system, so a sale and an invoice are either automatically transferred or require just a single click.

Furthermore, you can receive restocking recommendations in the inventory system. That means when a product is running low, you will receive a message in your dashboard reminding you to order new items.

Instead of having to call a supplier or log in to their website, you can place the order directly in the inventory system.

Last but not least, you can protect yourself from losing all your valuable data with a cloud-based inventory management system. Rather than storing heavy Excel or spreadsheet files on a computer, all your data will be automatically stored “in the cloud.”

This way, you are not dependent on a single machine, as you can always log in from another device and access your business’s most important information.

So why not make your workflows easier and more efficient with a cloud-based inventory management system?

See What Rackbeat’s Cloud-based Inventory System Can Do For You

Would you like to save time on manual work, get real-time updates on inventory, orders, and sales and secure your most important data? Then Rackbeat’s cloud-based inventory system may be the perfect solution for you.

You can read more about Rackbeat here or book a presentation with an inventory expert who will explain how the system can help you specifically.