5 Reasons not to use a spreadsheet for inventory management

Spreadsheets have traditionally been used for inventory management in a whole range of businesses.

While they certainly have their plus points, such as being easy to use, accessible and affordable, as technology has become more sophisticated the problems associated with spreadsheets have become increasingly clearer.

Here are 5 top reasons why you should shun the use of spreadsheets for your inventory management....

1) Increased risk of errors

Using spreadsheets to track and manage inventory encourages errors and mistakes to occur. This could be through manually inputting incorrect data or errors in formulas used on the spreadsheets. This means that the information provided could be inaccurate, and it may take a long time before this comes to light.

If a company doesn't have a precise and clear picture of its inventory, it could result in poor decision making with regards to stock. A company might overstock the wrong items or not stock quickly enough for those in demand, resulting in loss of sales or increased costs.

2) Time-consuming

Using spreadsheets for inventory management is both inefficient and time-consuming. It not only takes a long time to input data, but the time spent trying to rectify any errors could prove wasteful and could be better spent on more important tasks.

3) Does not reflect real-time inventory

Spreadsheets are only accurate to the point when data is entered. They are not able to provide a realistic and true picture of inventory in real-time, which could be a hindrance to those businesses that have a high turnover of products.

4) Does not provide the full picture

As mentioned, spreadsheets only give a snapshot in time of inventory. But, their scope is also limited in terms of what other information they can provide. 

By managing inventory manually, it is hard to track patterns, such as waste or even theft, meaning that a business never has a full picture of what's going on with their trading. 

As businesses grow and become more complex, more comprehensive reporting systems are needed to help manage stock and interpret consumer behaviour.

5) Difficult for multichannel selling

As increasing numbers of businesses operate an eCommerce website for their online selling and a point of sale for in-store sales; using spreadsheets to manage stock is not an effective or reliable solution for multichannel selling

For example, if you log a sale in your point of sale system , what happens to your inventory levels? Do they update automatically or do you use a spreadsheet? And if you're running an online shop too, when you've logged a sale in your POS system, does it update on your eCommerce website and vice versa? 

If your stock levels on each sales channel are not kept in sync when a sale is made, it can be a real administrative headache with inventory discrepancies and the potential to oversell.

It's entirely possible you could end up spending more time managing your inventory spreadsheet than your actual business. So if that's the case how can an inventory management system help?

Advantages of using inventory management software

Because of the many problems associated with spreadsheets, using specialised inventory software can alleviate these problems and makes sense for businesses, especially those that sell online and in-store.

Whatever channel you sell through, inventory software will automatically keep track of all your inventory, stock levels and order history, and as each sale is made it will automatically synchronise the new stock levels no matter where you sell, so your stock levels are always uptodate, minimising your risk of overselling.

And because this information is updated in real-time, you always have a complete picture of your inventory and can make more informed decisions about what’s selling where and when. 

This means you can track and monitor patterns, and easily understand how much you need to re-order without over-ordering or running out of high-demand products.

It also makes auditing your inventory easy. However often you choose to do your audit, you will save time and be far more efficient using technology over a spreadsheet.

Working on the business not in the business

While it's not a new concept, implementing inventory management software can be daunting for a small business. It’s often difficult to embrace change when it means altering the way you work but implementing an inventory management system really will save you time, provide you with accurate data and allow your business to thrive.

High-quality inventory management software will provide much more information than a spreadsheet ever can.

Can we make it easy for you?

If you're looking for inventory management software that tracks your inventory, tells you what selling, where and when, as well as giving you accurate stock levels no matter where you sell, ShopTill-e can help. Why not book a call or demo today or try free for 14 days  - no credit card is need and there's no obligation.

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