How Excel Is Killing Your Inventory Management Process - Fieldproxy

Microsoft Excel is used for a lot of data tracking and management, but one thing it cannot do is help in inventory management. There are much better inventory management tools like FIeldproxy that leave Excel decades behind in inventory planning.

Posted by By Shoaib Ahmed on 2021-08-18

What’s On This Page?

  1. Introduction
    -- Excel Is Not Scalable -- You Lose All Context Of Your Data
    -- There Are No Search Capabilities, So It’s Hard To Find Information When You Need It
    -- Excel doesn’t have a dashboard for important metrics and KPIs
    -- Limited UI
    -- There Are No Integrations
  2. Closing Thoughts


Why Microsoft Excel Is Bad For Your Inventory Management

Inventory management is one of the most important parts of the supply chain and if you’re relying on Microsoft Excel to keep tabs on your inventory, it’s most definitely time for an upgrade. Here are some reasons why using Excel for inventory management is a bad way to do business, and how inventory management software like Fieldproxy is a better way to manage your inventory.

Excel Is Not Scalable

While open-source inventory management systems may have to be modified or customized to work with existing systems (and sometimes need extensive modification), they are built from the ground up to handle large-scale data collection and reporting. Spreadsheets were never meant to be imported, collect and reallocate thousands upon thousands of pieces of data. Instead, those spreadsheets become more prone to errors as more user input is added.

You Lose All Context Of Your Data

In some open-source inventory management solutions, users can see and know where an item is in its lifecycle based on a source’s unique number, when it was purchased, at what price, what quantities are still available for sale (and which ones have been sold), how much has been ordered from vendors and delivered to the warehouse, and how many items need to be shipped out and when they need to go out (and even by which ship), among other key pieces of information that will help you manage your inventory more efficiently.

This is simply impossible to track with Excel. And even if you are somehow miraculously able to set up the data, good luck trying to get everything to work together like a well-oiled machine.

With inventory management systems like Fieldproxy, each part gets logged with this type of information so there’s no question about whether or not a vendor has delivered the correct quantity of items, or if an item was sold to a customer.

There Are No Search Capabilities, So It’s Hard To Find Information When You Need It

Working with certain free inventory management software means that you don’t have to spend time searching for information - you can see and know what you need right away. Everything is recorded in one place all the time so there is little room for error (or ignorance) in your process. So, as long as your open-source inventory management system works correctly and does everything it promises to do, there shouldn’t be any problem locating the data you need.

Excel doesn’t have a dashboard for important metrics and KPIs

With open-source inventory management systems, it’s easy to set up dashboards that tell you what your sales are doing, what your open orders are (and how long they will take to process), where exceptions may be hiding in the data set (i.e., an item ordered from a vendor but didn’t arrive at the warehouse yet), open purchase orders and which vendors haven’t been paid yet so you can send them reminder notices or pay them on time, among other things. In Excel, if you want to see all that information together—you might as well get ready to spend hours searching through workbooks and pivot tables to find it all.

Limited UI

The inventory management software that we advocate for, Fieldproxy, is completely customisable to fit your needs - which means they are built on open technologies that absolutely anyone can fix or change with the right skills (us included). This means you’re not locked into a UI that looks like it was designed during the dawn of computing and has been unchanged since then (which is true of Excel).

These inventory management systems also work across platforms so you don’t have to worry about finding ways to sync data between two different types of online inventory management solutions, unlike with Excel. Their responsive design means that as the screen size changes or there’s a change in the way someone is viewing your open-source inventory management system, there is still a great user experience.

There Are No Integrations

In inventory management systems, you can integrate with multiple different systems and processes to ensure an effective inventory management strategy. For example, Fieldproxy’s inventory management software has plugins for various platforms so merchants can see how much stock they have available on any given item across their various online stores, all from one place (something Excel has not yet been able to achieve).

This makes it easy to keep track of stock levels between stores—and also receive alerts if the same item ordered by two places is being managed in two different open-source inventory management systems.

Closing Thoughts

There are many more benefits to using an inventory management software like Fieldproxy:

  • Cost-effective in the long run.
  • Access to information at any time from any computer with an internet connection (your survey data is backed up).
  • Easy and quick to create and save information when out in the field.
  • Photos and notes are easier to attach than writing on the photos themselves, thus making it cheaper for you as you need less paper, pens or pencils. More time in photo viewing mode.
  • There is an initial cost attached to buying this type of application but it's worth every penny if all goes to plan. Some field survey applications can be complex to use at first.
  • You may lose valuable information in the field by not writing it down straight away. But don't worry, capture the notes later in this type of application and it will be more easily accessible than having to try and decipher someone’s scribbled handwriting. Remember: you also get timestamps with Fieldproxy’s inventory management software.

Book a demo with Fieldproxy today, and take your inventory management team to the next level.

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