We have recently looked at some of the issues that result from using spreadsheets to manage your inventory levels and replenishments needs. Today, we want to look at the additional complexities and costs caused by this outdated process.
First, let’s remember the point of all of this activity. The goal here is to create a warehouse that runs efficiently and smoothly, without any painful stock-outs or unnecessary excess stock.
Here’s another way to say that: what you need is the right stock, in the right amount, at the right time. Let’s examine how additional complexities pile up and make this nearly impossible on a spreadsheet.
The first hurdle for your spreadsheet is data. As long the sheet has some quality data in there, you might think your sheet will point you in the right direction. Of course, the reality is quite a bit more complicated than that. There are several main components to consider when dealing with your data:
While it’s critical that your data is accurate, that accuracy doesn’t help if you aren’t properly synched. Even slight discrepancies can derail future fulfillment on your part. Similarly, you may not be collecting all of the necessary inputs that are required.
Even if you’re doing an amazing job at covering those three points, the presence of just a few small errors can cascade and create a much bigger problem in your warehouse. Think of it this way:
Inaccurate data + unsynchronized data + inadequate planning inputs =
weak order recommendations
The spreadsheet is, frankly, an old school method of managing stock. Even the most complex and customized sheet is going to miss out on the complexities of your data.
Think about issues caused by a central warehouse with subsidiary locations. How does your spreadsheet account for that? What about new products that have taken the place of old products and need to include those sale histories to create new forecasts? Add those concerns to challenges like bill of materials, kitting of products, and supplier outages (planned or otherwise), and you can see that the complexity of your warehouse is unlikely to be reflected accurately in your inventory spreadsheet.
Who owns the spreadsheet?
Let’s look a hypothetical for a moment. Say you’ve been able to navigate through all of these issues to get to ideal inventory levels using Excel or some other program. This is an incredibly complicated document you’ve built over time, and it’s likely that your inventory planner is the only person who actually understands it and can use it properly.
So what happens if they are sick or take a vacation? Who can properly manage the spreadsheet in their absence to get the ordering done without messing up this carefully calibrated document? What if your planner takes a job elsewhere?
The point is a typical master inventory spreadsheet doesn’t play well with others. Leaving this critical process to just one person in your operation makes the company vulnerable. Giving the task to someone else only increases that vulnerability, and it’s entirely possible that the spreadsheet might get too complex for even your inventory planner to manage. At a certain point, that master inventory spreadsheet you’ve built is in more control of your warehouse than you are. Simply put, that is a problem.
We’ve partnered with the inventory experts at NETSTOCK to go in-depth on this important topic.
Please feel free to reach out to schedule a one on one demonstration to review how the Netstock solution can solve your inventory problems today, contact Janice Haywood at (818) 956-7119 Ext. 225.
Time for a new solution