How reliable are the calculation sheets as application planning software? | Spreadsheet Improvements

When considering demand planning software, spreadsheets are the weapon of choice for many planners. However, spreadsheets are effective to the extent that the people entering the data are. Even for the most advanced spreadsheet users, managing inventory this way can quickly become a complex and very onerous task. 

Calculation sheets: friends or enemies?

For nearly all business professionals, the relationship with spreadsheets began when they were in school. As a result, spreadsheets are often the starting point for any critical analysis. However, many companies are too dependent on these simplistic data processing tools. While spreadsheets are easy to use, they don’t provide enough computing power, standard structure, or the required robustness in many business situations. This is especially true in supply chain management, where nearly all decisions must be based on effective analytics that potentially requires thousands of data.

To create a spreadsheet that can handle such large volumes of data, someone would have to spend hours and hours building and refining a spreadsheet to deliver the required results. Again, the final spreadsheet would undoubtedly be slow and cumbersome – not to mention the risk of a computer crash!

Can the calculation sheets create a single break point?

In many companies, the Spreadsheet Improvements used to manage inventory are created by a single individual. The reality of spreadsheets is that every sheet becomes personalized. This is because companies become dependent on whoever created the document. Since this individual could change companies or be hit by a bus tomorrow, they risk exposing themselves dangerously to a single breaking point.

Regardless of staff changes, for demand planning software to be effective, it must support business continuity. Consequently, forecasting, demand planning, allocation, and replenishment procedures must be not only robust but also standardized.

How efficient are the calculation sheets as stock control software?

Change is inevitable therefore, to function efficiently, supply chain teams need dynamic demand planning software to stay one step ahead. The problem with spreadsheets is that any changes require manual intervention. Even in relatively stable environments, given the large number of SKUs, keeping up with business demand can be very time-consuming. Unlike spreadsheets, where planners are left to fight against complexity, an effective demand planning software solution can enable planning teams to work proactively.

The software allows companies to automate the inventory management processes of their assortment so that supply chain teams can focus their attention on the most critical issues. By allowing inventory control software to do the “heavy lifting,” supply chain teams can focus their time and watch where it’s needed.

Whether you place a large order with a new supplier or phase out a declining product, inventory management decisions can have a crucial impact on the larger business. Consequently, the inputs used to support these decisions must be reliable. 

Since even a minor problem such as incorrect input or formula could have a major impact on the output of any analysis, spreadsheets aren’t the most robust solutions. Also, when you consider that spreadsheets require constant refinement and human intervention, it’s very easy to lose sight of which version is the most up-to-date.

Your application scheduling software should provide you with information you can trust. An effective stock control solution will minimize the risk of errors, ensuring that the analysis is consistent. The result: solid inputs on which to confidently base supply chain decisions.

Can calculation sheets keep up with your business growth?

When a business is starting, spreadsheets are probably enough. For most companies, growth leads to greater demand. Thus, planning teams must manage larger networks with more customers and products. All this leads to an exponential increase in data. If you try to handle this with just Spreadsheet Improvements, the number of rows of data and formulas needed to keep everything under control would be almost mind-boggling for planning teams!

Effective inventory control software supports growth and actively leverages complexity to provide companies with meaningful information. The inventory control software can support growth and effectively leverage complexity to provide your business with even more meaningful information.

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