How can you excel at inventory management? First, don’t use Excel to manage your inventory. Microsoft Excel is a great tool, don’t get me wrong. I use it all the time for keeping track of projects, budgets and other information. But inventory management isn’t one of its strong points. I’ll show you what I mean.
A Square Peg in a Round Hole
Many small businesses use Excel for inventory management because it’s already on their computer, and it seems easy enough to create tables and populate them with data about all the products being bought and sold. But this system isn’t able to handle a large amount of inventory.
As a company grows, its inventory management needs get more complex. Soon you need to use a barcode scanner to speed up the receiving and selling processes, then you have to track inventory in multiple locations, and maintain several supply chains, and the list keeps growing. Excel isn’t designed to take in all that information efficiently. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. If you jam it hard enough into the hole you might be able to make it work, but it won’t be pretty.
The Last Straw
You might think, “I’ll just stick with Excel until it gets too difficult to manage my inventory with it. Then I’ll invest in inventory management software.” But it’s not easy to know when you’ve reached the point where you need to switch because you’ll be so busy trying to keep an inefficient system from collapsing.
Don’t bother waiting for the last straw to compel you to action. Be proactive and make the switch to advanced inventory management software to save yourself a lot of trouble. An inefficient inventory management system could be costing a lot more than you think in dissatisfied customers or overstocked shelves.
Reinventing the Wheel
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to have good inventory management. Even if you’re an expert at using Excel, you’ll have to spend quite a bit of time building Excel inventory templates. Plus, if you want other people to know how to use what you’ve created, you’ll need to write some sort of training guide or user manual.
Instead of devoting all this time (which you probably can’t afford to use in this way) to building an inventory management system, why not use one that’s already built and has all the features you need? That sounds like an excellent solution!