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4 drawbacks of Excel as an Inventory Management Tool
Microsoft Excel has always been one of the most widely used tools to manage tabular and columnar data. It has also been useful in creating charts and graphs and make calculations. Above all, Excel is inexpensive and easily accessible. These features make Excel an ideal tool for small businesses with limited operations. Since it has been around for a long time, most users are familiar with it and no special training is required.
However, for large companies that need to manage huge databases, Excel is simply not enough and despite having a similar row and column look and certain features like performing calculations similar to order fulfillment and inventory management softwares.
Among others, here are 4 important drawbacks of Excel:
Very Manual and prone to errors
Since data is manually entered, any mistyping in entering stock quantity or formulas can have a huge fallout. Ditto for entering data in a wrong column or row. When there are columns and columns of data, detecting and rectifying these errors would be a time-consuming nightmare. Besides, manual updates are always slower than real-time updates.
Difficulty in sharing large Excel files
Another minus is the huge size of a data heavy Excel file. When a lot of data is fed into an Excel spreadsheet, it becomes too large in size to be sent via e-mail and can frequently crash a company’s network.
Prone to frauds and reduced accountability
Data security is compromised greatly as virtually anyone having access to an Excel file and a mala fide intent can make difficult to detect alterations and save the file. Thefts and intentional stock damage are thus difficult to detect.
The spreadsheet lacks an audit trail for data since information is merely updated and no history of the same is available. Though a ‘last modified date’ is available, it is impossible to pinpoint who exactly worked on the modification.
No concurrent collaboration possible
Multiple users cannot simultaneously work on an Excel file. This means that only one user can make changes to the file at a time. If subsequent users need to update the inventory in the file, they would need to wait, resulting in the loss of time.
Although Excel can be a good reporting tool on business statistics, only specialized software can eliminate errors, provide real-time updates and support and track multiple users.