Challenges of using Excel for inventory management

Many small business use Excel as their initial inventory management tool as it is easy to use and readily available on most computers.   For a short while, using Excel for inventory management works just fine for many small companies. As their inventory management needs become more complex, business owners learn the hard way that Excel is not a viable long-term solution.  The good news for business owners is the complexity is a result of a growing prosperous business.

Business owners soon learn managing inventory through Excel spreadsheets becomes costly and ineffective as they cross the limitations of Excel.  Some of the major limitations include:

1)    Only one user can have access to an Excel spreadsheet at a time.  When you start holding inventory at more than one location, businesses generally have more than one individual responsible for keeping an accurate inventory count.   However, Excel limits the editing of a spreadsheet to one user at a time. Additionally, Excel does not have version control and does not keep track of who is making changes to the Excel worksheet.  If there are inaccurate counts, it is challenging using Excel for inventory management to know which employee to ask follow-up questions as multiple employees are editing the spreadsheet.

2)    Inefficient physical stock counting efforts are often error-prone.   Business owners using Excel for inventory management require employees to take a physical stock by manually counting the items and updating the changes into the master Excel spreadsheet.  This task is usually completed through recording stock count with good old fashioned pen and paper in the warehouse and then repetitively inputting the data into Excel back in the office.  This process is inherently inefficient, but also often results in inaccurate data as it is error-prone due to the repetition of recording the data.   This issue is significantly mitigated in cloud-based inventory management systems as data can be directly inputted from the warehouse via a bar scanner or mobile device.

3)    Lack of real-time inventory data.  Most companies perform a physical count of their physical inventory at fixed time intervals – once a week, once a month, or other set time period.  Often the Excel sheets figures are in not sync with the actual counts in the warehouse as new inventory comes in, is being shipped out, or being moved from location to location.

Why Finale Inventory is ideal for businesses migrating from Excel.

Finale Inventory was designed understanding the needs of these business owners and as a result, we built our inventory management to allow businesses to migrate from Excel as quick and painless as possible.  Most businesses are able to migrate from Excel and use Finale Inventory to manage their inventory in a little as a few days.  Some of the benefits of upgrading your inventory management system to Finale Inventory include:

1)    There is no software to install (or expensive consultant to help you install a piece of software).  Finale Inventory is a fully web-based solution that is hosted in the cloud.  As a result, you never have to worry about installing software, upgrading new updates, or archiving your data.

2)    Migrating your data into Finale Inventory is drop-dead simple.  Finale Inventory can read your current Excel file(s) and import your current customers, vendors, and product files.  See our video tutorial to learn how to import data from Excel.

3)    Our service is month-to-month, and businesses are not locked you into long service contracts.  With our low-cost service plans, we believe businesses will receive tremendous value and will achieve a positive ROI in a short period of time.

Unlike a cable television contract, you have the option to cancel anytime.  Your data is always available, and you can easily export your data back into Excel or another inventory management system.

4)    Many small and medium businesses use QuickBooks for their accounting needs.  Finale integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks, adding the functionality QuickBooks lacks so you can effectively manage your inventory.

If you are feeling the negative effects of using Excel for inventory management, call (650- 269-3930) or email ([email protected]) us to get a free demo account and/or consultation.