4 indications that it’s time to replace your Excel planning spreadsheets
A lot of planning processes start out with a spreadsheet – It provides an easy, intuitive and flexible way to structure your data. Times goes on, your planning process grows and more functionality and data are added to the spreadsheet.
Before too long, you end up with an Excel that hurts to look at. The spreadsheet no longer keeps up and your planners are working continuously in fire-fighting mode…
It’s time to upgrade those planning spreadsheets to a more powerful solution when the following limitations are impacting your planning process:
1) Long and manual process
2) Not collaborative
3) Prone to errors
As mentioned above, populating this Excel file is a painful process often composed by copy/paste actions, this can be the cause of major data errors in the file. On top of this, as the file may be available for editing by different people, it is possible that some formulas have been wrongly modified and used for a while before somebody notices a problem as it is very uncommon that a data validation process has been developed in the Excel sheet to track for possible mistakes, either in the input or in the output.
4) Not optimal
If small supply chain problems can definitely be handled with an Excel file, as your business will grow, you will quickly reach the limits of the Excel file. Your results won’t be optimal and this will cause excess inventory, excess work in progress, and delivery delays for customer orders.
As a conclusion, moving from spreadsheets to a planning tool is a natural leap when a supply chain reaches a size that makes it difficult to handle with spreadsheets. It allows your planning process to move from reactive to proactive and opens the door to an optimized and competitive supply chain.