Inventory Management: Why Using A Spreadsheet Is A Waste Of Time

If you run a construction business, you know that your inventory is everywhere. Most construction businesses just starting out are inclined to use Excel spreadsheets for their inventory management. However, Excel can quickly become a hindrance to the productivity and performance of your business with inventory constantly moving and evolving. With that being said, this article addresses why you should ditch the spreadsheets to streamline your inventory management.

Reasons To Ditch The Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are Time-Consuming

Time is money. Who has hours or days to sit down and process inventory transactions?

Spreadsheets require manual imputations that are inefficient and cumbersome. One slight mistake in data entry can disrupt your entire spreadsheet. Therefore, resulting in an inordinate amount of time identifying and fixing errors. Supplies are constantly moving in and are shipped by distributors. As a result, keeping track and collaborating with all intermediary personnel will become tiresome.

It does not give you access to real-time data

Spreadsheets are decent tools for manually recording what’s on hand and generating fairly accurate material costs. However, with strict deadlines for projects and client satisfaction at the forefront, Excel will leave you reaping productivity late. Real-time data is not apparent in Excel spreadsheets. Therefore, the data seen can only be as up to date as you make it. This will prove insufficient for your construction business with inventory levels changing constantly.

It does not position you for scalability

Excel spreadsheets may be useful when you are first launching your business. However, once your operations continue, you may find it difficult to keep up. With your business growing and with that the increased volume of inventory, Excel may begin to hold you back. Consequently, spreadsheets may not supply you with the added features and requirements that are necessary for scaling. Spreadsheets are not dynamic enough to help you integrate with the underlying inventory transactions that assist in the identification of variances.

Increased opportunities for human error

People make mistakes. There is a multitude of things that could go wrong when businesses are constantly inputting data manually. Including categorising inventory wrong, choosing the wrong date, inputting the incorrect amounts etc. These mistakes become more apparent with multiple staff accessing and moving things around the spreadsheets at the same time. Correspondingly, Excel spreadsheets on your computer do not offer location security. While Excel does provide worksheet and workbook password-based protection, and password protection of macros and Add-ins, the level of protection provided is relatively low.

How To Streamline Inventory Management

Excel does not naturally exist in the cloud. This means that there may be multiple versions of the one spreadsheet on all devices. Therefore, one solution to improving processes is to make your inventory spreadsheets cloud-based, to allow access through the web anywhere and on any browser or device.

Having said that, Excel spreadsheets are inefficient. Excel is not purpose-built for inventory management. Therefore, it may not have key capabilities such as stock alerts, supplier history tracking, bill of material, and barcode integration that most inventory management software offers.

Inventory Management: Why Using a Spreadsheet is a Waste of Time

What can Construction Inventory Management Software offer?

Inventory management software is a computer-based system for tracking inventory levels, orders, sales and deliveries. Significantly, this software is made up of multiple key features, all working together to create a cohesive inventory for many business systems. These components include:

  • Order Management: the software can be programmed to notify you to reorder stock once it reaches a certain threshold. This prevents insufficient stock levels that could hinder project completion.
  • Asset Tracking: when a product is in a warehouse or store, it can be tracked via its barcode and/or other tracking criteria.
  • Product Identification: most software allows radio-frequency (RFID) tags and barcode identification, to look up and input data on products and orders. This feature will reduce inventory errors by scanning product identifiers and inputting information such as expiry date, price, location of storage etc.
  • Materials Planning and Control: similarly this feature is based on sales forecast and production plans, inventory management software can make estimations of required parts, prepare material budgets, forecast levels of inventory, and schedule orders.
  • Purchasing: this involves the approval of payments to suppliers, evaluating and rating suppliers, selection of sources of supply, placement of purchase orders, follow-up maintenance of purchasers.
  • Stores and Inventory Control: this includes physical control of materials, timely disposal and efficient handling of inventory, maintenance of inventory location and stocking.
  • Material Management Techniques: this involves quantifying, ordering and scheduling inventory throughout the 5 construction site processes. To clarify, these processes are 1. Planning, 2. Procurement, 3. Logistics, 4. Handling, 5. Waste control processes.

Overall, planning your construction company‘s workflow is a vital factor and it becomes much easier to maintain with the integration of inventory management software. They provide the necessary infrastructure your construction business needs to scale through increasing the accuracy of the information available to management and reducing costs.

Are you ready to take your inventory management to the next level?

As your business continues to grow, streamlining your inventory management operations is the first step in increasing profitability and client satisfaction. Undoubtedly, if you want to spend less time inventorying and more time accelerating your businesses growth, it may be time to ditch those spreadsheets.

Builders are now implementing automated inventory management for more productive inventory management. PiPr is your one-stop software for marketing, sales, stock, and more!

Contact us here to simplify your inventory management today.