It’s no secret that Excel is the tool of choice for most supply and demand management systems. With its easy-to-navigate tabular interface and advanced filtering system, data can be easily selected and collated to make better supply chain and inventory management decisions. Excel is relatively unchallenged in terms of competitor functionality and is a standardised global tool that transcends the nuances of regional markets.
It’s used by businesses all over the world to evaluate data, make complex calculations, track inventory, plan demand, schedule logistics and much more.
So far, so good.
The problem arises with one key issue that strikes fear into the heart of organisations everywhere.
IP that walks away with staff
Continuity of information is one of the biggest issues facing Excel-dependent businesses today. After all, one person’s spreadsheet wizardry is another’s overly-complex nightmare. Personal preferences in set-up, formula application and formatting can lead to a total breakdown in information transfer that poses a real risk to supply chain management process continuity and efficiency.
Another issue is that Excel is no longer well-equipped to deal with the complex, data-related challenges faced by modern businesses. Leaning heavily on spreadsheets for mission critical planning in the age of Big Data and AI limits how well a business can sharpen its competitive edge. By implementing more sophisticated, multi-faceted solutions, organisations can drive customer satisfaction, increase productivity and ensure their data is always accurate, relevant and up-to-date.
Integrating software and people
The beauty of today’s digital demand forecasting tools is that information from Excel can be easily ingested and converted into a more accessible format. This not only protects the integrity of the information, but facilitates the ability to marry it with wider data sets, enhancing and improving demand forecasting capability in the process.
Software that can draw-down, store and learn from a wide range of data sources is the ultimate consensus planning tool. When technology can analyse this data and present clear and actionable business insights that are optimised in real time, teams can unite behind a common goal to streamline stock levels, reduce waste and drive profitability.