Mar 20 2022

The Dangers of Managing Your Supply Chain in Spreadsheets

Written by Orderly Marketing
Does anybody really like spreadsheets?

Spreadsheets are a great way to manage simple data, but when it comes to managing your supply chain, they can be dangerous. Many businesses in the food and beverage sector try to manage their entire supply chain in a spreadsheet, and this can lead to disaster. In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of managing your supply chain in spreadsheets and why you should avoid doing this at all costs!

Most managers know that poor quality data is troublesome. What is less clear, though, is how this lack of quality data hurts businesses beyond admin headaches.

In a study by The Aberdeen Group, it was shown that 86% of companies that don’t have accurate and timely information about their supply chains go out of business within five years. So, the consequences of poor-quality data are very real.

Spreadsheets haven’t changed much, if at all, in the last few decades. They are still based on the same premise as when they first came out – that is, to help people do simple mathematical operations. But businesses have changed a great deal since then and are far more complex. As such, they need tools that can handle this complexity. Spreadsheets simply can’t do this.

So why do so many businesses use spreadsheets?

The answer is simple: they are easy to use and easy to access. All you need is a computer and Microsoft Excel (or a similar program) and you’re good to go. But just because something is easy to use doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your business. In fact, using spreadsheets to manage your supply chain can be incredibly dangerous.

Here are three reasons why you should avoid managing your supply chain in spreadsheets:

Errors and inaccuracies are common

One of the biggest dangers of using spreadsheets is that they are prone to errors and inaccuracies. This is because they are often manually updated, and it’s easy to make mistakes when inputting data. As a result, the data in your spreadsheet can be inaccurate and unreliable.

It’s difficult to track changes

When you’re managing your supply chain in a spreadsheet, it’s difficult to track changes made to the data. This makes it hard to determine what has changed and why. As a result, you may not be able to identify problems or make necessary changes in a timely manner.

You can’t share data easily

Spreadsheets are not designed for collaboration. If you need to share data with your team, it can be difficult and time-consuming. This can lead to delays and communication problems.

And one more bonus point – you can’t easily forecast using a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet can give you a snapshot of your current situation, but it cannot predict the future. This is because spreadsheets are based on historical data, and they cannot take into account future changes or trends (unless you write some sort of epic, unmanageable macro). As a result, they are not an effective tool for forecasting.

Real-life spreadsheet disaster story:

In 2012, it was reported that British Petroleum (BP) experienced a major disaster when one of its oilrigs exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion caused the largest offshore oil spill in history.

The BP oil spill was a result of poor data management. In the months leading up to the accident, BP was using spreadsheets to track data about the safety of its oil rigs. However, these spreadsheets were inaccurate and failed to identify the potential risks. As a result, BP didn’t take the necessary precautions to prevent the accident from happening.

If you’re managing your supply chain in a spreadsheet, we urge you to stop!

What other methods are there?

Supply chain software is a better option for managing your supply chain. It’s designed to manage and track data accurately, making it less likely that errors will occur. It also allows you to easily share data with your team, which can help improve communication and collaboration.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Reduced inventory costs
  • Improved forecasting and demand planning
  • Easier collaboration with suppliers
  • More efficient order processing and fulfilment

A recent survey showed that adoption of software for supply chain management is growing, with 43 percent of companies now using some form of software to manage their supply chain. This is up from just 18 percent in 2011. And it’s not hard to see why. Software provides several advantages over spreadsheets when it comes to managing your supply chain.

Software is designed to handle complex data and processes and is fit for purpose.

How hard is it to set up new supply chain software?

Not as hard as you might think. In fact, most supply chain software is designed to be user-friendly and can be up and running quickly. Many software providers offer free trials, so you can try before you buy.

While there is an initial investment required to set up supply chain software, it’s important to remember that it will save you time and money in the long run. Inaccurate data and poor communication can lead to delays, disruptions, and even disasters. So, if you’re still managing your supply chain in a spreadsheet, we urge you to stop and switch to software today. It could be the best decision you ever make for your business!

Speak to us today

Speak to Orderly. Our software as a service (SaaS) solution for supply chain management. is easy to use and can be accessed from any computer or mobile device – and if you’ve ever tried to use Excel on your mobile – even that alone should pique your interest. Contact us today to learn more.