Without question, Excel has been the most used spreadsheet program and unsurprisingly continues to be the first option for many major businesses and organisations when looking to manage inventory. There are upsides to using Excel for this purpose, which we’ll touch on in a moment, it’s also important to note the potential pitfalls of managing the logistics of your warehouse inventory management in Excel. Another solution for powerful warehouse inventory management is Enterprise Resource Planning software, ERP software for short.
Increasingly being implemented across warehouse-based businesses, ERP software enables a streamlined, user friendly approach to logistics management by encompassing main business functions into one platform and it can work seamlessly with warehouse management software to improve the overall efficiency of your operation.
Let’s dig into the detail for both options to clarify which is better for your inventory management.
- How to Manage Inventory in Excel
- Why A WMS May Be Better Than Using Excel for Inventory Management
- Benefits of Investing in a WMS
- ERP vs WMS
- Should You Use Excel to Manage Your Inventory or a WMS?
How and why to Manage Inventory in Excel
Excel does indeed excel on a few fronts when it comes to inventory management for smaller scale operations. You can have sheets for each customer or product line and with a few simple formulas, create a ‘birds eye view’ of your operations in another sheet.
We certainly give the Microsoft option a gold star across affordability and functionality:
Once you’ve paid for your Microsoft Office license, there’s no extra costs and you can use Excel for personal or professional use. Easy. Compared to other stock management options, Excel is a very affordable option.
Perform calculations including multiple cells with one click, re-organise a table or fuse some data, input, evaluate or compare all data relevant to inventory warehouse management from one single table. Excel is certainly kicking goals on the functionality front.
Why A WMS May Be Better Than Using Excel for Inventory Management
Some of the bigger drawbacks for warehouse inventory management in Excel include the reliance on manual input and lack of automation:
Each data point must be entered manually, which is time consuming and realistically will include errors. This can result in inaccurate inventory detail and overall disorganisation. Your data can easily be compromised or even deleted using Excel for your warehouse inventory management.
If for some reason any data input isn’t saved, it’s gone. A much higher degree of time is needed to monitor the accuracy of input to minimise error. Nothing is automated and everything relies on manual input. This is a very ineffective and inefficient approach to data management.
Benefits of Investing in a WMS
Infocomm created a purpose-built Warehouse Management Software solution for the industry. Designed to be seamlessly integrated with ERP software, it will power up your inventory management and take your logistics productivity to the next level.
Operating from ‘the cloud’, your WMS will always be real-time data, with everything across your entire warehouse being available to view immediately from one single platform.
Integrating a WMS with your ERP software set up carries many powerful advantages for managing your inventory, such as:
Comprehensive Data Integration
Reduce errors and optimise your inventory security and tracking. Your WMS will also empower you by giving you access to meaningful data that can enable you to make faster business decisions and spot potential errors before they become bigger problems.
Everything from purchase requests to refill orders can be automated using a WMS, saving time and money and increasing the overall productivity of your warehouse output and boosting your bottom line.
Get up to date financial reports in a few clicks, with all inventory detail being in real-time, resulting in accurate on the spot reporting.
In addition to all of these automated features and timely access to data, there’s also the bonus of the WMS being able to trigger notifications to your customers via an automated messaging system. Throughout the lifecycle of their order, customers can receive up to the minute updates of whether their order has been received, picked, packed and dispatched. This level of communication and accuracy improves customer satisfaction and increases chances of repeat business.
ERP vs WMS
For any warehouse-based enterprise, it can certainly pay dividends if you invest in industry specific software that can be customised to the needs of your business. As you can see, Custom Warehouse Management Software will enable you to increase the efficiency of your warehouse operations and without question boost your business bottom line. A quality WMS tailored to your needs will also work seamlessly within your ERP set up, feeding all data inventory and order data to a single platform that manages other business information like your finance and customer information.. So, it’s not so much a case of ‘ERP versus WMS’ but using them both together to empower your operational approach.
Ultimately, using warehouse management software will ensure you can always be up to date, in real time, when it comes to your inventory – accurate overview at a glance and no guesswork. It will also minimise your inventory losses, while increasing the productivity of your staff.
Should You Use Excel to Manage Your Inventory or a WMS?
Warehouse inventory management in Excel is a thing of the past. If you’re interested in streamlining your inventory management, increasing productivity overall and giving customers a higher level of transparency and visibility to their orders, all of which will increase your business bottom line, then ERP software with integrated WMS is by far the better option. While Excel delivers with user friendliness and affordability initially, in the long run it will hinder the growth rate and efficiency of your operation.
Contact the team at Infocomm for a free demonstration to see how our industry specific ERP with integrated WMS solution will cater to the unique needs of your business, while providing dramatic cost savings.