Managing Inventory in a Spreadsheet and the Efficient Alternative

Inventory Management in Excel

Small businesses who are just getting started with inventory management find spreadsheet inventory tracking to be an appealing option. This is because a spreadsheet is more inexpensive, flexible, and keeps things straightforward. Employees and executives do not need to start out by learning a complex software structure. They only need to learn how to utilize Excel spreadsheets’ basic functions to begin adding to and keeping track of their inventory.

Using Excel inventory management, businesses can keep track of their current inventory. Users can manually input their product information into spreadsheet rows and columns to manage inventory counts, verify product availability, and update these data as things are sold or moved.

Building Inventory Management in Excel Spreadsheets

Most people are familiar with using spreadsheets so most employees are familiar or even proficient with it because they have been using it for years. It is easy to keep everyone on the same page because of this familiarity.

To start building an inventory tracking spreadsheet, it is essential that you are familiar with the program and how to organize your inventory data using category columns and manual product entry. 

  1. Create a Spreadsheet with your product information. You can start off by creating a spreadsheet with a list of all your products and their descriptions and information. This will serve as your product catalog or your products tab which will be very helpful to avoid entering repetitive information again and again. For starters, this consists of categories such as SKU or Product Number, Item Name, Description, Manufacturer, etc.
  2. Create a Spreadsheet tab for Inventory Tracking. This is a more comprehensive sheet. It usually includes It is also essential to have categorized columns to make it more organized and easier to filter out information. Depending on your business, you may add columns for quantity, quantity per package, and price.
  3. Set up Received and Sales sheets. These sheets’ categories and functions depend on your business needs. The Received tab is where all your purchase inventory whereas the Sales tab is for your sold inventory. These two tabs will determine your inventory on hand and see any discrepancies in your inventory data. 
  4. Make adjustments as you replenish your inventory or make sales. Though excel spreadsheets can do automatic functions, you still need to update some of the details manually to get an accurate inventory record. 

Disadvantages of Excel Spreadsheet Inventory Tracking

Why upgrade your inventory management system from excel? Spreadsheets are a vital tool for businesses, particularly those in beginning mode or with little resources to carry out basic processes or financial management, and we’re not here to underrate its features and usability. The complexity of your inventory management will, however, grow as you develop your business and advance to the next level.

When your business is expanding, some tasks become more tedious and even more difficult to find the time to update your sheet, manually track inventory, and monitor the distribution network. In other words, managing your growing firm with Excel spreadsheets will show to be highly constrained.

Let’s investigate why that is by taking a look at common concerns with Excel inventory management.

  • Time-consuming process. Maintaining your inventory spreadsheets takes time. It takes a lot of time to input, update, evaluate, and reconcile data. The list of these tasks just goes on.  And if you want to delegate any of those tasks to someone else, you’ll need to teach them how to use the Excel inventory template’s features so they can handle your data. While spreadsheets are useful for working with a single set of numbers, the demands on your time will increase considerably as soon as you expand your business and add more SKUs to your inventory list. Your efforts and energy should ideally be concentrated on profit-driving tasks that add value to your company. Spending the entire day entering data into a spreadsheet is not a good investment.
  • Lack of Security. Excel does not provide user logins or other security measures, therefore it is impossible to identify the person who made changes to the inventory spreadsheets. If you are not attentive, this lack of security could lead to serious issues in the future.
  • Lack of Automation. Although you can make formulas for cells, the data still needs to be manually entered into the cells. Most users use formulas, pivot tables, and conditional formatting to “automate” tasks and calculations within their Excel inventory management template. When you need to update inventory counts across different sales channels, monitor reorder levels when supplies run low, or move distribution centers to better fulfill orders, those functionalities, however, are relatively useless. Spreadsheets for managing inventories won’t work in any of these situations.
  • Greater risk for incurring errors. Human error is inevitable. However, there is a greater chance of making mistakes when hundreds of lines of data must be manually entered into an inventory spreadsheet. Every manual error has an impact on your bottom line, and even the most experienced and well-trained data entry specialist occasionally makes mistakes.
  • Maybe reliant on specific employees – employees, whether we like it or not, come and go. If the employee who designed or managed the inventory spreadsheet tracker quits, the following employee may find it challenging to fill that role unless the former has written extensive documentation of everything. 

By adopting an inventory management system such as CyberStockroom, you can eliminate all of these issues and get many more advantages. 

How to import spreadsheet inventory to an inventory management software

When you finally decide to switch to an inventory management system, one of your questions may be how you would be able to enter your inventory into the system?, do you need to add them one by one? or is there something you do to make it seamless?

For this example, we will be using CyberStockroom to see how to create products and locations in an inventory management system.

There are two ways to enter your inventory data into an inventory management system. First is manually adding them to your product catalog. This one is effective only when you have a few lists of products and they do not have a lot of variations. The second option is to upload your existing spreadsheet inventory into your inventory management system. It usually takes less than a minute to do this. 

Three simple steps to import your spreadsheet inventory.

Assuming that you have created your inventory map with all your locations, the following are the steps to start fully utilizing your inventory management system:

1. Create new products

Make your spreadsheet ready with the basic information you need. You can create as many products and columns as you need to make your record more organized and easy to filter out. 

2. Match the columns in your file to your product fields

The system will determine which columns are for which items. 

3. Check the products into your locations

After the first two steps above, your products are now uploaded to your product catalog. You can then start checking in products to your locations. 

When you’re ready to switch from spreadsheet inventory and want to try out a user-friendly yet offers a huge upgrade? CyberStockroom may be a good fit! Sign up through this link


Published by Claude.Rivera

I have a passion for new things. It excites and challenges me. Reading and writing take me to different worlds. Literally, escape. I'm a dancer wannabe and a not-so-pro gamer.

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