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Inventory management is one of the most important parts of the supply chain and if you’re relying on Microsoft Excel to keep tabs on your inventory, it’s most definitely time for an upgrade. Here are some reasons why using Excel for inventory management is a bad way to do business, and how inventory management software like Fieldproxy is a better way to manage your inventory.
While open-source inventory management systems may have to be modified or customized to work with existing systems (and sometimes need extensive modification), they are built from the ground up to handle large-scale data collection and reporting. Spreadsheets were never meant to be imported, collected, and reallocated thousands upon thousands of pieces of data. Instead, those spreadsheets become more prone to errors as more user input is added.
In some open-source inventory management solutions, users can see and know where an item is in its lifecycle based on a source’s unique number, when it was purchased, at what price, what quantities are still available for sale (and which ones have been sold), how much has been ordered from vendors and delivered to the warehouse, and how many items need to be shipped out and when they need to go out (and even by which ship), among other key pieces of information that will help you manage your inventory more efficiently.
This is simply impossible to track with Excel. And even if you are miraculously able to set up the data, good luck trying to get everything to work together like a well-oiled machine.
With inventory management systems like Fieldproxy, each part gets logged with this type of information so there’s no question about whether or not a vendor has delivered the correct quantity of items, or if an item was sold to a customer.
Working with certain free inventory management software means that you don’t have to spend time searching for information - you can see and know what you need right away. Everything is recorded in one place all the time so there is little room for error (or ignorance) in your process. So, as long as your open-source inventory management system works correctly and does everything it promises to do, there shouldn’t be any problem locating the data you need.
With open-source inventory management systems, it’s easy to set up dashboards that tell you what your sales are doing, what your open orders are (and how long they will take to process), and where exceptions may be hiding in the data set (i.e., an item ordered from a vendor but didn’t arrive at the warehouse yet), open purchase orders and which vendors haven’t been paid yet so you can send them reminder notices or pay them on time, among other things. In Excel, if you want to see all that information together—you might as well get ready to spend hours searching through workbooks and pivot tables to find it all.
The inventory management software that we advocate for, Fieldproxy, is completely customizable to fit your needs - which means they are built on open technologies that absolutely anyone can fix or change with the right skills (us included). This means you’re not locked into a UI that looks like it was designed during the dawn of computing and has been unchanged since then (which is true of Excel).
These inventory management systems also work across platforms so you don’t have to worry about finding ways to sync data between two different types of online inventory management solutions, unlike with Excel. Their responsive design means that as the screen size changes or there’s a change in the way someone is viewing your open-source inventory management system, there is still a great user experience.
In inventory management systems, you can integrate multiple different systems and processes to ensure an effective inventory management strategy. For example, Fieldproxy’s inventory management software has plugins for various platforms so merchants can see how much stock they have available on any given item across their various online stores, all from one place (something Excel has not yet been able to achieve).
This makes it easy to keep track of stock levels between stores and receive alerts if the same item ordered by two places is being managed in two different open-source inventory management systems.
There are many more benefits to using an inventory management software like Fieldproxy: