Trust me, we all love to hate Microsoft excel, don’t we? The tool has been of some use for all of us at some point in our careers. Although I have never used Excel to its full potential (Does anybody know its full potential, perhaps not), it has done the job for us most of the time. We have been providing logistics operations management solutions to the industry for close to 25 years now. We have seen the initial apprehension towards using a computer, the Y2K boom, the introduction of financial computation software and then the emergence of a centralized ERP solution. Most of the logistics companies that approach us to want to upgrade from a spreadsheet-based system and replace MS Excel with a logistics ERP solution. It may sound strange in 2019, but is a true fact.
Well as they say everything has a shelf life. Unfortunately, there is a limit where we could use Microsoft excel or such spreadsheet tools for business purposes. It just doesn’t align with your company growth nor does it make the operations easier for your staff.
Why do spreadsheets fail?
One of the major failures of Excel or any spreadsheet tool is its inability to reconcile multiple versions and preventing manual errors. There are lots of versions involved and each employee can upload their version and replace the existing one. The system can’t tell which the correct one is and as a result collaboration becomes jeopardy. Moreover, it is difficult to detect fraud or data manipulations in such cases. Companies find it difficult to manage their budget, logistics operations, future plans and forecasts through such tools.
Hence most of them are moving to specialized software. According to a CNBC survey, it is estimated that close to 90% of the spreadsheets used by large companies have errors and almost half has material defects. Yes, excel does have formulas, but is it really user-friendly and moreover accurate? Moreover, it is difficult to manage all the important entities in one sheet. If there are multiple sheets involved, there are chances of important data being missed. The users would be also devoid of any important alert notifications under their logistics operations such as order approval, transit delays, clearance document delays, etc.
The need for an effective Logistics ERP solution
Let’s now see how the scenario effects inside a logistics, transportation and warehousing companies. With a large sum of money at stake, any errors, be it medium or critical is crucial to the logistics and transportation industry. It is a highly competitive market, and any bad feedback means a huge loss to the business and a dent in reputation.
It is high time you replace MS excel for executing your daily logistics operations. You have trucks going multiple routes through many countries. You have complex cargo to handle, have to satisfy your clients, manage your staff, track your inventory, and prepare all reports, well… that’s a lot of work a poor spreadsheet can handle. In one of our earlier blogs, we had talked about how logistics ERP is important in day to day operations of a logistics company. In simple words, if you replace MS Excel with logistics management software, it makes your office life a lot easier and swifter.
Usually in an order quotation and entry, you may want to enter numerous things related to the same. There is a limitation to the number of columns you can manage in an excel sheet. Especially when there are a lot of sub-scenarios attached. Your client wants to transfer a cold-chain item through one of your reefer containers, and then one must consider an additional amount associated with it. Like the fuel needed for the generator, temperature/humidity monitoring systems, etc. All these extra costs cannot be mapped easily if you are using a spreadsheet-like excel. Using a dedicated operational module in ERP, you can easily attach these additional costs to the main order.
Let me explain another scenario, your truck has loaded off at the preset destination and has to do an empty leg return. Suddenly one of your marketing team members finds out a load from a place not far away from the current location of the truck. Now, it would be pretty difficult to coordinate everything in a single sheet, you have to assign an empty leg, intimate the driver to pick up the load, register it in your system and then calculate the costs. The need for a system that provides overall operational control is an absolute necessity here.
As your company grows, so should your software. There is a limit to what spreadsheets can manage and would not be a good practice if you still use the same to manage your operations.
So if you are a company that want to upgrade from the age-old spreadsheet-based system and replace MS Excel software with a logistics ERP solution, do write to us. You can also check on a few of the advantages like operations control you receive by upgrading to an ERP system. We can help you manage your logistics operations better.