Advantages and Disadvantages of using Excel to Manage Orders

Categories ERP

Order Management in Excel

What kind of tools does your company use for order management? 

Many of you are probably using Excel. Microsoft's Excel is a standard tool in business and can be used for various things, depending on how you use it.

It is a very convenient application that allows you to manage order information as a ledger and efficiently create quotations and invoices by setting the format. So many people think that Excel is enough for order management.

However, even if you think it is enough if you don't receive many orders, you may have experienced that managing orders in Excel becomes inefficient or causes mistakes when the number of orders, types of products, or customers increases.

In this article, I will introduce the advantages and disadvantages of using Excel to manage orders, so I hope this will give you an opportunity to rethink your current order management environment.

Table of Contents

  • Advantages and disadvantages of Excel
  • What's important in order management?
  • Utilizing Cloud ERP

Advantages and disadvantages of Excel

Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using Excel.

1. Advantages

Anyone can use it

Excel is a business tool that is used all over the world. It is a tool that every working person has used at least once, so there is no need to educate them again, thus reducing the cost of education. Another advantage is that even if you have never used Excel before, you can master the basic operations in a short time.

Inexpensive to use

To install Excel, you need to purchase an Office license, but basically most companies have already installed it. Therefore, there are no additional costs to pay, and as a result, it is inexpensive to use.

Can be automated

Excel has a macro function that automates processing. You can record user actions and perform them repeatedly, increasing operational efficiency. Another great advantage of using the VBA programming language is that you can modify the program in detail.

Can be used to work with other systems

There are many systems that have an interface to work with Excel, making it possible to achieve various types of management while using other business systems, such as system input mainly in Excel.

2. Disadvantages

Compatibility issues

While version changes are basically a good thing, they can also cause compatibility issues. So, there are many cases where programs created in the previous version do not work in the next version.

Simultaneous editing is not possible

Since Excel basically does not allow simultaneous editing, if one user has a file open, other users cannot edit the same file, resulting in delays in updating information.

No history management

If you share the same file with multiple users, you may not be able to track which files are up-to-date and which files are out of date without strict rules on how to update files. If this happens, inconsistencies in information will occur, causing problems in various situations.

Decrease in processing speed

There is a limit to the amount of data that can be processed in a file created in Excel. Also, since it runs on a client, its performance depends on the specs of the PC. In general, large data cannot be processed, so the more data you record in a file, the slower the processing speed will be.

Program personalization

Programs such as macros created in Excel often do not have formal documentation. Therefore, since the design document of the program is in the creator's mind, it creates a situation that no one but that person can repair.

Timing of change reflection

One of the drawbacks of Excel is that it is not possible to update information in real-time. For example, you must re-enter the same data in other files as you entered in Order Management. Data may not be updated in real-time, resulting in data that remains out of date.

These are the main advantages and disadvantages of using Excel to manage orders. If it is a simple management task, using Excel can be very effective. It will much improve your business efficiency and does not require any extra cost. However, Excel tends to be unsuitable for large-scale management tasks and those that work with other management tasks.

What is important in order management?

Now I would like to move on to the issue of whether or not Excel is suitable for order management. To understand this, let's first review the main points of order management.

Order management is the process of creating quotations, responding to delivery dates, and issuing shipping and production instructions in response to customer order requirements, such as "I want this product and by when." Therefore, it can be said that the subsequent management tasks are more important than managing the order information itself.

The key here is to link with other management operations and systems. For example, when an order is received, the details are recorded in an Excel ledger, and the inventory management system allocates products based on the contents of that ledger. If there is no problem, the order is confirmed. After that, we will issue shipping orders to the logistics department and production instructions to the production department and carry out operations to comply with the deadlines set in advance.

In this way, order management is like a hub for customer orders, and it is important to link it with various systems and operations. Considering the advantages and disadvantages of Excel, the question arises as to whether Excel is really appropriate for order management.

The answer to this question is, "You can manage orders in Excel, but it's not very efficient." It is possible to create an order ledger in Excel, manage the information, and then use that information to make inventory allocations and issue shipping instructions. However, you cannot create quotations directly from order information you record, make inventory allocation in real-time, or issue speedy shipping and production instructions.

Excel only records order information and does not automate all other operations. Therefore, as a result, the disadvantages are more than the advantages of Excel in order management. In addition, it is not easy to manage order information in an integrated way and utilize it in business strategies.

That's why many companies are implementing order management systems and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to achieve order management tasks that are impossible with Excel. Among the many management tasks that a company has, order management is one that requires systemization.

Utilizing Cloud ERP

Incidentally, ERP is a product that integrates various business systems essential for management into one, including order management systems. It can be linked to all kinds of systems, such as inventory management systems, shipping management systems, production management systems, and customer relationship management systems (CRM), which can greatly improve the efficiency of the entire order management process.

Furthermore, with cloud ERP, which provides ERP as a cloud service, it is easy to consolidate orders generated at many locations on the cloud. This makes it possible to monitor the status of orders worldwide in real-time.

As you can see, order management is not a task that can be completed by itself, so the benefits of using ERP along with its systemization will be significant. In addition, linking with an inventory management system can speed up the delivery response time and shorten the delivery time, contributing to customer satisfaction. For companies that are feeling the limitations of Excel-based order management, please take this opportunity to consider using an order management system or cloud-based ERP to improve efficiency.

See also:
Difference between CRM and ERP
SaaS – Benefits of Implementing SaaS
Advantages of Cloud Services
Benefits of Implementing ERP for the Retail Industry
Benefits of Moving to Cloud ERP for SMEs

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