Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

5 Reasons to Switch to
Software For Inventory Management

Taylor Howe is the Marketing Manager at Fiddle.io, an Inventory Management software for growing CPG brands, and proud Startup CPG sponsor”

Introduction

As a CPG founder, your top priority is growth. You want to scale your business as responsibly and quickly as possible.

A huge part of that scaling involves tracking inventory levels, sales numbers, product costing, lead times, batch numbers, and more.

When you started your business, the easiest way to keep track of all of those operations numbers and processes was probably an Excel or Google spreadsheet. And rightfully so!
That’s the cheapest and easiest option when you’re first starting out. There’s a chance that your spreadsheet, or more likely spreadsheets, could still be working for you.

But if you’re reading this post, you might be having doubts.

First, I’ll talk about when spreadsheets make sense for inventory operations management. The easiest thing might be to continue using them for now.

If ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?

After that, I’ll dig into the five reasons or signs to consider switching from spreadsheets software.

Do spreadsheets ever make sense?

Absolutely, yes. Here at Fiddle, we’re fans of spreadsheets ourselves. We use them a lot around the office for all sorts of things.

Like I mentioned above, spreadsheets are the smart option when you’re first starting out because you probably don’t have a lot of things you need to track. We’ve talked with hundreds of CPG brands over the past few months and based on those conversations, these are the scenarios where we think spreadsheets are great:

  • You source your finished goods directly from the supplier
  • You don’t source any ingredients, raw materials, or packaging yourself
  • You have three or fewer SKUs
  • You’re only selling in one channel
  • Your co-packer or supplier provides real-time inventory levels

Special Free Resource: The Ultimate Guide To Inventory Management For Growing CPG Brands

1 – Spreadsheets are more expensive (when you break it down)

Unless you’re part of the 14%, your spreadsheets have errors that are very likely costing you money.

“Wait, what’s ‘the 14%?’” I can hear you asking.

According to a study done by the University of Hawaii, 86% of spreadsheets contain errors. So unless you’re part of the 14% that didn’t have any errors, you can safely assume that your spreadsheets have errors. Those errors can affect how you calculate your COGS, cashflow, budgeting, purchasing, and more. Those inaccuracies, along with lost productivity and the other issues we’ll discuss next, end up costing you more money when you really break it down.

2 – Big spreadsheets are more likely to break

One of the biggest challenges with spreadsheets is they get harder to use the bigger your business gets. As you add more SKUs, sales channels, 3PLs, Co-packers, and more, your spreadsheet needs new tabs, formulas, and cells to track it all. Every new addition is another opportunity for a mistake to be made. One little mistyped entry can break a formula that affects the entire spreadsheet and all of your numbers get thrown out of whack!

Who has time for that?

Of course, mistakes can still be made with software, but you’ll never break the core code that makes it all run. Any mistake can be easily identified and fixed with the help of an in-app customer support chat feature like we use at Fiddle!

3 – No automatic, real-time updates

The more manual entries you are required to do in your spreadsheet, the less likely they are to get done. Not to mention, the more opportunities there are for incorrect inputs that give you incorrect information. One of the best parts of inventory management software is how much time it can save you. It connects with all of your sales channels so you don’t have to manually update inventory levels, and it connects with your favorite accounting software so your COGS are always up to date and your accountant is happy.

And more.

Yes, it takes some extra time up front to learn how to use new software, transfer all of your data, and connect your sales channels and apps. That’s why we have world-class onboarding experts to do it with you and in-app support to offer help along the way. That time spent up front turns into hours upon hours saved in the long-run.

Learn more inventory management best practices: The Ultimate Guide To Inventory Management For Growing CPG Brands

4 – Reporting

Numbers are fantastic to have but if you can’t translate all of that raw data into clear and actionable reports, you’re going to struggle with scaling your business operations. Spreadsheets require you to manually interpret your data from scratch every time, unlike inventory management software that allows you to generate reports one time that are automatically updated in the future. For example, you probably want to know how much inventory you have on-hand at any given time so you know when you need to order more. If not, you’ll be left with stock-outs and will lose sales as a result.

No bueno!

With inventory management software like Fiddle, you’ll be able to generate beautiful, data-packed reports with just a few clicks. The best part is the reorder point notifications. You can set up email notifications any time your raw or finished goods inventory drops below a certain number. You’ll even be able to auto-generate a PO to your preferred or most-recently used supplier to make ordering fast and painless.

5 – Restrictive user access

This is less the case with Google docs but is definitely a challenge with Excel. There’s probably one person who created the sheet to start but at some point, more people inside and outside your company need access. What happens when they make a change that you didn’t approve of? Or even worse, they make a change you don’t know about? Then, instead of spending your time focused on stuff that matters, you’re fixing formula errors or trying to find out why your new hire changed your tried and true formula.

As your team grows, there will likely be multiple people who need to access the spreadsheet at the same time. That can cause all sorts of problems if you’re crossing wires or stepping on each other’s toes. Inventory management software like Fiddle is cloud-based and supports multiple users. Any changes and updates you make will be saved automatically. Everyone can be logged in and use it at the same time without any issues. You can also customize rights and permissions for your team so people can only change what they are supposed to.

Summary

At the end of the day, inventory management software gives you easier user access, dependable systems, real-time updates, and crucial reporting.

You can still achieve aspects of these with spreadsheets. You might not need all of these features yet. You might not really be feeling the pain of these issues yet.

If that’s the case, then spreadsheets might still work for you!

On the other hand, if you’re feeling like your spreadsheets are about to break and you can’t stand another minute of sorting through tabs, columns, and cells, it’s time to consider inventory management software.

Either way, we’re here to help you succeed in your CPG business!

So what should you do next?

We have three options for you:
1 – Download our free resource, The Ultimate Guide to Inventory Management (Get it here)
2 – Start a free 14 day trial of Fiddle . No credit card required! (Start Here)
3 – Schedule a free Fiddle Software Demo (Schedule Here)

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