2. Excel spreadsheets
As with manual systems, many small to medium sized companies rely on spreadsheet inventory management to manage their stock. While spreadsheets can work in a small organisation, they can quickly lead to serious issues as a business grows and more inventory is kept.
One study of errors in spreadsheets found that just 15 workbooks contained a total of 117 errors. As toolparks become larger, spreadsheets become less and less effective, which can lead to potentially costly mistakes in terms of stock levels and misplaced tools.
A particularly major issue with using spreadsheets is keeping them up to date. Manual input of stock is time consuming (and let’s face it - dull), with spreadsheets often neglected as a result. Many spreadsheets are subsequently outdated, containing stock items that the company no longer owns, or not listing recently procured tools. Often this happens because the person who manages the spreadsheet is not updated when equipment is removed or added to the toolpark.
Spreadsheets aren't reactive either, so there's no way to effectively keep track of what tools are being taken and when. Excel is not equipped to deal with the realities of everyday construction work, such as workers quickly taking what they need for a specific job, tools being returned late, and people not writing down what they have taken.
These issues can have huge implications on a company’s toolpark, with overstock a likely side-effect of using Excel spreadsheets for inventory management. Having an out-of-date record of your company’s inventory means that you are never able to see where your tools are at any given time. This can cause major problems in terms of lost or misplaced items, keeping tools maintained, and ensuring workers have the appropriate tools for the job.