Why You Should Utilize Microsoft Excel for Inventory ManagementTraditional inventory management methods have their uses, but if you have been seeking ways to improve efficiency and increase your business' profits in an easy and simple way, it's time to upgrade. While you may be used to tracking inventory on paper, assigning complicated count duties to your staff, and compiling information by hand, there is a much easier way to get the job done; it even comes with far less risk of mistakes and costly miscounts. Microsoft Excel is the industry leader in spreadsheet creation, and restaurants should be harnessing this strength for use in everyday affairs.
Learning the basics of Microsoft Excel is all that's required to tap into its power and improve your store's efficiency and revenue stream. While learning how to use Excel is beyond the scope of this article, there are plenty of simple and fast tutorials on the internet to get you started. Our article is focused on the specific needs of food service and other retail businesses, with special attention on making Excel work wonders for your inventory management needs.
Spreadsheets are more than a simple document with text lists for you to check off. They have fast and accurate mathematical abilities just behind the scenes, plus so much more. Once you know the basics of Excel, it's easy to create a variety of spreadsheets to cover your inventory needs. Couple your spreadsheets with the right apps and you've got powerful tools that will instantly solve complicated math equations, group items in any number of ways, filter search results in seconds, and give timely warnings when things don't quite add up. All of this combined will save you time, manpower, and money.
The 5 Tips for Inventory Management Success Using Microsoft ExcelEfficiency and increased profits start with excellent inventory control. Once you have a handle on your inventory, it will be easy to see where your money is going, where it's coming from, and any places where you can make improvements. Below, we've compiled our top five favorite tips for effective inventory control.
Start with what you have
If your restaurant is already open for business, it's not too late to get a handle on your inventory. Gather your best employees and get an accurate count of everything in your store. Don't just focus on the kitchen, though. You need to know how many saltshakers you have, how many sugar packets are on the tables, and how many paper towels are at the server station. Count everything. Each item in your establishment adds to your cost, and this includes furniture and fixtures. If you ever need to replace something that wasn't inventoried at this stage, you won't be prepared with the right money in your emergency fund. All of this information should go on your first sheet; name it something like "Starting Inventory" and the date, so it will be easy to find later on.
Transfer old inventory sheets to digital format If you have an established restaurant with a history of inventory days already on the books, it's a good idea to transfer the last one or two paper inventory counts to a new sheet in Excel. While you won't need to look at these sheets much, it's always helpful to have them on record in an easy-to-find format, and in a way that can be added to any reports or logs you may want to create in the future. For example, you might wish to see how a particular promotion performed in a previous year and, using your transferred inventory sheet, you can do so. This is even easier if you have an inventory management app that can help compile the information you need while leaving behind the stuff you don't. We’ll touch more on that later.
Create and keep multiple sheets Using Microsoft Excel inventory management means you have the power to create multiple sheets, made just for your store's unique needs. You can have one main inventory sheet with everything in your store, and you can separate that information out into new sheets that cover specific sections—one for the kitchen, one for maintenance, and one for the front end, for example. Don't worry, this doesn't mean you'll need to input everything multiple times, with Microsoft Excel inventory management it's as easy as a copy and paste or a drag and drop. This is where that work you did initially will pay off—trust us It's definitely worth the effort at the beginning.
Use the right staff for the job It's unavoidable that someone will have to do the actual counting to keep your inventory spreadsheets up to date. It doesn't have to be hard or stressful though. Making sure to choose the right employees for the job is your first step. You will need people with great math skills and a keen eye for details. Once the information is put into the spreadsheets, it's easy for management to run all the numbers they need. This is a pretty standard way of using a Microsoft Excel inventory management system, and it’s faster and more accurate than paper inventory sheets and mental math; but there's an even better way. Check out the next tip for a powerful and affordable solution to the inventory headache.
Deploy a powerful inventory management system This is where Microsoft Excel inventory management can shine. When you couple your new spreadsheets with the power and flexibility of an inventory management app, you will be able to compile months of information in seconds. These apps allow you to generate reports that span weeks or months to help track trends and organize everything in the blink of an eye. While Microsoft Excel inventory management makes inventory duties much easier than slogging through paper logs, imagine not having to manually search your digital files, either. By allowing an inventory management system to do the heavy lifting for you, all you need to do is click, tap, or swipe to find important information and data. You've just shaved off hours of expensive manpower while reducing the stress and frustration of yourself and your staff.
Mastering Inventory Management is Just a Click AwayThese tips should get you started on the right path to creating a Microsoft Excel inventory management system, but don't stop there. That last tip is a big one, and we're sure you can see the value in saving time and money by letting technology do the tedious work for you. If you’re considering allowing more modern apps to come to your rescue, consider this article here. Or, take matters into your own hands and get a feel for what an inventory management app can do for your business by trying Hubworks’ Zip Inventory free here.