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The cost of using Excel for apparel inventory management
Many small and medium-sized companies rely on manual methods of inventory management. This typically means Excel, and sometimes we'll even come across a business still using good, old-fashioned pen and paper! It can certainly seem more straightforward to control your inventory by hand, but these one-size-fits-all methods of planning are, in fact, insecure and very prone to error.


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Disadvantages of Microsoft Excel

Firstly, assume all of your team are good with Excel (which many won't be, 2019 aside). Excel is, of course, relatively cheap software, so in the short term costs less than investing in purpose-built Inventory Management Software. However, Excel offers no user support, no accountability, and is known for its tendency to conveniently drop cells of data at random. As Forbes reported, over 80% of all spreadsheets contain some form of error.

If you are using Excel for fashion inventory management, you're making life much harder for yourself. Excel is a standalone piece of software and can only manage one thing at a time! Excel lacks real-time inventory data - it's only as useful and relevant as the update that it's given. When you use Excel, it's far more difficult to track movements of stock and any fall-out costs or savings, and even harder to optimise stock or plan stock rotation. It offers no single view of stock position that all team members can access, and also has no real back-up beyond saving multiple copies across different platforms, which is inconvenient and very inefficient.

Finally, Excel might be handy for a spreadsheet under a couple hundred items, but if you need to handle large volumes of data? Forget about it. Just one mistype can wipe all of your numbers out.

Fortunately, however, there is an alternative to Excel for large datasets.


Inventory management for the fashion industry

A scalable, secure software designed to control your inventory data in tandem with all other aspects of your business can save you time, energy, and a lot of money. Our STYLEman system is specifically designed for the apparel and footwear industry. Our software is cloud-based for enhanced user accessibility, minimal risk of data loss, and increased systems compatibility.

STYLEman offers a Critical Path management tool that streamlines activities and improves individual accountability, has in-built language translation, provides a direct line to the supplier, and allows for the creation of flexible costing formats in response to calendar events, seasonal tendencies, or predicted spikes and lulls in demand.

Critically, however, STYLEman’s ERP is designed around the Windows look and feel, providing the Pivot facilities of Excel; this includes grouping, sorting, filtering, and flexible totalling. This range of options allows users to filter through data for exception management or prioritisation and offers information in real time, with all new updates applied directly to the STYLEman database where all other team members can immediately view and action accordingly.

For a safer, but just as user-friendly, alternative to Excel, give us a call today and we’ll talk you through STYLEman and all it can offer you.

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