Yet 5 Further Ways Businesses Struggle & How Excel Can Help

Firstly I would like to say that this is the fourth part of the series, the first three can be found here, here and here. If you haven’t read them and this post interests you, I suggest that you read the others too. The others ended at point fifteen so this will start from sixteen. There is a full list on our website.

Having been in business for many years, I have often found myself in the situation where I have had to create an Excel document or two to help companies improve their processes. I have come across many different issues and solved them with Excel, so I have written this in case your business struggles with some of the same issues. I hope this helps you.

Sixteen. Stock control. I started working for a company when I was younger, and assumed the role as assistant manager. I went into the stock room and was greeted with a pile of papers that the staff filled in with the details of what left the stock store room, but they were not captured anywhere. I created a simple spreadsheet that showed the stock, supplier, product codes, price, current quantity, minimum quantity, order quantity and upcoming jobs. With some clever formatting, formulas and functions, I had a comprehensive stock database that would warn me (by changing colour) when we came close to minimum quantity, and then again when we went under it. When we had a job coming up, I would fill the details into the upcoming jobs column. This means that when the manager came in and asked about a specific stock item, I was able to tell him how many we had, how many were planned to go out, and how many we had left (in theory). This was incredibly useful. Also, at a glance, I could see exactly what needed to be ordered to replenish the stock. So whether we wanted to do a large order (all stock approaching minimum order level), or a smaller order (only critically low items), we could see exactly what to order without actually entering the stock store room.

Seventeen. Client database. Excel is good for using as a database, maybe not as good as Access, but more useful if you need to use that data in another way. Having a client database is very handy, and having one in Excel means that not only will you have hyper-links to the websites and email addresses, but you can use that data elsewhere. This means that if you select the client name in another document, you could have all their details pop up automatically. How useful is that?!

Eighteen. Materials lists. I have spent a good few years as a project manager in the cabinet industry, that meant working out so many cutting lists of boards required. I eventually created templates for each cabinet type in Excel. This meant that inserting the cabinet (overall) sizes, my templates would give me a complete cutting list for that cabinet! No human errors or silly mistakes. If you require a material list, and there is some kind of maths formula to work out what you require, Excel can do an amazing job with this! It saved me loads of time and effort, and therefore money.

Nineteen. Vehicle statistics. Do you have company vehicles? Keeping track of mileage, fuel costs and usage and when tyres, road tax and insurance is due, can be a nightmare. A carefully created Excel spreadsheet can keep track of all of those needs. Whether it is a single vehicle or a fleet, Excel can keep you on top of what is going on with your vehicles! In fact, we have already created a vehicle logbook (for individual use), which is available for free download.

Twenty. Job Cards. If you have a business where you require job cards, Excel can prove to be more than useful. Job cards are ideal for storing all of the information for that client. This also means that you can link various other documents to the job card, just like the other ones that we have discussed in this series, which means that you can get so much out by capturing so much less! This is a very good way of tying up all of the possibilities discussed in one place, meaning that you only have to enter each piece of data once, and it will feed all of the documents! Now that will save you time, money and effort!

I hope that you have a better understanding of what Excel can do. I have written about these 20 problems because I have come across them and personally solved them all. You may have other issues which I have not mentioned, and I would love to have the chance to see if I can solve them (with the help of Excel). I started Spreadsheet Solutions because I love Excel, helping companies and a good challenge! As you can see above, most of these points are solvable, but it is far more comprehensive if they are all done in Excel. One ‘package’ to combine everything, just like bespoke programmed business software, only more cost effective!

Have a look at our free download section for some free Excel software, or some PDF brochures for some software already created.

Thanks for reading.

Richard Sumner

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