As a manufacturer, does ERP = Excel Runs Production?

26th March 2021 By: Creamer Media Reporter

“One of the seductive things about a spreadsheet is that it is so easy to create one. Unlike an ERP implementation, which is a complex project, even to modify or add features to, even a complex spreadsheet can be generated by one person in a few hours.”  - Rick Cook

The problem with using spreadsheets for business-critical decisions is that after different users have modified data, it becomes harder and harder to get a single version of the truth.

This means that calculating business-critical decisions may be based on error-riddled data. Spreadsheets don’t have error-protection, so unless you are alerted about a circular-reference or the results are obviously illogical, it can be very easy to assume that your data is correct. It is because spreadsheets are error prone that they are better suited to individual projects than they are to group efforts.

Yes, it’s a lot easier and more familiar to most people to just create a quick spreadsheet that they think will be as effective as the data provided by an ERP – it won’t! Spreadsheets certainly do have their place, just make sure that as an individual, you’re using them for the right reasons and that your version control is strictly regulated.

When it comes to running production in factories, you need transparency, total visibility and accuracy in order to make business critical decisions in real time. For this, your need a fully integrated ERP System. Apart from more predictable delivery dates enabled by forwards and backwards planning and scheduling, showing available capacity groups, waiting times and equipment availability, this can help to dramatically reduce the costs of wasted labour in a way that spreadsheets could never control.

Given the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on job losses and profit losses, accurate costing, reduction of costs and better profitability has never been so important to sustainability.

Often, businesses are put off by failure of previous implementations. Either the processes were not mapped correctly, change management was not effective or the wrong product was introduced (not fit-for-purpose) As a result, many factories revert back to using trusted and familiar spreadsheets. Many businesses already using ERP systems also use Excel to fill the gaps not provided by the ERP. Many are not fit-for-purpose, but implemented anyway as a push from IT, instead of the decision being driven by business imperatives. This is why the right implementation partner is so important. Choose one that has the required knowledge of your particular industry and the challenges associated, so they can help you to navigate the journey accordingly.

Personal and business growth have become critical to sustainability, and there is no time to waste. Like staying in a relationship you have outgrown, hanging around for too long will be to your detriment. And as hard as it may be to part ways, you know you have to do it.

If you are ready to upgrade to a globally proven fit-for-purpose ERP, or for more information on how to begin the process, contact

How to Dump your Spreadsheet

Dear Excel Spreadsheet, I do love you so,

But my tired old spreadsheet, I’m letting you go…

You no longer give me information in detail,

I can still see the basics, but not on a large enough scale.

I can change you and tweak you as much as I care,

But boundaries and constants are simply not there.

When I’ve made changes you often revert

To your previous versions, and it causes me hurt.

When we were younger our conversations were fine,

But now I’m evolving, and you’ve stayed behind…

I hate to say it, but it’s not me – it’s YOU:

You just can’t keep up as well as you used to.

When I share your letters and others are reading,

They are changed and get lost and are downright misleading!

You never look forward; you look back in time

And lamenting the past is all well and fine,

But I need forward planning, a predictive view.

And if you’re so easily swayed, then your stats can’t be true.

And so, my dear Spreadsheet, it is with regret

That I must leave you and run with the best.

I’ve got to move forward and look after ME,

And so, my dear spreadsheet, meet my new ERP!

-Caroline Carter


Rifle-Shot Performance Holdings