Supply Chain Trends

How Supply Chain Professionals Can Best Use Excel

Many supply chain professionals use Microsoft Excel to store, organize and process information, as it’s capable of dealing with large amounts of diverse data sets.

With Excel, it’s easy to make better purchasing decisions, keep an eye on orders and track inventory. The Microsoft program includes many features that help supply chain professionals get value for their spend and guard against shortages of essential materials.

Tracking Products and Suppliers

An Excel spreadsheet can be used to display critical details on products and suppliers. For instance, a spreadsheet could show a list of products, the priority for each one, the suppliers they originate from, the cost for each supplier, and lead times.

If the need for a product isn’t immediate, Excel tools can be used to focus on cost reduction instead of focusing on lead times. If the need is urgent, Excel can be used to quickly identify suppliers with the shortest lead times, then conduct a secondary sort based on cost.

Excel could also be used to organize contact information for suppliers. When issues arise, filters can quickly sort and contact the relevant people.

Tracking Orders

Along with keeping track of a company’s suppliers and products, Excel can also be used to track purchases that have been made and associated delivery dates. Entered orders can quickly be sorted using filters added to column headings like ‘Date Ordered’ or ‘Date Expected.’

Excel filters enable substantial flexibility when it comes to teasing out particular data. For instance, filters could parse orders based on the difference between the order date and expected delivery date. Formulas can be used to compare expected dates to actual delivery dates, revealing the best-performing suppliers or shippers.

Inventory Control

Excel can also keep track of inventory amounts to ensure ample stock of particular items needed to meet demand.

When raw materials and products are received, inventory quantities can be added in. Then when inventory is issued, doses can be subtracted. This simple approach makes it easy to track the amounts of products in stock.

Filters can also be used to focus on ranges of dates or products. Automated highlighting is used to reveal if an inventory item is running low so an order can be placed with the appropriate supplier.

Database Interoperability

Excel can also be easily connected to a database. Using Microsoft Access, a relational database can be made quickly and easily. It then can be linked to an Excel spreadsheet by using VBA code. Excel forms can offer a clean front end that lets users update data and access the database in the same way Excel filters are used. This allows for the quick creation of reports that are specifically tailored.

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