Spreadsheets, such as Excel, are easy and convenient for businesses to use when recording numerical data. This low cost, tried and tested solution makes Excel a default tool for many business managers.
However, when it comes to using spreadsheets to track and manage valuable assets in your business, you may be setting yourself up for failure. There are several reasons why excel can fail you in relation to asset tracking - not only because of the inefficiency, but also the high probability of human error, resulting in potentially expensive mistakes. Excel was simply not designed for asset tracking.
There are some compelling reasons to rethink the use of Excel and other spreadsheets for tracking and managing your valuable business assets:
Managing assets in a spreadsheet is a manual process and, therefore, there's an increased likelihood of errors. Being unable to validate changes and using copy and paste to input information means mistakes are made all too often.
Large volumes of data also prove challenging and make it harder to identify and correct errors. Additionally, spreadsheets don't provide real-time data input either. Without automatic updates, there's an ever-present chance that a hardware freeze could wipe out hours of hard work.
In contrast, asset tracking and fleet management software means you don't have to rely on your memory for keeping track of which asset needs maintenance. Built-in alerts and notifications also remind you about important actions as they come due.
Spreadsheets are designed for a single user; adding contributors and editors can cause chaos and make it much harder to track changes and assign responsibility for any errors. Although online spreadsheet solutions try to address this problem, you're almost guaranteed a headache if more than one person is trying to input or edit large amounts of data at the same time.
Managing assets in spreadsheets has another pitfall - it doesn't allow for real-time data collection from your assets. This makes it difficult to extract a clear overview of your assets so that you can predict asset use and demand.
Assets like vehicles, industrial and plant equipment require regular inspection and maintenance to stay at their peak functionality. Traditionally, this requires an additional, paper-based management system, which creates a disjointed asset management process and duplicates information. It's also very time intensive.
Compliance for assets varies too; some assets only need annual inspections, while others have to be checked each week. Manual tracking through spreadsheets means that compliance checks can easily slip through the cracks, putting your business at risk of compliance breaches.
While Excel is a great way to manage numerical data, it is limited when it comes to incorporating attachments and visual information. Modern-day asset management incorporates various documents and file formats, including purchase documents, maintenance reports, and related photos and videos. These are vital for audits and asset performance reviews, which is why Excel isn't an ideal asset management tool.
With the right skill set and practice, a spreadsheet can provide a savvy user with a wealth of data analysis. However, surfacing the right information in a timely fashion can be difficult for anyone who isn't a spreadsheet master. By comparison, many modern fleet management and asset tracking solutions integrate Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things to predict risks and surface recommendations and data to business managers before you even know you need it.
While Excel clearly has some shortfalls when it comes to asset tracking and managing a fleet of vehicles and other assets, a purpose-designed asset tracking platform offers some compelling benefits:
Are you considering a new approach to managing your assets?
GPS Asset Tracking is an insightful solution that will give your business accurate asset data and help with better decision making. Talk to our team today to learn more about the many benefits it can bring to your business.