Spreadsheets: is it fair to say that, out of all the IT programs in common usage, they’re the most Marmite? Whether you love them or hate them, it’s true to say that they certainly have their uses – but, when do these uses become limitations?
Love-hate relationships are never ideal. When it comes to managing product data, here’s why it’s time to break up with spreadsheets.
Managing data with spreadsheets
Spreadsheets can be used to hold a multitude of information and if people are working remotely or across multiple time zones or territories, they can certainly be useful to transport data from one user to another.
But what if more than one person wants to work on the spreadsheet at the same time? And what if you needed to make 8 different versions of a spreadsheet, each one with tiny – but highly critical – changes? And don’t even get us started on when you need to merge Excel spreadsheets without duplicates.
When creating a spreadsheet, there are many hacks, shortcuts and formulas that you can use to make your life a bit easier – in fact, some are complete technological works of arts. But, there’s also another unknown element: the person receiving the spreadsheet. It’s all well and good if you speak fluent Excel, but what if someone comes in to work on your magnificent spreadsheet and makes an error that then sets off a series of further errors? With the most diligent approach in the world, mistakes can – and do – happen.
Managing data with OMIO PIM
When it comes to retail, these mistakes can be costly. However, using OMIO PIM, these issues can easily be swerved as Laura Boyd, Trading Director at women’s and children’s wear retailer Mint Velvet, explained to Drapers: “We have to provide data to nine different selling partners and, before we used a PIM solution, we transferred this data to partners in varying formats. It was the equivalent of sending nine different Excel spreadsheets each week.
“My team download varying pieces of information from (omnichannel retail supply chain management solution) Merret, and then cut and paste this data into the format of the required spreadsheet, which will then be emailed across to the partner. This needs to be done for each selling partner at least once a week, depending on the volume of information being sent. Sometimes the partner will say they haven’t received it. Sometimes the partner will say there’s something missing, or sometimes they’ll say: ‘You’ve left a field blank, so we can’t accept it.’ It’s a process that is prone to being inaccurate and, if you transmit inaccuracies, it takes longer to rectify. The whole cycle can go on much longer than you would like it to because until the data is effectively received, you can’t allocate product. Whether you’d call this a complication or inaccuracy, this is a very big issue when it comes to getting your products to market.”
Mint Velvet chose OMIO PIM to manage their product data and Laura believes it can help any retailer.
“In managing product data, you have to be very accurate. It’s a task that’s crucial but it’s also very routine and very mundane – you can’t make mistakes. A PIM solution costs almost the same as an entry-level team member, who could then be used elsewhere in the business and you also have no accuracy issues. It’s a very sensible thing to do.”
OMIO PIM uses a single port to enter and effectively manage product data. Want to see just how much ROI (return on investment) your brand could look to gain from implementing a PIM? Click here to use our ROI calculator.