When it comes to spreadsheet jokes, it’s hard to Excel… (okay, so perhaps not one of my best!) However, with spreadsheets now ubiquitous in our everyday working environments, spreadsheet errors are certainly no laughing matter. With a multitude of columns, rows, numbers, users accessing the same spreadsheet and then with staff handling and even replicating data from one spreadsheet to the next, it’s a perfect storm for something going wrong.
Joules’ chief executive, Nick Jones, recently had to hold his company’s hands up to such a mistake. The error lead to a lack of availability of some items over its December end-of-year sales event, with Jones having to warn about the knock-on impact that this error would undoubtedly have on Joules’ profits.
He said: “When we are planning and preparing for an event, as we do for every event, we pull a lot of information from a lot of different places. Those then get pulled together and put on to spreadsheets. On one of those spreadsheets, there was an error.
“We collectively looked at that as a team and we made what we thought was the right decision, but in the end, we left ourselves with less stock than we thought we would have from a consumer point of view.”
Whilst this particular example was a stock error, it highlights the all too real possibility of things going wrong when they could have been avoided. With all the best will and due diligence in the world, spreadsheet mistakes can still happen: so what’s the best way to move forward to reduce this risk? Simple: remove the spreadsheets!
Using software such as OMIO PIM reduces the risk of spreadsheet errors when handling product data. Having just one port of entry for all product data means that retail teams can work collaboratively, with multiple users accessing the same product at the same time, rather than spreadsheets being emailed around or being accessed on an internal server.
One of our retail users explained that, prior to OMIO PIM, her and her colleagues would have to access the same spreadsheet to upload catalogue data, including fabric content, washing instructions and alternative colourways. With 40 people having to access this one spreadsheet – and having to enter data bi-annually for their main collections – it became a recurrent nightmare.
We believe that product information doesn’t have to be complex. Our PXM-approach has been specifically designed for fashion retail teams, connecting to ERP and PO-raising software.
Want to free your teams from spreadsheets? Get in touch here.