Blog ›

The hidden dangers: 4 spreadsheet disadvantages in Bev Alc planning

Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets have been the go-to solutions for various business functions for decades. They provide a familiar interface and a certain level of versatility that many people find appealing. However, while these tools might work for all company sizes, the bustling and bubbling beverage alcohol industry demands more.

Our beloved Bev Alc industry is marked by rapid changes, influenced by consumer preferences, seasonal demands, regulatory changes, and global supply chain complexities. Businesses need tools to accommodate such change to get around all this efficiently. Unfortunately, despite their widespread use and alluring user interface, spreadsheets fall short in several critical areas. Let's focus on four key disadvantages of using spreadsheets to plan your Bev Alc business.

Icon representing danger

1. Inaccuracies that wreak havoc

  • Mistakes and mismanagement: The lack of a proper audit trail in spreadsheets makes it hard to trace changes. An accidental deletion, incorrect data input, or even trivial human errors in Excel spreadsheets can go unnoticed, resulting in skewed decision-making.
  • The domino effect: Consider a scenario where a sales manager enters an incorrect value in one cell of an Excel spreadsheet. This seemingly small error, especially when found in interrelated spreadsheet data, can trigger a series of miscalculations throughout the document. The danger isn't limited to numbers; even misaligned cells or incorrect formula references can throw off entire projections.
  • Consequences of mistakes: While innocent in intent, trivial human errors can have grave repercussions. For instance, erroneous accounts receivable records might affect cash flow predictions, and incorrect stock can distort inventory planning. In the competitive Bev Alc landscape, such missteps can jeopardize entire operations, eroding trust and potentially causing significant financial losses.

Icon representing confusion

2. Version chaos and collaboration confusion

  • Access issues: Centralized storage of spreadsheets, such as in a commonly shared network folder, can create access challenges. When two or more individuals try to edit the document simultaneously, it can result in locked files or multiple versions that further exacerbate the confusion.
  • Delayed decision-making: When a spreadsheet is updated and shared, recipients must review the document to identify changes. This tedious process can stall decision-making, especially when multiple parties are involved.
  • Lost in translation: Sharing a spreadsheet via email doesn’t guarantee everyone will be on the same page. It’s too easy for someone to miss out on an updated file or act on outdated data. This can have repercussions, from incorrect stock orders to skewed sales projections.
  • Access control: sometimes, you don't want everyone to have the same data access. Managing this in spreadsheet apps is nearly impossible to ensure you have people accessing the right data.

Icon representing expansion

3. Outgrowing the spreadsheet sandbox

  • Proof of concepts: spreadsheets are good proofs of concepts.  However, as they evolve into enterprise-level applications, their shortcomings become evident. As the volume and complexity of data swell, performance and responsiveness take a hit, urging businesses to explore more robust alternatives available in the market.
  • Integration challenges: While it's technically possible to connect your spreadsheet to multiple systems through APIs, the process is often intricate and hard to maintain. Contemporary Bev Alc businesses deploy diverse tools, ranging from inventory management and CRM systems to marketing automation platforms and e-commerce solutions. Facilitating smooth data flow between spreadsheets and these tools requires cumbersome manual interventions and amplifies the risk of errors. Such disruptions can cause cascading delays that ripple from production lines to market launches.
  • Beyond basic calculations: Spreadsheets come with a rich set of functions right out of the box. Yet, when it comes to advanced statistical modeling, they fall short. Crafting intricate models, like linear regression, within a spreadsheet environment isn't just labor-intensive—it's also a minefield of potential inaccuracies.
  • The struggles of scaling: As a business grows and its data layers proliferate, the analytical landscape becomes increasingly treacherous. Moreover, the sheer magnitude of data combined with intricate spreadsheet formulas and linkages (yes, VLOOKUP, we're looking at you) can strain spreadsheet applications to breaking point. Such performance bottlenecks not only hinder productivity but also compromise decision-making efficacy.

Icon of a thinking person

4. The opportunity cost of disparate data

  • Treating data as a strategic asset: Consider your data as a monetary reserve for your business – a currency that can be reinvested for growth. Just as money forgotten in couch cushions is useless, data concealed across fragmented storage is a squandered resource. The data spread sporadically across employee hard drives, disparate company systems, or fragmented cloud accounts is like gold buried deep underground – precious but untapped.
  • The promise of modern technologies: By now, terms like 'machine learning' and 'artificial intelligence (AI)' are more than just buzzwords. They represent transformative tools accessible to businesses of all sizes. These technologies can unearth invaluable insights, aiding growth and preempting potential challenges. But the catch? They require a unified, coherent dataset to operate optimally.
  • Unlocking value: Both AI and ML excel (no pun intended) at detecting patterns, prognostications, and optimizations often elusive to human understanding. By relegating data to isolated spreadsheets, organizations effectively truncate their potential to extract the fullest value from their data.

Embracing the future

The need for modern solutions

In this age of digital transformation, staying ahead of the curve is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Businesses, especially in nuanced sectors like beverage alcohol, can no longer rely on rudimentary tools like spreadsheets to manage their intricate operations. Recognizing the disadvantages of using spreadsheets is the first step toward innovation. But what's the next step?

  1. Recognizing the shortfalls of traditional tools: While spreadsheets have been the cornerstone of data management and analysis for decades, their limitations, such as inconsistent data management, vulnerability to human errors, and lack of advanced analytics, have become evident. With Bev Alc planning requiring meticulous precision and forecasting, these spreadsheet disadvantages can result in costly miscalculations.
  2. Industry-specific solutions: Beverage alcohol is not just another industry. It has its unique challenges, regulations, and nuances. Therefore, it demands tools that are crafted with these specificities in mind.

Where does Claret fit into the future of Bev Alc planning?

Tailored for the Bev Alc Industry: Claret isn't just another business solution. It's designed to keep the unique challenges and requirements of the beverage alcohol industry in mind.

Icon of a chart

Scalability and advanced functionalities:

Claret grows with you as your business grows. It offers the scalability that spreadsheets simply can't. Moreover, with advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and the potential for machine learning integrations, Claret ensures you can extract the maximum value from your data‍‍‍‍

Icon of a shield

Reliability and security:

With Claret, you're not just getting a tool; you're investing in peace of mind. It provides robust data protection mechanisms and ensures data integrity, minimizing risks associated with human errors or system vulnerabilities.‍

Seamless integrations:

Claret understands that businesses often use a suite of tools. Hence, it's designed to integrate seamlessly with other business systems, ensuring smooth data exchange and reducing the inefficiencies associated with manual data transfers.

Icon of sparks

Common spreadsheet-based planning that Claret replaces:

Collecting forecasts from the sales team.  Claret eliminates spreadsheets of forecasts being sent back and forth between your sales team and the home office.  Click here to find out more about Claret’s Sales Collaboration feature.

The Sales Collaboration feature in Claret

Figuring out how much “liquid” (wine or spirits) you need. Claret aligns the demand plan to the right vintage or age to determine the right amount of liquid you need to make, buy or somewhere in between. Click here to find out more about Claret’s Make Planning feature.

The Make Planning feature in claret

The beverage alcohol industry is complex and rapidly evolving.  It demands tools built for the future. As discussed, spreadsheets have been a staple for decades in Bev Alc, but they present many challenges for modern businesses. From time-consuming manual processes, integration hurdles, versioning woes, and missed opportunities in AI & ML, spreadsheets are becoming increasingly inadequate.

There is a need to embrace modern solutions tailored to our industry. Companies cannot afford growth and innovation stunted by tools that aren't up to the task. The disadvantages of spreadsheets can be overcome with platforms like Claret. Designed with the unique challenges of the Bev Alc industry in mind, Claret offers scalability, advanced functionalities, security, and seamless integration.

The Bev Alc industry is dynamic, and to stay competitive, businesses must employ adaptable planning tools. Recognizing the limitations of spreadsheets is a crucial step, but taking the leap to more advanced, industry-specific solutions is the real game-changer.

Frequently asked questions

Why can't spreadsheets keep up with the complexities of the modern Bev Alc industry?

How do spreadsheet versioning issues affect decision-making in Bev Alc businesses?

Why is integration with other systems crucial for Bev Alc planning, and why do spreadsheets struggle in this area?

Are there opportunities we might miss if we rely solely on spreadsheets for data analysis?

How does Claret differ from spreadsheet tools in addressing the unique challenges of the Bev Alc industry?

Get your guide to Sales and Operations Planning for beverage alcohol
Discover the benefits, best practices and a free checklist to improve your S&OP.