Jennifer, absolutely true. Managing large amount of data is not efficient with excel. I have seen this company who got a new purchase manager, and his first few weeks at work was just going through lots and lots of excel spreadsheets. Small companies do not want to spend money on better software, maybe because they don't see the bigger picture of its benefit.
_hm - not sure if I understand your question. EBN doesn't having facilities/resources to do A/B technical testing of different commercial products... that kind of testing isn't really our expertise, so I couldn't say which products would perform better.
t.alex - to your second point about getting the information beyond internal operations, I bet with all the advancements we're in cloud technology, in a few years -- with the right amount of security development -- some of those problems may be smoothed out.
t.alex - sure, switching to a enterprise software system could be quite expesive, and there are different pricing/licensing options. I don't think the choice simply rests in saying something like "oh, spreadsheets work fine and there's no need for software." Supply chain decisions much be made much faster than before and customers and suppliers demand more information. Poring over spreadsheets isn't really the most robust solution in 2012. Having a more powerful way of analyzing and auditing supply chain decision could put companies in better competitive positions overall.
İ agree that the cost of software ownership and licensing is too expensive for most companies. İf their traditional methods of managing information works, they do not tend to change it. İf it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
Also, Excel spreadsheets are quite powerful tools if you know how to use them. İn addition to the internal capabilities of Excel, if you are an average programmer then you have the added capability of developing your own scripts to do more magic with Excel data. To be honest, there is plenty of reasonably priced options when it comes to software tools. Therefore, people often look around bedore committing to buying an expensive software tool.
I have seen are companies adopting software system based on SAP (expensive though) to link up all the departments and offshore offices, including manufacturing process. Everything works seamlessly. The challenge is when it comes to their vendors or customers, this system is not able to link up automatically with the other side's system. Excel of course has to be used and redundant data entry work is unavoidable. Here we are talking about the complexity and the lack of standards to interface among these systems.
Clairvoyant, There are various enterprise resource management software in the market that companies use for managing the supply chain. The point you made is valid, though. Companies use Excel because of its simplicity and efficiency but it is not robust enough for some of the functions required. However, for some firms this is sufficient.
Somehow, I have managed to dodge Excel my whole life. To me, Excel is still a cipher. But clearly, there are other ways of organizing data. But it is interesting that with many of the supply chain/design/purchasing tools available, they all convert to/from Excel.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.