inventory management system

Mastering Inventory Chaos: Excel Solutions Every Online Seller Needs

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Samantha and Ryan operate a small online retail business, selling their products across various platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, TikTok, Amazon, and others. Managing their inventory poses a challenge as these platforms are not integrated, requiring manual tracking of sales. Despite experimenting with different software solutions, none have met their specific needs, with some being too costly for their budget constraints. Eager to streamline their processes and focus on boosting sales, they aim to leverage Excel and Power Query for efficient sales tracking and inventory management.

Logical but wrong way

At the beginning of his inventory management journey, Ryan opted for what seemed like the straightforward approach. He created a single worksheet, aligning product descriptions on the left and extending dates across the columns, thinking this would provide instant visibility as he updated quantities. However, this seemingly logical choice turned out to be the wrong way.

As Ryan continued to input changes in quantity directly across the columns for each date, the simplicity of the setup quickly became problematic. When it came time to review or analyze the inventory data, he found himself struggling. The lack of distinct columns for essential details like product numbers and specific dates led to confusion and errors. Moreover, as he added more products to his inventory, the spreadsheet became increasingly unwieldy, making it challenging to maintain accuracy.

This method not only hindered his ability to scale up and efficiently manage a growing product line but also created a tangled web of data that was difficult to decipher.

Improved Inventory system with data analytics

Realizing the drawbacks of the initial approach, Ryan sought guidance to enhance his inventory management system. Recognizing the potential of data analytics, he turned to experts at everydayExcel to unravel the complexities that had emerged from his original setup. With their assistance, he learned that a more refined approach could significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of his inventory tracking.

Under the guidance of the everydayExcel experts, Ryan implemented a revamped system. Instead of continuing with the dated and quantity-centric entries across columns, the new method involved separating the columns for product description, product number, date, and quantity. This adjustment provided a structured and comprehensive layout for each inventory transaction, offering clarity and ease of interpretation.

The experts at everydayExcel emphasized the importance of creating a data-driven approach to inventory management. By leveraging the power of Excel’s features, including data validation, conditional formatting, and pivot tables, Ryan was able to transform his spreadsheet into a dynamic tool for analyzing trends, identifying patterns, and making informed business decisions.

The enhanced system not only addressed the challenges of the initial setup but also allowed Ryan to seamlessly scale up his operations. As his product line expanded, the organized structure of the Excel sheet accommodated the growing data without sacrificing accuracy. With each product entry neatly recorded in a separate row, the spreadsheet became a reliable source of information for tracking stock movements, identifying sales patterns, and strategically planning inventory replenishments.

In the end, the collaboration with everydayExcel not only improved Ryan’s inventory management but also equipped him with valuable skills in leveraging data analytics for business optimization. The journey from an initially flawed approach to a refined and data-driven system not only saved time but also laid the foundation for a more efficient and scalable inventory management process.

Improved inventory management system with dual sources of data

As Ryan delved deeper into refining his inventory management system, he encountered challenges associated with manual and tedious data entry. The inconsistency in product descriptions and details across rows added to the complexity. Seeking further guidance from the everydayExcel expert, he discovered a transformative solution to streamline the process and ensure data consistency.

The expert introduced Ryan to the concept of storing product descriptions and details in a separate worksheet. This innovative approach alleviated the need to repeat the same information for every row in the main activity spreadsheet. By doing so, Ryan could maintain a more concise and organized worksheet with fewer columns, significantly reducing the manual effort required for data entry. This approach not only enhanced efficiency but also ensured more consistent product descriptions.

The true beauty of this method unfolded as the expert guided Ryan through linking the two spreadsheets—creating a seamless connection between his main activity sheet and the product details sheet using a unique product code. Now, rather than duplicating information for each transaction, Ryan could simply refer to the separate file to pull product details as needed. This not only simplified the data entry process but also eliminated inconsistencies in descriptions, fostering a more accurate and reliable inventory database.

With the integration of two data sources, Ryan was equipped with a dynamic system that allowed for easy updates and analysis. Leveraging the power of Pivot Tables, he could effortlessly generate meaningful insights by connecting the activity worksheet and the product details file through the product code. This approach not only streamlined the workflow but also enhanced the accuracy of his inventory records.

To further optimize data management, the expert taught Ryan how to convert his activity worksheet into an Excel table. This transformation facilitated the automatic updating of Pivot Tables, ensuring that as new data was added, the analysis remained current and insightful.

Embracing these advanced techniques, Ryan had not only overcome the challenges of manual data entry and inconsistency but had also evolved his inventory management system into a sophisticated and efficient tool. The newfound ability to link data sources and employ Pivot Tables marked a significant milestone in his journey toward a more streamlined, data-driven, and effective inventory management process.

Automate product re-stock calculations

As Ryan’s business continued to flourish, the expanding inventory brought along new challenges. Manually tracking the restock levels and Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) for the increasing number of products became a daunting task. Recognizing the need for a more efficient solution, Ryan decided to explore the capabilities of Power Pivot to streamline his inventory management processes.

The first step was to integrate MOQ information into his existing dataset. Ryan collaborated with the everydayExcel expert to incorporate MOQ details for each product. By establishing relationships between the product details table and the MOQ table within Power Pivot, Ryan created a dynamic and interconnected data model.

With the MOQ information now seamlessly integrated, Power Pivot empowered Ryan to automate the calculation of restock levels for each product. Leveraging its advanced features and the DAX language, he created calculated fields to determine when a product’s stock level fell below the MOQ. This allowed him to not only identify products that needed restocking but also calculate the precise quantity required to meet the MOQ.

Taking it a step further, Ryan utilized Power Pivot to calculate the expected restock dates based on historical data and lead times from his suppliers. This predictive capability eliminated the need for manual tracking and enabled him to proactively plan restocking activities.

The real game-changer came when Ryan decided to consolidate orders to optimize shipping costs. Using Power Pivot’s data modeling capabilities, he created a visualization that showcased products nearing their restock levels, along with their respective MOQs and expected restock dates. This consolidated view allowed him to strategically group products for ordering, minimizing shipping expenses and maximizing efficiency.

As a result of implementing Power Pivot into his inventory management system, Ryan not only automated the tracking of restock levels and MOQs but also gained insights that empowered him to make informed decisions about when and what to reorder. The dynamic and interconnected nature of Power Pivot’s data model transformed his inventory management from a manual and reactive process into a proactive and strategic one.

This evolution not only saved time and reduced errors but also contributed to substantial cost savings by optimizing the ordering and restocking processes. Ryan’s journey with Power Pivot exemplified the immense potential of leveraging advanced tools to manage and scale a growing business effectively.