If you’re one of those auto manufacturers who’s using ad hoc, spreadsheet-based collaboration, you’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by Ventana Research in November 2015, 7 out of 10 midsize companies use desktop spreadsheets for a range of business planning processes. Yet nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed admit that spreadsheets make it difficult to manage business processes.
If your organization is still emailing spreadsheets back and forth with suppliers and staffers, you may be opening yourself up to more risk than benefit.
With unstructured collaboration processes like shared desktop spreadsheets, you can never be sure that you’re working from the latest, most accurate information. Spreadsheets are outdated almost as soon as they’re saved and emailed. All it takes is one person to make a change or reverse a number, and the information you’re relying on is useless — or worse, inaccurate enough to cause flawed business decisions.
Maybe you’ve figured out some way to tame the version control problem, and your team is super-careful about double checking their inputs. That doesn’t make those spreadsheets any easier to use or analyze. Ventana reports that 92 percent of manufacturing companies are using spreadsheets regularly as a means of sharing business data. Yet, this leads to analytics that take longer to generate and are less accurate.
You may run into challenges when importing information from a spreadsheet into your ERP system, purchasing system, or quality management system. Sometimes, the formatting does not match up, and that could lead to someone spending hours on manual data manipulation to normalize the spreadsheet data and make it usable.
An unstructured approach to collaboration could lead to inefficiencies and inaccuracies. How can you avoid this risk?
A secure, cloud-based portal offers a single system of record for collecting and normalizing data and then pushing that data down to transactional systems. With a cloud-based collaboration portal, everyone from employees to suppliers has access to the information needed to make smart decisions that improve quality, keep the production line running, and identify opportunities to reduce costs.
A cloud-based portal boosts supplier collaboration, which in turn supports improved quality and creates an environment ripe for innovation.