For years, Excel spreadsheets have been the go-to tool for many consumer goods businesses for customer planning and forecasting. As the consumer goods market becomes more complicated and dynamic, the limitations of using Excel are becoming increasingly evident.
Excel spreadsheets can be prone to errors and inaccuracies, which can have significant consequences for forecasting success. Additionally, Excel lacks the visibility and analytics capabilities that Consumer goods companies need to make informed decisions about sales strategies, production planning, and inventory levels. Siloed departments, ongoing forecast accuracy issues, and problems with tracking are also common challenges that companies face when using Excel for forecasting.
As such, the days of relying solely on Excel as a forecasting tool are over, and companies in the consumer goods industry must explore more comprehensive solutions to stay competitive. In this blog, we will discuss why the consumer goods industry needs to shift away from Excel spreadsheets and towards more sophisticated solutions, such as Salesforce Customer Planning & Forecasting (Salesforce CPF), to drive growth and success.
Pain Points of Excel Spreadsheet Planning & Forecasting
Excel is a powerful tool for managing and analyzing data, and it has been widely used for planning and forecasting for many years. As the market and business environment become more complicated, Excel may not be the best tool for planning and forecasting for several reasons:
Limited scalability: Excel has limitations in terms of handling large data sets, complex calculations, and multiple scenarios. As businesses grow and become more complex, Excel can’t keep up with the demands of planning and forecasting.
Lack of collaboration: Excel files are typically stored on local computers or shared drives, making it difficult for multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously. This can lead to version control issues and errors in data entry, which can impact the accuracy of the forecasts.
Difficulty in data integration: Excel can import and export data from various sources, but it may not be able to handle data from different systems or sources with different formats. This can make it difficult to integrate data from multiple sources and can impact the accuracy of the forecasts.
Limited automation: Excel requires manual input and updating of data, formulas, and charts. This can be time-consuming and can lead to errors if not managed carefully. In contrast, modern planning and forecasting tools have built-in automation capabilities that can reduce manual effort and improve accuracy.
Lack of advanced analytics: Excel has limitations regarding advanced analytics capabilities, such as machine learning and predictive modeling. These techniques are becoming increasingly important in forecasting and planning, particularly in today’s market, where businesses must adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
Lack of collaboration on new Products: Excel does not support collaboration with sales staff and buyers related to new item introduction into the forecast. Having to manage this process with alternative solutions tends to result in manual updates to forecasts that are prone to user errors and inaccurate forecasts.
Streamlining Forecasting and Planning with Salesforce CPF
Salesforce CPF is an advanced solution that enables consumer goods companies to move beyond Excel spreadsheets and achieve accurate forecasting and planning. Salesforce CPF can help companies leverage real-time data to make informed decisions about inventory levels, production planning, and sales strategies. It offers a range of benefits, including improved accuracy, access to real-time data from across the organization, streamlined workflows, better collaboration, and increased efficiency.
With Salesforce CPF, companies can monitor progress against key performance indicators, plan for future sales and inventory needs, and adjust their strategies based on historical data and trends. Overall, Salesforce CPF is a powerful tool that can help consumer goods companies stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly complex and competitive market.
Learn More about Salesforce CPF
In summary, while Excel is a powerful tool for data management and analysis, it may not be the best option for planning and forecasting in today’s market due to its limitations in scalability, collaboration, data integration, automation, and advanced analytics. As such, businesses may need to consider a more modern planning and forecasting tool, such as Salesforce CPF, that can better support their needs in today’s market. Learn more about Salesforce CPF.
About Corrao Group
As everyday Salesforce power users, Corrao Group understands how flexible the Salesforce platform is to support every business department. Since 2002, we have been helping B2B organizations of all sizes optimize their business processes with Salesforce and their third-party applications. We’ve worked with nearly 1,100+ customers, implementing, customizing, and optimizing over 2,150+ Salesforce projects. We are proud to be on the Consumer Goods Cloud Partner Advisory Board and Salesforce Managed Service Board, in addition to being the exclusive US launch partner of the Salesforce Trade Promotion Management (TPM) Pilot. If you want to learn more about how Corrao Group can help your company, read our reviews on G2!