Is Your Old MRP Software on Spreadsheet Life Support?

Posted by Paul Hughson on Thu, Aug 27, 2015

Spreadsheets were a 'must-have' for your manufacturing business to function. But now, to expand and run more efficiently, your business should be using modern MRP software.

describe the imageIt's easy to understand why so many firms still hang on to their old Excel spreadsheets, even though they should really have been scrapped years ago.

We all feel comfortable with things we like and know, whether it's that old pair of faded jeans, or those worn-out trainers which are barely fit-for-purpose.

However, while worn out clothes only impact on your image… worn out business tools impact on your company's bottom line.

Business impacts of outdated spreadsheets

It is estimated that 90% of spreadsheets with 150 rows or more contain errors. Yet suppliers and manufacturers still use spreadsheets to share critical product information.

What are the risks of outdated spreadsheet processes for your business?

  • Existing errors: Existing errors in your spreadsheets can multiply and spread to damage service, supply chain management and production profitability
  • Failure to update: Failure to update critical information effectively leads to a drop off in productivity and scalability.
  • Growing pains: As your business grows, so does your spreadsheet collection. As multiple spreadsheets try to become linked, each stage of growth increases the likelihood of errors.
  • Single / multiple points of failure: In all likelihood the spreadsheet your business currently depends upon was created by one person, one Excel whizz. This creates a single point of failure - what happens if that person leaves, retires or simply switches roles? The same risk applies if multiple spreadsheets were created by multiple people creating multiple points of failure.

Failing MRP systems must be replaced

Some companies went halfway, of course, introducing software and automation in some parts of their business, but keeping business critical information such as budgeting, forecasting and analysis on spreadsheets.

Failure to upgrade

Even those who did act initially may now face another big issue - those companies who invested in MRP software, but have failed to update their system for the requirements of today.

Given that the decision-makers most likely upgrade their phone, their ISP and other technology providers every year, surely they should also be upgrading their MRP software as a failure to do so can cause major problems inside a business.

Aligning MRP to wider business goals

What is more when implementing an MRP system some companies see it as purely software and fail to incorporate it into the goals of the wider business. In order for your business to see the benefits of a MRP system it has to be aligned with wider business processes.

There is a solution to these issues though, and it isn't complex

Define your goals and discuss them with MRP/ERP specialist suppliers to soon identify which new supplier can deliver the MRP software you need, and finally move you away from those out-dated spreadsheets.

Final advice

This final advice is true whether it is ERP / MRP or MRP II software that your business is thinking of implementing - whatever the aims of the system, you must choose a long-term partner and solution. To ensure your business doesn’t end up on spreadsheet life support again, ensure the vendor can meet the needs of your business now and the needs of your business in the future.


  • Reliance on spreadsheets increases the chances of supply chain breakdown.
  • Spreadsheets can suffer from single / multi point failures.
  • Choose an MRP system vendor who can meet your current and future business needs.

In order to move away from spreadsheets you need modern resource planning software - but which is more suited to your business?

Download our free eGuide now and discover more: Bespoke Manufacturing Software vs ERP: A Business Case Assessment

Bespoke Manufacturing Software vs ERP: A Business Case Assessment