Top 5 Reasons Not To Use Spreadsheets To Track Frontline Operations

Michal Perconte

May 24, 2021
track frontline operations

Let’s be honest. Frontline workers are the face and cornerstone of any business. And it’s essential to track progress and enforce standard ways of working.

But how you do it can have a significant impact on your bottom line. According to a study by Forrester Consulting, despite exposing themselves to reputational and financial risks, many companies still rely on spreadsheets to track frontline operations. And frontline workers are aware of the risks.

In the study, about 30% of employees interviewed admitted that their management doesn’t recognize the risk. Industry experts warn that businesses who don’t find better alternatives to spreadsheets risk wasting time and money, losing employees, and giving their competition an easy time to beat them. Wondering why? Read on.

track frontline operations

Spreadsheets Are Prone To Errors

Spreadsheets may have revolutionized the world of business, but they’re rampant with errors. One study from the University of Hawaii shows that over 80% of spreadsheets have some error.

With all the rows, columns, and cells, it can be an uphill task to track and manage all the data. Add formulas into that mix, and you have the perfect recipe for more errors.

While you may recover from minor errors, you may not be so lucky if you ever make a million dollar worth of decisions based on inaccurate data. 

It’s not a question of if, but when.

In 2013 an error in JP Morgan’s spreadsheet forced the bank to declare $6 billion in losses. The errors emanated from a faulty equation and copy-paste mistakes.

Workplace Collaboration Is Tricky

Generally, spreadsheets collect and compile data from other reports. This implies that departments have to provide reports regularly for someone to gather the information.

Apart from taking needless hours, this process hinders real-time reporting. For instance, if your IT team takes 1 to 2 weeks to compile these reports, you may not make critical business decisions in real-time. When you sit down to study, analyze and discuss, all your data points could already be invalid.

Steep Learning Curve

The average cost of hiring a new employee is about $4,000 above salary, according to a U.C. Berkeley study. But that figure can quickly rise to 60% of their annual salary when replacing highly skilled employees.

Many people have a general understanding of spreadsheets. To use it for high-level tasks, your employees must know how to create and execute complex formulas. Learning and mastering these formulas is not a walk in the park.

Training new employees are already costly, and the skills gap in frontline operations is real. Add in how to use spreadsheets, and that figure can easily spiral out of control. The steep learning curve coupled with other inefficiencies can easily hurt your employee turnover rate.

Difficult To Find Data

Employees waste many hours every day looking for information. And it’s easy to see why.

Businesses collect data every day and silo it into spreadsheets in various reports, hard drives, and files. This makes accessibility a nightmare for employees who need the information to make informed decisions.

As a result, many are left to rely on their ‘guts’ – a strategy that can lead to real unintended consequences.

Key Takeaways

Spreadsheets are becoming more and more outdated. And businesses that switch to better solutions now are more likely to gain a competitive advantage. We want you to be one of them.

By using TrustPlace, you’re choosing to empower frontline workers and make your company more efficient, transparent, attractive, and competitive. Our mobile/tablet experience makes information accessible to the highly mobile frontline workforce and easily accessible for managers. Contact us to speak with one of our friendly industry experts or request a free demo.

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