Is it still efficient to keep track of your brand protection cases using Excel?
With cases of counterfeiting and fraud becoming more and more prevalent, particularly in large businesses, it is important that your brand is as protected as possible.
Technology is progressing all the time and this means that people trying to defraud you have more tools to hand. To counteract this, it is important that your business improves its capacity to protect itself. Therefore, it is vital that you keep track of your brand protection cases in the most efficient way possible.
Many companies still rely on Excel spreadsheets to do this, but is it enough now?
Why not Excel?
Whilst there’s nothing inherently wrong with Excel as a tool, unfortunately it leaves itself open to a variety of problems that could compromise your ability to efficiently keep track of your brand protection cases.
Firstly, Excel spreadsheets are vulnerable to fraud. They are incredibly easy to manipulate and these manipulations have already resulted in billion-dollar losses. The lack of controls in the setup of the spreadsheets means it’s easier to alter formulas, values or dependencies without noticing until it’s too late.
Another problem is that Excel spreadsheets are susceptible to human error. Should any member of staff enter a value incorrectly, it is highly possible that no one could notice and this could have huge repercussions. They are also difficult to troubleshoot or test, which could slow down operations. As a result of these problems, it proves to be obstructive to regulatory compliance.
Although it is a cheap and easy option for most businesses, it is often a tool that becomes personalised to the person who created it and therefore this is difficult to move on when your business does.
Benefits of moving away from Excel
Although the initial costs of setting up an alternative system may be off-putting, eventually the new system will pay for itself. Automated systems also mean that staffing costs are minimised.
These new systems ensure that less time is wasted on tasks like reconciling spreadsheets, if they have been changed in separate updates. This will make your working practice and brand protection more streamlined and accurate. You will also cut down on the amount of copy, pasting and manually inputting data, which again saves time and money.
Furthermore, you can access all your brand protection cases from different devices and apps. Gone are the days where people work solely from one desktop computer. Having new and improved software means that you can access your brand protection cases from your computer, tablet and mobile
Choosing your ERP
So, if you do decide to move away from spreadsheets, you need to choose the correct Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for your business. You can choose to invest in a customised option or ‘out of the box’ option depending on what it will be utilised for. You need to ensure that the option you choose is designed to suite your brand protection needs.
It is vital that you uncover what each software vendor offers, so you can make sure that you are offered the most efficient way to keep track of your brand protection cases.
What’s the next step?
As you can see, although there is still a place for Excel spreadsheets in the workplace, it is not always the most efficient way of working, especially when you are dealing with information and data as important as brand protection.
Moving over to a new system may have initial financial implications, but when weighing all the factors up, it is the smartest choice. Once the initial outlay is done, you have all the benefits of a system that ensures your work is less vulnerable to fraud and human error.