Why your spreadsheet sucks for scheduling

Aug 3, 2011 | Business

We’ve talked to hundreds of countertop shops that use Excel for scheduling. It’s a decent way to keep track of your templates, installs, and even stone fabrication. Usually fabricators move to spreadsheets when they’re sick of whiteboards and file folders, but even excel doesn’t fix everything in your schedule…

Yes, it’s vastly better than not using a computer at all, but it still has major problems when it comes to scheduling… problems that you probably never even considered.

  1. More than one user? Excel is okay when there’s a single person who’s in charge of the schedule. When two people need to make changes, it gets more difficult – you can’t even have lots of folks looking at the schedule at once without jumping through hoops.
  2. Too many columns? When you first start organizing your jobs with a spreadsheet you keep it simple – customer name, date, color, edge profile. But over time, something happens. You keep adding columns. Which truck are you using? Is it a solid surface or granite job? How many square feet? Eventually you run out of columns that you can look at and manage in a useful way.
  3. History? How would you know if your customer reschedules that install from Thursday to Friday? There’s not a good way to see when a job changed. And once there’s more than one person making the changes, it sure would be nice to know who is changing things, too.
  4. Pictures, CAD drawings, faxes? Excel is good for text, numbers, and drop-down lists, but countertop jobs have more detail that’s not easy to write down. If you have pictures, drawings, or other paper with a customer’s signature, how do you keep track of those and the details of the job?
  5. All job info in one place? If a customer calls and wants to know the status of their job, your spreadsheet doesn’t have all of the information. This means entering some details at least twice, and having the chance of an expensive mistake.

If you’re using a spreadsheet to manage your countertop shop, and you’re running into any of these problems – let us know, we can help.

Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. JobTracker is scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a free place to buy and sell granite remnants with fabricators near you.