Manufacturing Management Using Excel: Still Effective?

In the era of digital technology, manufacturing management using Excel – a long-familiar tool – is gradually raising many questions about efficiency. Can Excel still meet the growing needs of businesses or is it time for a change? This article will help you analyze in depth the advantages and disadvantages of using Excel in manufacturing management, thereby providing an assessment of its effectiveness in the current context.

First of all, let’s take a look at the outstanding advantages of Excel:

  1. Affordable price

One of the main reasons why companies today use Excel is its low cost. Besides, Excel is often pre-installed when purchasing a computer and does not incur costs during use.

  1. Easy to use and train

Most people these days have some experience using Excel. That means saving time and money on training employees to get a basic grasp of the system.

Quản Lý Sản Xuất Bằng Excel: Vẫn Còn Có Hiệu Quả?
Quản Lý Sản Xuất Bằng Excel: Vẫn Còn Có Hiệu Quả?
  1. Diverse user manuals and Excel templates

Excel’s documentation system is popular on the internet, users can find instructions from basic to advanced, helping them use Excel more fluently. Additionally, Excel templates for different types of work in business management such as warehouse management, manufacturing management, and human resources management are often free and available on Microsoft’s website or from external sources. This helps small businesses save time and effort when creating necessary reports and management charts.

=> With the above advantages, Excel can meet the management needs of self-employed individuals and small businesses with about 1-10 employees and simple workflows. It helps maintain organization and control just enough in the manufacturing process.

So what happens when the business scale grows? Is Excel still suitable for use now?

With more than 15 years of experience implementing manufacturing management software for large-scale businesses across the country, we have come up with some problems encountered when using Excel to manage production as follows.

  1. Data is inconsistent across departments

When using different Excel files for management, departments in the business are often inconsistent in using data sets (such as supplier code, product code, material code, customer code, etc…). As a result, having to match data between Excel files becomes complicated and time-consuming, causing significant waste in the management process.

  1. Human error

Manually entering data when using Excel is prone to human error. With large amounts of data being entered into the system, as is the case with production planning, initially small errors can accumulate, turning into major data quality risks, causing loss of trust and unwanted consequences for businesses.

  1. Data entry takes time

When having to enter data manually, employees have to spend a lot of time and effort to complete the job, especially when processing large amounts of information. This time can increase if data must be checked and corrected, which not only reduces work efficiency but also creates great pressure and affects employee morale.

Quản Lý Sản Xuất Bằng Excel: Vẫn Còn Có Hiệu Quả?
  1. Data security

Another disadvantage of Excel is the issue of data security. In some cases, when data is stored and shared via Excel files, there is a risk of loss or leakage of important information. Excel does not provide strong authorization tools to control access and modification of data, which leads to the risk that unauthorized people can access and modify information easily. This is especially important in a team environment, where one person working on an Excel spreadsheet could accidentally or intentionally cause data problems, or even lose important data.

  1. Data is not updated in real-time

When information is entered into Excel, it often has to be updated manually, is not updated in real-time, and can take a significant amount of time to synchronize and reflect data to departments within the business. This results in data that does not accurately reflect the current state of the business and can cause ambiguity or inaccuracy in the decision-making process.

  1. Great influence on business expansion

The larger the company, the more documents there are. Managing large amounts of data and a larger scale in Excel can cause performance and processing issues. Data entry will become a full-time job and the risk of data errors is increasing.

For example: Regarding purchase order management, the manufacturing management department makes a purchasing plan and sends an Excel file to the purchasing department including the Vietnamese name of the materials code, quantity to be purchased, delivery time, etc. The purchasing department manages purchasing data such as the English name of materials code, supplier code, quantity to buy, and delivery time… When sending orders to suppliers, the purchasing department is based on the Excel file sent by the manufacturing management department to create orders which leads to a lot of time spent comparing and easily confusing materials codes and quantities to buy, affecting production plans.

In general, the above issues have raised difficulties and challenges for businesses that want to apply Excel in management activities, especially in the current era of accelerating digital transformation.


In short, Excel is only suitable for individual households and small businesses with about 10-50 employees and a simple working process. However, for larger-scale businesses with lots of data and complicated operations, using Excel will be extremely difficult and time-consuming, causing problems in performance and processing ability when the business expands. Therefore, the use of Excel for manufacturing management activities in businesses needs to be carefully considered. To ensure management efficiency and information security, businesses should aim for professional manufacturing management solutions that better meet the needs of big data management, support effective collaboration, and ensure security.