If you’re one of those auto manufacturers who’s using ad hoc, spreadsheet-based collaboration, you’re not alone. 7 out of 10 midsize companies use desktop spreadsheets for a range of business planning processes, according to a survey conducted by Ventana Research. Yet nearly half (48%) of those surveyed admit that spreadsheets make it difficult to manage business processes.

If your organization is still emailing spreadsheets back and forth with suppliers and staffers, it’s time to stop. You’re opening yourself up to more risk than benefit.

With unstructured collaboration processes, like shared desktop spreadsheets, you can never be sure that you’re working from the latest, most accurate information. Spreadsheets are outdated almost as soon as they’re saved and emailed. All it takes is one person to make a change, or reverse a number, and the information you’re relying on is useless—or even worse, so inaccurate that you wind up making truly flawed business decisions.

Maybe you’ve figured out some way to tame the version control problem, and your team is super-careful about double checking their inputs.  That doesn’t make those spreadsheets any easier to use or analyze.  Ventana reports that 92% of manufacturing companies are using spreadsheets regularly as a means of sharing business data. Yet, this leads to analytics that take longer to generate and are less accurate.

You can’t count on being able to cleanly import information from a spreadsheet into your ERP system, purchasing system, or quality management system. The formatting won’t match up and someone will need to perform hours of manual data manipulation to normalize that spreadsheet data and make it usable and useful.

If that information isn’t easily usable, what’s the point of gathering it? You can’t rely on it for proof that your suppliers are meeting quality standards, or to document your processes for IATF 16949:2016 certification.

An unstructured approach to collaboration is an inefficient, inaccurate recipe for disaster.

How can you avoid this risk? By implementing a cloud-based portal to create a single system of record for collecting and normalizing data and then pushing that data down to transactional systems. With a cloud-based collaboration portal, everyone—from your employees to your suppliers—has access to the information they need to make smart decisions that improve quality, keep the production line running, and identify opportunities to reduce costs.

With a cloud-based portal in place, you can collaborate more effectively with your parts suppliers, improve quality, and create an environment that’s ripe for innovation.

Makes your spreadsheets and unstructured processes look especially weak, doesn’t it?

Learn more by reading “Mitigate Supply Chain Risk by Mastering Collaboration.”