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Data Transfer: From Spreadsheets to an ERP System

Spreadsheets

When your shop goes from using spreadsheets to an ERP system, there’s always information that needs to be transferred. However, data transfers take time and money. It’s easy to go to either extreme, wanting to transfer every piece of data over or not wanting to transfer anything. The best option is often between the two, although it varies with each shop. When transferring your data, there are four important categories to consider: accounting information, Bills of Materials (BOMs), historical data, and current information.

Accounting Information

When considering accounting, there can be a belief that every transaction has to come over. After all, you might need it later, right? While it’s possible to bring over every transaction that your shop has ever done, this often isn’t the best use of resources. Start with the big picture information and important details. For example, you’ll probably want to compare year to date for this year and last year, so you’ll need those numbers. On a smaller scale, anything that’s unpaid will need to come over. This includes anything that’s still open from accounts payable and accounts receivable. Anything else will have to be decided based on whether or not your shop will use those numbers later.

Bills of Materials

The Bill of Materials can be a little trickier than any other section. For instance, if your shop has many BOMs that you that you’ll likely use again, then it’s best to simply bring them over. For any one-off jobs, you are probably safe in not bringing those BOMs over to your new system. The nuance comes in when you don’t have an overwhelming number of BOMs to transfer. It could be helpful for your employees to put those BOMs in the system themselves so they understand how to do it, and then double-check their work because they will know what the new BOMs should look like. However, you could choose to transfer the BOMs instead of inputting them manually and go over them when training employees on the new system.

Historical Data

Historical Data can range from vendors to customers. You will need to transfer any vendors or customers you're currently working with to your new ERP system. The question comes up with any customers or vendors you’ve worked with in the past, but haven’t worked with in a while. If you don’t think your shop will work with them again, or if you know they’ve gone out of business, then it’s safe to leave them off the transfer. If you haven’t worked with them in a while, then you have to decide if it’s worth it to bring their data over.

Current Information

For the most part, this is anything your shop is working with still. This will include things like open work orders, Works in Progress (WIPs), open sales, and inventory in both finished goods and raw materials. The accounting department will likely already be transferring any open sales or bills into your new ERP system. You will need to be sure that any WIPs are transferred over at the correct step to be sure that the job resumes at the right spot. In short, anything that your shop will use in the near future needs to be transferred to the new ERP system.

By considering your shop’s accounting information, Bills of Materials, historical data, and current information, you can make sure all the necessary information is transferred from your shop’s spreadsheets into the new ERP system. Finding the balance between too much information and not enough can be a thin line to walk, but with enough preparation, it can be manageable. When in doubt, you can always ask your consultant. They’ve done many data transfers before and they’ll have an idea about what shops actually use in their new system or wish they’d brought over. Looking to find out more about data transfer? Contact our sales department!

About the Author

ECI Staff Contributors love to share their insights and expertise on a variety of topics including sales, marketing, cloud, ERP, and SMB development as well as on product specific education. With offices throughout the United States, Mexico, England, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, more than 40 employees contribute to blog on a regular basis.