The Hidden Costs of Running Your Recycling Business With Spreadsheets

January 2023

6 min

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Using antiquated data documentation processes in your operation may be costing you in a few different ways. Today's software systems are helping companies step into the future with more cost-effective and easy-to-use data tracking. 

From slowing your workers' efficiency to interfering with important decision-making, using traditional spreadsheets can have significant negative influences on your overall operation. What are the hidden costs of spreadsheets for your recycling business? Here are five negative outcomes of using spreadsheets.

1. Expensive Data Errors

The following are some of the key data points recycling businesses must record and track to keep operations running smoothly:

  • Weights
  • Grades
  • Prices
  • Any logistics references

Back-office teams are often responsible for inputting these figures multiple times. The manual approach to data entry increases the chances of errors, especially because traditional spreadsheets do not offer a foolproof means of validating the information.

Data errors can lead to costly consequences for your operation. Explore the ways these mistakes can impact important processes for recycling companies:

  • Critical decision-making: If your business's data is incorrect, your team cannot make accurate or insightful decisions for the future. 
  • Customer service: Errors slow efforts to comb through and retrieve important figures for your clients, causing your customer service efforts to become frustrating and inefficient.
  • Price and weight discrepancies: Whenever any company experiences price disparities, it is a bad reflection of its business processes. Overlooked discrepancies can have a domino effect on the rest of your operations.

When you turn to software solutions for recycling businesses that utilize the latest technologies, your operation can effectively validate its data and achieve greater accuracy.

2. Data Sharing Issues

Sharing spreadsheets is easy and straightforward when working with a small group of people. As your operation grows and you introduce more team members who need the same access to these files, sharing becomes more complicated and error-prone.

When utilizing traditional spreadsheets, you may need to create duplicates for all those who need access to the information for their jobs. Your team must monitor and track all copies and any updates and edits made to the files. The process of coordinating data can quickly become a headache for back-office teams.

Complications are still present even if your team utilizes co-authoring capabilities on digital spreadsheets. Some of these challenges may include:

  • Poor audit trail: When your workers must deal with multiple copies, it is not easy to manage an accurate and comprehensive audit trail.
  • Overwriting changes: If two people make changes to a file at once, they risk overwriting each other's work. The same problem can arise when there are multiple versions of the same file in circulation around the office.
  • Delayed updates: As you co-author edits on a file or make changes to a duplicate copy, the updates may not be instantaneous or visible to other team members.

Integrated software can take care of these problems with data sharing. The technology makes it easy to access files and retrieve important data without any confusion. The system tracks and manages your files to ensure you always have an accurate picture of what is going on.


3. Reduced Productivity

When recycling businesses utilize traditional spreadsheets for tracking, workers must enter the same data across multiple documents, including:

  • Spreadsheet files
  • Shipping documentation
  • Settlement statements 
  • Accounting systems

Antiquated data input processes are highly repetitive and involve recording the same figures in many different places. This process often wastes time and money, even if your recycling operation is small. As your business grows and your customer base expands, the volume of your data will also increase.

One of the greatest disadvantages of working with traditional spreadsheets is slow data retrieval. Locating and sharing information quickly can be a significant struggle, negatively influencing your operation's overall productivity. 

Introducing automation is among the best ways your company can save time and money on recording and retrieving important data. Software solutions make it easy to boost productivity by eliminating pesky, repetitive tasks and keeping all company data highly organized, so it is effortless to find.

4. Staff Dependencies

Another hidden cost of running your recycling business with spreadsheets is staff dependencies. 

As your operation grows, your volume of data does, too. Handling the extra work with traditional spreadsheets will likely cause major growing pains. If you need more workers to handle the growing volume of data, you may be in for another challenge.

Over the past few years, historic ongoing labor shortages have made it difficult for some companies to stay up and running with enough personnel. To make matters more complicated, antiquated spreadsheets also require the help of a skilled member of your staff to maintain these files and create reports.

Integrated software is a great alternative solution to spreadsheets. Your business will not be dependent on the skills of a few team members, and your files can scale with your operations seamlessly.

5. Difficulty Generating Reports

The process of generating accurate reports for your recycling operation can be time-consuming if your team utilizes standard spreadsheets. From start to finish, gathering and analyzing your data can take hours and even days to complete. While some organizations choose to build macros for automating some of the tasks associated with creating reports, complications with these systems often require additional time or the help of an expert.

By opting for integrated business software, your company can keep its data logically organized, which allows for the easiest retrieval process. Your employees can find important data from your files more efficiently, so they spend less time hunting down figures. These tools may also allow your team to streamline the creation of on-demand reports, a capability that is very challenging with traditional spreadsheets.


Reach out to Paradigm Software, L.L.C.TM to Request a Demo

If you are searching for a quality recycling industry software solution, turn to Paradigm Software, L.L.C.TM For more than 30 years, we have helped recycling operations maximize efficiency.

Our state-of-the-art software solutions are available with the latest technology. From invoicing to regulatory reporting, our platform can take your recycling business to the next level. We are committed to offering excellent customer service and helping your business realize a quick return on investment. 

Request a demo to learn more about our weighing and routing solutions.


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