Why Spreadsheets are Killing Your Coffee Roasting Business

July 18, 2023

Spreadsheets are a useful tool for organizing data and processes within a startup or small coffee roastery. But, as your business grows—and if you’re subscribed to our content, it will grow—spreadsheets quickly take on a life of their own. 

Even with the best of intentions and calculations, spreadsheets ultimately lead to confusion, inefficiency, and unforeseen expenses at a coffee roastery.

How do we know? Because it happened to us! (And, our customers tell us it’s one of the reasons they began using RoasterTools)

Relying solely on spreadsheets to manage roasting production, order fulfillment, and coffee inventory only causes headaches along the way. There’s another option…

The Biggest Problem With Spreadsheets Is Us

The issue with using spreadsheets to manage roasting production, inventory, and orders isn’t the complex calculations or myriad of data pulled from third-party programs. It’s us!

As humans, we’re bound to make mistakes. On a busy day at the roastery, we might forget to add a new wholesale order to the production plan or fail to record a new green coffee on the inventory list. We may accidentally put a “1” instead of a “3” when recording inventory counts. Or, we might delete an important cell calculation without realizing it.

Spreadsheets rely on manual data entry to operate, meaning human error is inevitable. 

Yet, to achieve your growth goals, a coffee roastery needs production processes and internal operations to run like a well-oiled machine. If a spreadsheet is improperly updated (if at all), it throws off the entire system. 

Before you know it, you’re balancing a mountain of different spreadsheets, data, and processes, all to keep your roasting operations running. This means one little error can quickly topple the entire system.

One spreadsheet mistake can lead to a forgotten wholesale order, an ecommerce sale shipped to the wrong address, or an emergency call to your importing partners for last-minute green coffee needs—all of which cost you money. And now, that money can no longer be designated for business growth.

And, as your business grows, so does the amount of data a spreadsheet must hold. Over time, the sheer amount of information on a single spreadsheet becomes cumbersome. And, more often than not, these custom-created spreadsheets require the knowledge of a specific individual to operate.

But what happens when that one employee goes on vacation or gets sick? Or, if that individual is you, what happens when you need a day off? Do roasting processes come to a stop?

Back when we were growing our roastery in Wisconsin, this exact situation happened to us! The more we relied on spreadsheets to run our roastery, the more we relied on Jon, who created these documents and knew exactly how to use them without error. Remember, this was back before RoasterTools existed!

Spreadsheets are powerful tools, but are at the mercy of us busy humans. Basing your entire roastery on spreadsheets that require manual data entry is a major risk. 

Are you willing to risk your roastery’s growth on inefficient, manual spreadsheets?

Spreadsheets Aren’t Enough to Sustain Long-Term Growth

Think about what happens as your roastery grows.

  • New employees are added to the team
  • Internal production and fulfillment processes are created to address new challenges
  • More green coffee is contracted and added to the inventory count
  • Additional roasting and packaging supplies are purchased to meet customer demand
  • New sales channels are added to the lineup
  • Bigger and better wholesale opportunities arise

With all of this exciting activity happening at your roastery, do you want to halt that momentum by relying on spreadsheets that require manual data entry?

Depending on spreadsheets to run your growing roastery only opens the door for more human error. 

Wholesale spreadsheets aren’t updated in time, resulting in last-minute production roasting or missed orders.

Inventory levels are manually updated, leading to incorrect amounts or missing quantities.

Critical production tasks aren’t completed because someone got too busy and didn’t have time to update the spreadsheet.

Spreadsheets are powerful, but limited, business tools. Remember, spreadsheets rely on us to input wholesale orders or adjust inventory quantities. They are not updated automatically and are at the whim of the sole person who understands all of the calculations and functions created! 

The more your business grows, the more spreadsheets become a hurdle. Once your roastery starts roasting around 1,000+ pounds of coffee per week, spreadsheets can get in the way of your progress—especially if you’re relying on one or two employees who have in-depth knowledge on how to use them! 

Coffee roasters looking to scale their business cannot rely on spreadsheets to facilitate and sustain long-term growth goals.  

There’s a Better Solution: RoasterTools

There’s a reason RoasterTools exists: because we wanted a better solution to the spreadsheet madness happening at our roastery.

We wanted a tool that would help us:

  • Manage green and roasted coffee inventory
  • Plan roasting production for our café, wholesale, and retail orders
  • Seamlessly capture wholesale and ecommerce payments
  • Calculate demand and plan for upcoming orders

Yet, we couldn’t find a solution that did everything we wanted. So we created it!

With RoasterTools, roasting teams can sigh a breath of relief and say goodbye to manually intensive spreadsheets. 

No more inputting wholesale orders as they roll in.

No more manual inventory tracking.

No more relying on a single person’s knowledge to operate a spreadsheet.

RoasterTools takes the stress and guesswork out of running a coffee roastery. From wholesale production planning to capturing ecommerce payments (and getting them out the door), our all-in-one platform helps roasters scale their business, eliminate human errors, and save money along the way.

Best of all, the RoasterTools interface is user-friendly and doesn’t require specific knowledge of roasting or wholesale calculations—meaning it’ll keep you roastery on track, no matter who’s working that day!

With RoasterTools, your roastery can:

  • Streamline wholesale ordering, production, and fulfillment tasks — Stop taking wholesale orders via texts, phone calls, and emails. With RoasterTools, your wholesale clients can place an order anytime via the user-friendly online portal that’s fully integrated with the RoasterTools production planning dashboard. No more spreadsheets, just a fully automated wholesale system!
  • Import and manage eCommerce orders — Think of all the valuable time you’re wasting inputting each eCommerce order manually into a spreadsheet. Instead, connect your online store to RoasterTools and watch the tool plan your production and manage eCommerce tasks for you. Easy, simple, and most importantly, profitable.
  • Manage green and roasted coffee inventory — Are you using two spreadsheets to manage and monitor green and roasted coffee inventory levels? Not anymore! The RoasterTools inventory management tool helps you easily track green, roasted, and packaged coffee inventory, so you always know what’s on hand.
  • Calculate demand — No more guesswork or relying on spreadsheets to tell you how much to roast each week. RoasterTools automated demand calculations help you understand how much to roast, from blends to single origin lots. 
  • Plan roasting production — From roasting to fulfillment, the Production Planning tool helps you streamline all production processes with checklists, progress tracking, Auto Plan capabilities, and more.

Best of all, these features communicate with one another for a completely cohesive production experience. No more copy and pasting data from one spreadsheet to another or hoping that your production crew remembered to update the documents in time. 

It’s Time to Ditch the Spreadsheets and Grow Your Roastery

If you’ve been waiting for a sign, here it is:

Kick the spreadsheets to the curb and opt for the all-in-one business solution for coffee roasters looking to grow.

Say goodbye to annoying manual data entry (not to mention the costly mistakes) and hello to an efficient, growing, and profitable roastery. Sign up for a RoasterTools demo today to see our solutions in action!

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Jon French of Black Oak Coffee Roasters ❤️RoasterTools
"The wholesale portal is great. It works really well and it's super simple."️
Using RoasterTools, Jon French estimates saving $1,000 per month at Black Oak Coffee Roasters while supercharging his team for growth☕️+ 💻= 🚀
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Jon French of Black Oak Coffee Roasters ❤️RoasterTools
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