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Is Excel enough for STO Management?

Excel vs Turnaround Software

16 July

Are you using Excel for turnaround and shutdown cost estimation and cost control? Or to put it differently, are you still facing challenges in improving the performance of your STOs? You are not alone.

Many organizations are struggling to unlock the performance improvement of turnarounds. This is mainly caused by assumptions or methods that are developed using the tools of yesterday.

To keep up with the pace in today’s world, organizations need to go with the flow of the current digital revolution. The leading companies have already started using integrated software solutions for shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages as they have assessed the value of implementing such a system.

In this article, we will focus on both the pros and cons of using Excel to illustrate the added value of using a software system for STO Management purposes.

Pros of using Excel

  • Commonly available for all working within a company environment.
  • It is flexible and works well together with exports from the planning and scheduling tools.
  • It can integrate with tools like SAP, hence versatile.
  • A valuable feature like VBA which gives a level of customization beyond what is typically available in MS office.
  • Familiar and easy to use interface for any kind of company structures.

Cons of using Excel

Let’s start with an example. You are using Excel to create a cost estimation for your STO. You have all your data in one sheet, and you create dependencies using intricate formulas and get all the right numbers. Sounds perfect.

But what are you going to do afterward when you have another cost estimation to calculate? Will you go to the same sheet and change all quantities and prices manually? Would you like it if your colleagues changed your formulas? Would you protect them so they can’t? How many hoops would you be willing to jump through to prepare your data for pivot tables or to create a graph? Now, this sounds a bit more complicated.


Other cons that you can face while working with Excel:

  • The information is sometimes not accurate or consistent because of the manual developing and handling of data.
  • Lack of control and security, especially if all the data is in one file.
  • When it’s time to generate reports, the end-user has to gather information from different sources, which in turn results in a complex process until it reaches the top decision-makers.
  • There is no standardized way to retrieve data across Excel; moreover, the complex formula and templates not only take longer time to be created but also could only be handled by skilled information technology experience.
  • Let’s be honest here, do you think Excel would be able to handle the agility of projects today when anything can change at any point of time, such as the scope of the project? You’re making Excel do something it could do, but it had not been designed with those parameters in mind.

10 reasons why you need a STO Management Software

Obviously, a dedicated software system has more to offer compared to Excel when it comes to matching the complete set of needs of a STO professional. Some of the main advantages:

1. Store your turnaround data from the executed and ongoing turnarounds in a database and re-use it for future STOs and/or routine work.
2. Create visuals and totals with the press of a button (all your ranges are dynamic)
3. State-of-the-art analysis tools to help you see the status of the turnaround
4. Easily adaptable to integrate with existing tools like SAP, Primavera, etc.
5. Create cross-section views of the estimate
6. Use Excel for input sheets then import it to the tool
7. Automate all your processes and provide real-time metrics
8. Store recommended practices in templates
9. Use benchmarking and analytics tools
10. Perform the STO tasks using the same tool and bring teams and knowledge together

What to Conclude

To improve the performance of Turnarounds and Shutdowns, organizations need to follow the shifting digital technology from end to end and be aware of the options available in the market. There is no time for yesterday’s technology in STO management. Make sure you have the right system in place.

About Cleopatra Enterprise

An integrated digital solution for more efficient turnarounds and projects. Over 20 years, Cleopatra Enterprise has been committed to ensuring that our client’s complete shutdowns, turnarounds, and projects within time and budget.

Cleopatra incorporates different disciplines of turnaround cost management such as Scope Management, Estimating/budgeting, Scheduling, Cost Control, Tendering, Benchmarking and more.

If you want to know more about the total turnaround management solution of Cleopatra Enterprise, Please contact our experts and don’t forget to subscribe for our newsletter by filling in the short form on the right side of the page.

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