Adak Farm System - Farm Produce Manager

Spreadsheet vs Farm Produce Manager Comparison

Spreadsheet vs. Farm Produce Manager Comparison

As a Development Platform, Relative to Market and Vegetable Farming Software Requirements

Comparison Points

Spreadsheet

Farm Produce Manager

Formulas Vulnerable to unintended editing, copying or incorrect references. Standard formulas, tested and not editable.
Data Entry Editing Cumbersome, almost never done. Built in type, range and logic edits reduce data entry errors.
Sorting Requires “correct data range” and sort keys to be defined. Automatically done as part of transaction processing or report and list generation.
Report Generation Depending on the report, select relevant data range, copy to another area, sort, filter, add title & date, check to be sure not too wide, adjust columns as necessary, then print. Select report, click button and report is automatically printed.
Detailed Record Keeping Not designed to process transactions. Blank column on printed spreadsheet. Record plantings and harvests with time, quantity and other details. System processes detail and summary reports.
Capture Cost Details Not designed to process transactions. Use other spreadsheets to capture data or a bookkeeping system. Captures a lot of this data when record keeping. Can capture additional details to produce crop costing reports.
Programming Need to learn shortcut keys to save time making sheet updates, formatting data and producing reports. Programing done, so you spend your time entering data and using information to run your business.
Redundant Data Same data often maintained is separate locations, which takes times and can cause inconsistent reports or worse, the use of out-of-date data. Relational database allow single place for data that is used in many screens, forms and reports.
Daily Operations Recommendation is typically to update with only key details and use primarily for annual crop planning. Use daily to distribute up-to-date schedules, collect field data and make operating decisions.
Scalability Maintenance becomes more burdensome with more crops and plantings. Adding new functions is particularly difficult. Number of crops and plantings has little impact on response time or effort to maintain. New capabilities and functions can easily be added.
Flexibility Built to solve specific problem. After considerable development, often resembling the Maginot Line. Has flexibility built-in. For example, schedule forward, backward or from field start. Change or add a new scheduling algorithm, if needed.
Gantt Charts Time-scaled charts are not readily available. Several provided to give more graphic view of crops and fields.
Creativity Spreadsheets allow for much creativity. Export data to spreadsheets for custom and ad-hoc reports or further analysis.
Data Security Back up and save off-site or risk losing data. Data backed-up professionally, minimal risk.
Education Opportunity Farmers and educators teach crop planning with spreadsheets, but spend inordinate amount of time with programming details and “shortcuts.” Can provide same basic farming education with FPM, but spend more time talking about how to develop and use the information to improve operations.
Time Significant investment in one-time crop plan and related schedules. Typically less than half the time to develop a new crop schedule, after becoming familiar with the system. After schedule is updated the data is used for task lists and record keeping, as well as for CSA and resource management.

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Read full Discussion of this issue to learn why Farm Produce Manager is better than a spreadsheet.