The assignment was not an accident. Before being redeployed to Benin brewery, I had been involved in "validating" the numerous complex formulas in the custom Lotus 1θι spreadsheet application during its development. The author _ Richard Chambers _ was at the time in charge(as Training Coordinator) of training new entrants, and upon discovering my keen interest in learning, often gave me his laptop to "proof" formulas, links etc. It was he who had told his counterpart in Benin brewery(Joe Sheehy) that I could help out with a problem they were having using the application. And I did resolve the problem _ resulting in my subsequently becoming responsible for the reports collation using the application.
At times, they would prefer to click a button that says "Print ABC", or "Print XYZ" report, instead of having to crawl all over the huge spreadsheet(and get "lost" every now and then), to highlight and print different report pages. Using a custom built data entry form to make data entries into 14 different cells in different parts of a table(at the same time/with one click) would, for them, be "heaven" compared to making the entries one at a time.
In effect what I am saying is that companies which get the most value from spreadsheet automation(including using it to avoid expenditure on less adaptable commercial off the shelf applications) will be those which empower their users to routinely generate "in house" solutions. In such companies, you will find that only when the requirement becomes considerably specialised or complex, does the IT department get called upon to develop or purchase software solutions for user departments or functions with significant data recording and analysis needs.
For instance if a company had five drink brands in the market but notices that Brand A, which has a profit margin of at least twice the others is in greatest demand, they could (a) focus production efforts on that brand, so that more bottles go out to trade (b) Apply Best Practice/Continuous Improvement initiatives that would result in lower costs of producing each bottle of Brand A so that even though the market price remains fixed, the company is able to earn increasing profit margins per bottle.
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