Custom spreadsheet solutions which survive long after the developer has "left the scene", are often those which users accept because they discover it _ among other benefits _ makes their work quicker and easier to do. That is why the best person to develop such solutions tend to be one who works in that area, and is therefore familiar with the way the manual system operates. S/he would have an "insider's" perspective of the best way to introduce automation other users will readily adopt _ even as it solves the identified problem(s).
Spreadsheet Tracking As A Crucial Element For Business Development. There are ways you can use spreadsheets to record and track materials usages/stocks, product sales, and other business data such that discrepancies will be easily detected when they do occur. The use of spreadsheets when properly done, can help to uncover the cause(s) of "losses" in virtually any aspect of a business operation.
The claims I make above are NOT exaggerated. They are in fact based on my personal experiences doing the foregoing (a). As an manager in the challenging, fast_paced manufacturing work environment of a corporate multinational (b). As a solutions developer for individuals and businesses who use MS Excel for their work.
Deciding What Spreadsheet Application To Use. This would ultimately be up to you. The big "fight" has always been between Lotus 1θι and Microsoft Excel. I started out with Lotus 1θι back in 1993 and learnt Lotus Macros programming(via self_tutoring). I eventually used this skill to develop _ in my free time _ various custom spreadsheet solutions(that were formally adopted for use in the departments I worked in as a brewer/manager in Guinness), before switching to Microsoft Excel in 2001. Subsequently, I developed my Excel Visual Basic spreadsheet programming skills (also via self_tutoring), because the company had chosen to adopt MS Office during the roll over to year 2000.