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).
How A Well Known Corporate Multinational Used Spreadsheet Tracking/Automation To Repeatedly Cut Spending _ And Increase Profits. During my graduate training(while in paid employment), I was redeployed from Guinness Nigeria Plc's corporate headquarters training office(in Lagos) to the Benin brewery training department (in Edo state), where I was assigned the _ additional _ job of using a custom Lotus macros driven Variable Cost Analysis spreadsheet application to generate brewery reports for dispatch to headquarters.
1. The Pareto Principle _ Using spreadsheet tracking, you can easily apply the Pareto principle in deciding which of your income sources and expense channels(i.e. products and services sales) to focus on in order to maximize profits. Considering that you are most likely to use the same marketing/sales resources to serve your customers, it only follows that if you focus on your biggest margin selling products/services, you will get increased profits at more or less the same cost.
Variable Costs Control/Reduction was a strategy that worked extremely well for the company. Most memorable for me as a brewer, was the manner in which huge monetary savings/profit gains were made by successfully implementing variable cost reduction initiatives. For instance, a brewing ingredient switch was made to a more readily available local alternative which was many times cheaper, resulting in phenomenal savings and progressively increasing profit earnings even though the price of beer produced was not raised. This practice was routinely applied across the brewing and packaging processes in line with a well thought out plan.