March 12, 2005

Formulaic Thinking.

It's kinda funny to me. Now that I work for a company that actually builds things, that my skills from my previous employs don't seem to have atrophied all that much. You see., My roommate is still working for a retail store. He is quite an intelligent individual, which is why I like him. He's currently trying to make it into management at the store, and is trying very hard to show his worth to the powers that be. He started out unloading trucks, and he is now out on the sales floor taking care of the bike rack. This is one of the "special" area's of the store that is not controlled by the Inventory Management System.

The IMS is the computer-driven, autaomated stock ordering system that handles the major lifting of making sure that a store gets the product it needs in order to take care of the demand for the aforementioned sale item. Bicycle stock orders are handled manually, due to the nature of what they are. Since most companies are going to a system of "Real time delivery", most manufacturers are waiting until the order is placed before they produce their product. Due to the nature of the item in question, it takes approximately three weeks for a bike to be produced and delivered to the store. I think that the system is geared more towards a One Week delivery schedule. It can't handle the variance, so it must be done manually.

There's been a moratorium on manual orders at the store lately. It seems that the home office is bitching that the system doesn't work because too many people are circumventing it. Unfortunately, corporate believes that the system hasn't been able to prove itself due to manual orders, instead of recognizing the fact that the system is comprised of Bad Code, and can't react timely enough to respond to the current customer demand. (Computer's only do what they're told to do. If the parameters don't match the reality, it's not the fault of the the system, but of the person who programmed it.)

Over the last year, my roommate has been manually ordering bikes, and has been reacting to demand with a good degree of success, but the bosses don't want to recognize his value, and are following the poliocy handed down from corporate. Steven would like to state his case against the bosses to prove what he can (and did) do. He started out with MS powerpoint. Unfortuantely, it's a piece of software that I've not had a whole lot of dealing with. He wanted me to do a little foramtting of the slide he created. A few color changes was all he needed. After searching eight ways to Sunday, I could not find a way to do it. I asked him about the "Raw numbers", and he stated that he hadn't had a chance to look into them yet. I was touting the benefits of MS Excel the whole time.

I went to a fish fry down at the docks. All things were merry, and many family members were in attendance. "Home-made wine" was consumed, but not the "Pour it in your gas tank and gain 50 horsepower" type. Merly a few muscedine berries that were properly massaged into the correct liquid configuration. A bit sweet, but it went down well. I went back home, to collect myself.

Shortly after I arrived, Steven came into my living room with a minor question: "How much do you know about Excel?" My answer was a little cocky: "I used to be able to make it do a song and a dance for me." Well friends, I still can. He was asking for a percentage comparison of the year before last versus this last year, of bike sales on a weekly basis. All 52 weeks, plus a yearly summary. Sure, he had typed in all the raw data, but he couldn't figure out how to get the numbers. I went into the other room, typed in a formala in one cell, changed the format on it to a percentage, and drug it across. It took less than a minute to solve his delimma. Also, the numbers showed that, under his stewardship, sales had increased by a net of 20%.

I don't know what else to do for my friend. I hope that my formulaic thinking can help him prove his case. Kick their asses ,buddy. Goodness knows I've done it before.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at March 12, 2005 11:43 PM

Yeah! Once an analyst, always an analyst!

Oh, and if you want, email me the slide PDQ and I can do what ever he needs.

While I can also make excel sing and dance, well...what I do to powerpoint can't be put in writing. ;-)

Posted by: Tammi at March 13, 2005 10:03 AM

mmmm... software pr0n

Posted by: Harvey at March 13, 2005 01:50 PM

How are your Access skills??

Posted by: TNT at March 13, 2005 02:24 PM

Fair I guess, but I don't like to work in MS's interface. I HATE working in a gui. Show me the code on the back-end, and I can usually figure it out much faster.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at March 13, 2005 07:43 PM

Geeze it has been 10 years... but access use to have a really nice coding back-end to it. Visual basic with SQL commands. That many yeras ago I wrote a vb gui for people to input their 'numbers' and store it in Access. It was just for a handful of people and it worked great. But I haven't touched that stuff in 8 years, so it should be easier now. I would hope.

Posted by: vw bug at March 14, 2005 10:26 AM

personally I like Ms Access better then Excell. I work in both everyday and I find that Access is much more versatile.

Posted by: contagion at March 15, 2005 03:13 PM

Glad to hear you were able to help Steven out. You'll have to let me know how it goes. I can definitely vouch for Johnny-Oh's skills with Excel. I seem to recall him doing a weekly team statistic chart for an entire workplace (about 20 teams around 800 or so people total).

Posted by: neonangel at March 15, 2005 09:56 PM

Damn Neon, I'd completely forgotten about the team comparison. I can't believe that I came up with the concept of it, then did it, then showed it to the bossess. That thing made so MUCH work for me! Stupid manager, never volunteer ANYTHING.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at March 15, 2005 10:35 PM
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