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workbook. Ram has serious misgivings about her analytical approach. It does not,
in his opinion, capture the substantial uncertainty of her A Very Uncertain Outcome
problem. Although there are many possible avenues for improvement, it is impor-
tant to provide Julia with rapid and actionable feedback; she has a deadline that
must be met for the presentation of her analytical findings. His recommendations
are organized in terms of the 5 best practices (P1
=
practice 1, etc):
1.6.3 Julia’s New and Improved Workbook
Julia’s initial reaction to Ram’s critique is a bit guarded. She wonders what added
value will result from applying the best practices to workbook and how the sophis-
ticated analysis that Ram is suggesting will help the client’s decision making. More
importantly, she also wonders if she is capable of making the changes. Yet, she
understands that the client is quite interested in the results of the analysis, and any-
thing she can do to improve her ability to provide insight to this problem and, of
course, sell future consulting services are worth considering carefully. With Ram’s
critique in mind, she begins the process of rehabilitating the spreadsheet she has
constructed by concentrating on three issues: reconsideration of the overall analysis
to provide greater insight of the uncertainty, structuring and organizing the analysis
within the new multi-worksheet structure, and incorporating the 5 best practices to
improve spreadsheet functionality.
In reconsidering the analysis, Julia agrees that a single-point estimate of the P/L
statement is severely limited in its potential to provide Mid-Atlantic Foods with a
broad view of the uncertainty associated with the extension of the product line. A
risk profile , a distribution of the net income outcomes associated with the uncertain
values of volume, price, and expenses, is a far more useful tool for this purpose.
Thus, to create a risk profile it will be necessary to perform the following:
1. place important input data on a single worksheet that can be referenced (“ Brain ”)
2. simulate the possible P/L outcomes on a single worksheet (“ Analysis ”) by
randomly selecting values of uncertain factors
3. repeat the process numerous times––100 (an arbitrary choice in this example)
4. collect the data on a separate worksheet (“ Data Collection Area ”)
5. present the data in a graphical format on another wor ksheet (“Graph-Risk
Profile ”)
This suggests three worksheets associated with the analysis (“ Analysis ”, “ Data
Collection Area ”, and “ Graph-Risk Profile ”). If we consider the additional work-
sheet for the location of important parameter values (“ Brain ”) and a location from
which the user can navigate the multiple worksheets (“ Table of Contents ”), we are
now up to a total of five worksheets. Additionally, Julia realizes that she has to avoid
the issues of inflexibility we discussed above in her initial workbook (Exhibit 1.3).
Finally, she is aware that she will have to automate the data collection process by
creating a simple macro that generates simulated outcomes, captures the results,
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