Spreadsheet Models for Managers

Getting Access to Spreadsheet Models for Managers

If Spreadsheet Models for Managersyou use Excel to model businesses, business processes, or business transactions, this course will change your life. You’ll learn how to create tools for yourself that will amaze even you. Unrestricted use of this material is available in two ways.

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Spreadsheet Models for Managers

Cushioning 3/3
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  • Even when you can find an optimum solution, you might still want to provide for a safety margin or cushion
  • Cushioning is the practice of including safety margins in your models to mitigate the effects of approximations and change
  • Examples
    • Cash reserves greater than the model predicts you need
    • Extra staff, stock, or other resources during periods of high volume
    • Leasing more space than needed to allow for faster expansion

Cushioning is the practice of providing extra resources or capacity to account for possible changes or errors in estimates that might lead to shortages. When you cushion, you build into the model certain mechanisms that add safety margins on top of whatever your model predicts that you need. This differs from cushioning parametrically.

Parametric cushioning is a method of building in a safety margin by padding parameter values. For example, if you want to ensure that you always have enough desks, the parametric approach might be to allow for 1.1 desks per employee, instead of the more typical 1.0 desks per employee. This approach is confusing and not recommended, because it confuses actual needs with the cushion itself, which can make it more difficult to understand the model.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 27-Apr-2016 04:15:26 EDT

Understanding Implicit Intersection

Implicit Intersection is one of the most underrated — and at the same time one of the most powerful — techniques in all of Excel. Yet few people truly understand it.

Implicit Intersection is the method by which one cell can retrieve a value from another range by examining the intersection of its row (or column) with that range. If the intersection is unique — a single-cell — then the formula of the cell that depends on implicit intersection can update its value without incident. If not, an error results.

Terminology for Worksheet Functions

When talking about worksheet functions, it’s important to be careful about your choice of terminology. Technology is like that, and like it or not, Excel is a piece of technology.

Cells can have formulas, as we’ve seen, and those formulas can invoke worksheet functions. Cells do not contain functions — rather, they can contain formulas, which, in turn, can invoke one or more worksheet functions.

User-defined names are not functions.

To invoke a worksheet function in the context of a cell formula, one calls a worksheet function. Often, you hear this described as “applying a worksheet function.” Do not use that terminology. For example, we’ll speak of “calling a function on its arguments,” or “calling a function with its arguments.” We do not say that we “apply a function to its arguments.”

When Excel calculates the value of a cell, and that cell’s formula contains a call to a worksheet function, that function call is evaluated. Its value is then returned to the formula, which uses it, in turn, to compute its own value.

Sometimes you hear worksheet functions referred to as commands. They aren’t commands. Commands are found on Excel’s menus, or perhaps in some dialog boxes. Commands do things, like format a cell, or sort a range. Commands don’t return values — functions return values.