Wednesday, January 18, 2012
"Solver" is an example of how computing power can save you from a plethora of second-guessing. Let's take a look at what it can do and how you can leverage this Powerful Analytic Tool:
Where is it?
To find it in Excel 2010, click on the File Tab, and click the Excel Options button at the bottom of the dropdown. Then choose Add-Ins and select Solver Add-in.
To find it in Excel 2007, simply click on the Microsoft Button, and click the Excel Options button at the bottom of the dropdown. Then choose Add-Ins and select Solver Add-in.
After you load the Solver add-in, the Solver command is available in the Analysis group on the Data tab.
What it can Do for You!
My Classic Example is one where you have several shifts of call center employees that overlap, and you are trying to optimize the scheduling to best handle the projected incoming calls. By using MS Solver, you can quite quickly find the most Favorable Balance for the schedule.
The trick is set your Target Cell (this may be a cell in which you are trying to find the Best Sum, Average, or Standard Deviation) in the Solver Parameters, and make it subject to various cells that you wish to change (in this case, it would be the totals for each shift). You can also make it subject to Constraints such as Whole numbers (good when counting people...).
MS Solver can be effectively used to maximize Sales/Profit Plans, Strategic Planning, Optimizing a Product Mix, and even picking a Winning Team! There are Countless Applications that are only limited by your imagination.
It can take a bit of effort setting up your worksheet, but the results are Outstanding! Demonstrate once again that you truly are a Genius! Give Microsoft Solver a try!