Compiling Shirt Sizes - How A Small, Quick Solution Saved Administrative Assistants Hours of Work

The Situation

While on a large conference call, a general manager asked several dozen employees to email their shirt sizes to his administrative assistant because the organization was going to buy polo shirts for employees on a special occasion.

Being one of the employees on the call I realized this request meant hours of work for the administrative assistant who was hundreds of miles away from me at the time. One request from the manager meant that she would have to glean names and shirt sizes from dozens of emails and aggregate them into an order for shirts, a task that could take hours and be spread out over many days.

The Task

My self-assigned task was to quickly build a solution to streamline this simple, but time-consuming task for the already-busy administrative assistant.

The Action

I built a two-column custom list with a shirt size column and an additional comments column. I made contribute permissions wide open to ensure that nobody would have access problems and set it so that employees could only see their own entries. I theorized that someone, somewhere would be offended that everyone else could see her shirt size!

Within minutes (and while the conference call was still in progress), I sent an email containing the link to the administrative assistant and suggested that she elbow the general manager so he could rescind his request to inundate the administrative assistant with emails and instead, ask employees to enter their shirt sizes into the web form.

The Results

All shirt sizes were neatly captured in the new custom list and the administrative assistant simply exported the results to an Excel spreadsheet and attached it to the order. Her total time invested was cut from several hours to less than five minutes with a SharePoint development investment of approximately five minutes!

While this is not an example of massive savings for an organization, it is representative of the quick, numerous ways that even small local workgroups and individuals can benefit from implementation of SharePoint applications.

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