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Decision support tools. Lecture 9: Preparation for Prac 2. Mathematical models. Decision variables Values that you can change E.g. selling price of your products, staff wages Uncontrollable variables Values that you can’t change E.g. rand/dollar exchange rate, income tax payable

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decision support tools

Decision support tools

Lecture 9: Preparation for Prac2

mathematical models
Mathematical models
  • Decision variables
    • Values that you can change
    • E.g. selling price of your products, staff wages
  • Uncontrollable variables
    • Values that you can’t change
    • E.g. rand/dollar exchange rate, income tax payable
  • Result variables
    • Expected outcomes from different combinations of values
    • E.g. profit after 12 months, cash in bank after 12 months
  • Mathematical relationships between them
    • Expressed as a set of related equations (formulas)
model development involves
Model development involves
  • Identifying the result variables
  • The values that you want to estimate
  • Identifying the decision variables
  • Values that you might decide to change, and which would affect the result variables
  • Identifying the uncontrollable variables
  • Values that might change whether you want them to or not, and which would affect the result variables
  • Defining the relationships between them
  • Formulas that use the decision and uncontrollable variables to calculate the result variables
how it all fits together
How it all fits together

Uncontrollable variables

Decision variables

Result variables



You select these

You want to calculate these

You might be affected by these

for example
For example
  • Results variable: Profit
  • Decision variable: % increase in selling price
  • Uncontrollable variables: Cost price, Sales volume
  • Relationships:

Selling price = last year’s price * (1 + % increase in selling price)

Sales volume = last year’s sales * (1-0.5 * % increase in selling price) based on previous data

Profit = Sales volume * (Selling price – Cost price)

excel tools for decision modelling
Excel tools for decision modelling
  • Scenario Manager
    • Compares results of different “what-if” scenarios
  • Data tables
    • Evaluate sensitivity to change
  • Goal seek
    • Changes only one value to achieve desired outcome
  • Solver
    • Takes multiple constraints (conditions) into account
scenario manager
Scenario Manager

Data tab – What-If Analysis – Scenario Manager

  • Click ‘Add’ and give the new scenario a name
    • Identify cells where you want to change data values

N.B. changing cells should never contain formulas!

    • Click OK
    • Type in the changed values for this scenario
  • You can add as many more Scenarios as you want

To view estimation results

  • Click ‘Summary’ and ‘Scenario summary’
    • Identify the result cells that you want to estimate values for
  • You can use ‘Show’ to reinstate values from any scenario
data tables
Data tables
  • Shows how changes in one variable will affect a related value (usually the result variable)
  • First create a data table :
    • Changing cell values in a column on the left
    • Result formulas above and to the right
  • Select the entire table
  • Data – What-If Analysis – Data Table
    • For ‘Column input cell’, select the input cell actually used in your formula whose changing values are displayed in the column on the left
goal seek
Goal seek
  • Calculates the value needed for one specific input cell, to get the desired result from a formula
  • Data – What-If Analysis – Goal Seek
    • Set cell: cell reference for result variable
    • To value: result that you want to get
    • By changing cell: cell reference for the input value that should be changed to get the result you want
    • OK


  • May need to be installed as an Add-In under File – Options
  • Select the cell containing the Result formula, and then click on the Solver icon
    • A dialog box will open
    • Set Target Cell is already defined (default is max)
    • By changing cells lists values to be changed
    • Constraints define conditions that must be met, e.g. G7 <= 120 where G12 is a calculated value
  • Click Solve to calculate the result
preparation for dst prac 2
Preparation for DST prac 2
  • In Prac 2 you will need to be able to:
    • Create formulas that reflect business logic correctly
      • Calculations involving variables
      • Cell referencing (absolute vs relative)
      • IF statements
    • Use the Scenario Manager
    • Create a Data Table
    • Perform a Goal Seek