Writing Crystal Reports at Condor


Situation:  When I joined my last employer, Condor in Feb 2001, they were in the midst of a new assignment from corporate leadership to ‘take over’ the management of a company that had just been purchased.  Waber made power strips and had a niche in the high-volume, low-price market.  Their computer system (Macola) was not compatible with Condor’s old custom Alpha Micro computer system.  One of the reasons I got the job was because of my Macola experience.


Problem: Nobody in the company seemed to know how to get information out of the Macola computer system.  Executive decisions about labor requirements were being made blind.  The purchasing department was unable to determine the status of the on-hand inventory.  The sales staff was unable to provide good customer service because they couldn’t tell their customers when their products would be completed or delivered.  Without accurate commission reports, the salespeople weren’t getting paid.  In short, there were a lot of people upset with the new system.


Action: The day I came onboard as the new Information Systems Manager, I quickly assessed what the biggest problem was and got right to work on it.  I proposed and started writing Crystal Reports to get the information out of the system that was needed to make executive management decisions.  It was obvious that the data was needed and I had the skills and experience to write the reports and get the data out quickly.  Nobody asked me to do it but I could see that it was the greatest need so I just started doing it and told others about the reports as I got them created.


Response: My Crystal Reports were a hit.  I compiled them and put links to them on web pages.  I organized them by function and by department.  I added run-time parameters to make them more versatile.  I created sample images of each report and saved them as JPGs so that the users could see at a glance what they looked like without having to take the time to run them.  Many users gave added feedback that made them more useful and I received requests to create many more reports.  I created hundreds of useful business reports in the 3 ˝ years I was with Condor.


Ten Skills that I demonstrated in this situation:


1. Resourcefulness – I saw a need and knew that I could meet the need.  I had the resources and there was no need to hire an outside contractor which was one of the options I was given.

2. Initiative – I took the initiative to solve a very big problem without going through a long proposal process or getting it approved by executive process because it needed to be fixed now!

3. Leadership – As the new IS manager, I quickly demonstrated that I had the vision and the commitment to get something done that was critical to the success of the company integration.

4. Discipline – It took many months to get all the critical reports created.  When that division was sold I did the same thing for the Alpha Micro system & then again for the new QAD system.

5. Proficiency – Writing those hundreds of reports demonstrated my proficiency at many technical aspects of my job – ODBC, Relational Databases & complex mathematical equations.

6. Vision – I was able to see the end-result of all the reports I had in mind long before they were a reality.  I knew what I needed to do and knew the scope of the project in advance of starting.

7. Judgment – I had to decide which reports were the most critical of all the requests I was receiving.  I knew which ones were most important based on previous experience at Carson.

8. Achievement – It took a lot of work and a lot of effort over the years to write those much needed and useful reports.  I consider it to be a major accomplishment of my career so far.

9. Strategy – It was a strategic decision on my part to spend so much time and energy on these reports.  I calculated several alternatives and multi-tasked while focusing on this project.

10. Risk Taking – Being new to the company, I took a risk in making the decision to create these reports on my own.  I took the authority I had been given and solved a big problem.