Sounds a lot like my time working at a .com startup processing inventory files for electronic component traders.
One company mananged to, in one week, provide three versions of their inventory. One in CSV, one in tab seperated form, and one in Excel format. Each had the columns in a different order. Each had different columns. Each had a different number of rows of contact information and notes before the data started. Utterly insane.
That .com eventually folded (mostly because it depended on hitting critical mass with people searching and people uploading inventories. In retrospect, a better business plan might have been to write a FOSS inventory management system with a means to share inventories and search other people's inventories using a central site - and then charge for providing the central site and for support for the app. Hmm. I'm drifting, I'll stop now.
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