Emily Harris is the Vice president of New Heritage Doll Company’s production division. In mid-September of 2010 she was trying to decide on project proposals for the company’s capital budget meeting in October. Of the proposals presented to her, two of them stood out based on their innovation and ability to strengthen the division’s product lines. The first project, Match My Doll Clothing Line Expansion (MMDC), would extend the warm weather products to an all-weather clothing line. The second project, Design your Own Doll (DYOD), would start with a website where customers would choose the doll’s features, color, etc. and then the dolls will be made to order. The firm could decline both of the proposals because of managerial and financial resource constraints. Other divisions in the company are also expected to promote projects of their own. Because of these factors Harris has to choose to promote one of her division’s projects over the other. The following questions will help Harris make the best decision for her division and help support her recommendation when communicating back with the divisions executives.
1. Set forth and compare the business cases for each of the two projections under consideration by Emily Harris. Which do you regard as more compelling? The Match My Doll Clothing Line Expansions (MMDC) Project involves expanding the existing successful Match My Doll Clothing line. This clothing line originally consisted of a few sets of matching doll and child clothing for warm weather. Given its current success, there is a consideration to expand it to include all season clothing line. Since it is an expansion to existing product line, investment in operating capital, pricing structure and product cost can be based on historical information. The company should be able to use current sales channels like selling to retail divisions or private labels. New Heritage should be able to outsource manufacturing of this product line expansion to Asia, similar to other existing products.
The Design Your Own Doll (DYOD) Project involves creation of new customized dolls to customer’s specification. This project will require new web-based doll-design software. Due to lead time constraints, the company will have to consider manufacturing this made-to-order product line in-house or outsource it to contract manufacturers in USA instead of Asia. This would be a new manufacturing channel for the company. Product cost is expected to be high due to low volume and customized set up. New Heritage Doll Company will have to be thorough when they calculate product cost and price structures for this new product line. This new product will probably be sold through on-line channels only.
Without any financial information, the Match My Doll Clothing Line Expansions (MMDC) looks more attractive because it involves less risk and less capital investment and utilizes existing infrastructure and well established sales channels.
2. Use the operating projections for each project to compute a net present value (NPV) for each. Which project creates more value? We assumed that the Match My Doll Clothing Line Expansions (MMDC) Project is a medium risk project since it is an extension to existing successful product line so we used risk-adjusted cost of capital of 8.4%. We believe that project 2 (DYOD) is a much higher risk project since it is a completely new product line for the company and requires an information technology component, so we used risk-adjusted cost of capital of 9%. According to Exhibit 1, the Match My Doll Clothing Line Expansions (MMDC) Project has a Net Present Value (NPV) of $7,150 and Exhibit 2 shows that the Design Your Own Doll (DYOD) Project has a Net Present Value (NPV) of $7,058. Both projects have positive NPV and would create value for the company. However, the Match My Doll Clothing Line Expansions (MMDC) Project has a slightly higher NPV so it would create more value for the company. 3. Compute the internal rate of return (IRR) and payback period for each project. How should these metrics affect Harris’s deliberations? How do they compare to NPV as tools for evaluating projects? When and how would you use each?
The internal rate of return (IRR) for the Match My Doll Clothing Line Expansions (MMDC) is 24.0% based on the NPV calculated above ($7,150). The IRR for the Design Your Own Doll (DYOD) project is 17.9% based on the NPV calculated above ($7058). The calculated IRRs of the two projects do not eliminate either from consideration. Both projects IRR’s are above their individually assigned discount rates, 8.4% for MMDC and the higher (riskier) 9.0% for DYOD.
The MMDC Project has an IRR=24%, MIRR=21%, payback of 7.4 years and discounted payback of 9.1 years. The DYOD Project has IRR=17.9%, MIRR=16.4%, payback of 9.1 years and discounted payback of 9.4 years. The MMDC Project has a higher NPV and better internal rate of returns (both IRR and MIRR) than DYOD Project. The MMDC Project has a shorter payback and discounted payback period than DYOD Project. So based on financial analysis, the MMDC Project is more attractive than DYOD Project. The DYOD Project is more capital intensive and even though it might potentially generate higher revenues, it would take longer to generate free cash flow. The NPV is lower for the DYOD Project in this case because it uses higher risk-adjusted cost of capital than the MMDC Project. One point to mention is that the payback period is less sophisticated than IRR or NPV. The payback period looks at the cash flows and determines when the money paid out will be recovered by the benefits of a project. The payback period looks at a project only until the costs have been recovered. This analysis tool is often ignored because it does not take into consideration the time value of money. The time value of money limitation of the payback period can be modified by using the discounted cash flows of a project for the analysis of when the outflows will be recovered.
To make the most informed decision the IRRs and payback periods of the projects should be compared in conjunction with the NPVs of the two projects. The NPV analysis of the two projects under consideration indicates that the MMDC Project is the better of the two projects. 4. What additional information does Harris need to complete her analyses and compare the two projects? What specific questions should she ask each of the project sponsors?
When comparing the two projects other than comparing the NPV and IRR of each project Harris will need to look at other factors as well. Among the factors that should be considered along with the NPV and IRR, are the manufacturing capabilities, the company’s core competencies, and ensuring that the project aligns with the company’s corporate strategy. With this being said the DYOD Project is at a disadvantage because the MMCD Project is already a successful operation which allows Harris to analyze the historical data as opposed to the project projections of DYOD. Using the factual data provided by MMCD is a less risky option for Harris to choose.
In order to ensure that Harris is making the correct decision on which project to select she should ask the following question of each of the project sponsors: Is manufacturing children’s clothing part of the core competencies of New Heritage? Is your project aligned with the mission and long term strategies of the company? What are the differences in New Heritages current market and the doll market? How will scaling up production affect operating and overhead costs? What is the level of risk of the Design Your Own Doll project? Did they consider all hidden labor costs in the MMDC Line Expansion, which are similar to the extra labor costs in the DYOD project? Additionally, it would also be helpful if Harris had information about projects submitted by other departments to make sure that proposed production department projects are in-line with other department projects and an overall company strategy. Even though financially the MMDC Project is more compelling, maybe there is a good reason to pick the DYOD Project. For example, if one of the other divisions is submitting a complimentary project to the DYOD, maybe that would lower the overall risk of the DYOD Project and make it more appealing strategically. 5. If Harris is forced to recommend one project over the other, which should she recommend? Why?
Since Harris can only promote one project during the capital budget meeting we would recommend that she support the MMDC Project. Of the two projects presented by her division it has the highest NPV. Financial Management authors Brigham and Ehrhardt state often ‘‘whenever conflicts exist between mutually exclusive projects, use the NPV method”. The NPV method tells us how much a project will add to the value of the company. This is a stated goal of the New Heritage Doll Company. Also, this project would seem to further solidify relationships with strong customers and gain new ones by broadening the brand and leveraging existing infrastructure.