Improving Capabilities Through Industry Peer Networks Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Improving Capabilities Through Industry Peer Networks case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Improving Capabilities Through Industry Peer Networks case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Stoyan V. Sgourev, Ezra Zuckerman. The Improving Capabilities Through Industry Peer Networks (referred as “Ipns Noncompeting” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Organizational Development. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Innovation, Knowledge management, Networking.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment

Case Description of Improving Capabilities Through Industry Peer Networks Case Study

This is an MIT Sloan Management Review article. How do managers at firms that compete primarily in local markets stay abreast of broader industry trends and innovations? Highlights an interesting way in which managers at some smaller regional firms in the United States seek to combat forces of inertia and myopia in their businesses: by networking with managers of noncompeting firms that operate in the same industry but in other geographic regions. The authors call these networks "industry peer networks" (IPNs) and have conducted research into how common such networks are and how they function. In the United States, IPNs originated in the auto retailing industry in 1947, when an owner of several auto dealerships began bringing managers from those dealerships together to exchange ideas. The concept spread both geographically and into a number of other industries, and IPNs now exist in businesses ranging from advertising agencies to office furniture distributors. A typical IPN consists of a number of small groups, each containing no more than 20 managers from noncompeting companies. These groups usually have face-to-face meetings two to four times a year to discuss management issues; they often share confidential financial data with each other as well.

Case Authors : Stoyan V. Sgourev, Ezra Zuckerman

Topic : Organizational Development

Related Areas : Innovation, Knowledge management, Networking

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Improving Capabilities Through Industry Peer Networks Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10000322) -10000322 - -
Year 1 3450840 -6549482 3450840 0.9434 3255509
Year 2 3958988 -2590494 7409828 0.89 3523485
Year 3 3975688 1385194 11385516 0.8396 3338064
Year 4 3232269 4617463 14617785 0.7921 2560260
TOTAL 14617785 12677319

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2676997

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting

What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.

Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting

There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Profitability Index
2. Internal Rate of Return
3. Net Present Value
4. Payback Period

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Ipns Noncompeting have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.
2. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Ipns Noncompeting shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.

Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Improving Capabilities Through Industry Peer Networks

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Organizational Development Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Ipns Noncompeting often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Ipns Noncompeting needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10000322) -10000322 - -
Year 1 3450840 -6549482 3450840 0.8696 3000730
Year 2 3958988 -2590494 7409828 0.7561 2993564
Year 3 3975688 1385194 11385516 0.6575 2614079
Year 4 3232269 4617463 14617785 0.5718 1848060
TOTAL 10456434

The Net NPV after 4 years is 456112

(10456434 - 10000322 )

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%

If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10000322) -10000322 - -
Year 1 3450840 -6549482 3450840 0.8333 2875700
Year 2 3958988 -2590494 7409828 0.6944 2749297
Year 3 3975688 1385194 11385516 0.5787 2300745
Year 4 3232269 4617463 14617785 0.4823 1558772
TOTAL 9484514

The Net NPV after 4 years is -515808

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9484514 - 10000322 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Ipns Noncompeting to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.

Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Ipns Noncompeting has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Ipns Noncompeting can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Ipns Noncompeting, then the stock price of the Ipns Noncompeting should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Ipns Noncompeting should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.

References & Further Readings

Stoyan V. Sgourev, Ezra Zuckerman (2018), "Improving Capabilities Through Industry Peer Networks Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.