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LEGOA? Products: Building Customer Communities Through Technology 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 LEGOA? Products: Building Customer Communities Through Technology case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. LEGOA? Products: Building Customer Communities Through Technology case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by M.S. Krishnan. The LEGOA? Products: Building Customer Communities Through Technology (referred as “Lego Evolution” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Sales & Marketing. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Organizational culture, Public relations.

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 LEGOA? Products: Building Customer Communities Through Technology Case Study


This case takes students through the evolution of LEGO's business model from a traditional product-centric "make and sell" model to a more customer-centric "anticipate and lead" model in which products are co-created with customers, and customers are leveraged as a key factor in the company's innovation strategy. It begins with LEGO's struggles in the late 1990s to early 2000s, as competitors and imitators posed threats to LEGO as did the increasing alternative modes of electronic and Internet-based play. LEGO posted losses for a handful of years, and the company's culture waned. The case then takes students from the early 2000s into 2013, a period through which LEGO underwent significant transformation, which began with a new CEO, JA?rgen Vig Knudstorp. The case highlights the company's evolution through three lenses - its organizational evolution, community evolution, and technological evolution.


Case Authors : M.S. Krishnan

Topic : Sales & Marketing

Related Areas : Organizational culture, Public relations




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for LEGOA? Products: Building Customer Communities Through Technology Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10010054) -10010054 - -
Year 1 3458473 -6551581 3458473 0.9434 3262710
Year 2 3971476 -2580105 7429949 0.89 3534600
Year 3 3952649 1372544 11382598 0.8396 3318720
Year 4 3242840 4615384 14625438 0.7921 2568633
TOTAL 14625438 12684663


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2674609

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. Payback Period
3. Internal Rate of Return
4. Net Present Value

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




Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of LEGOA? Products: Building Customer Communities Through Technology

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 Sales & Marketing 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 Lego Evolution 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 Lego Evolution 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 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10010054) -10010054 - -
Year 1 3458473 -6551581 3458473 0.8696 3007368
Year 2 3971476 -2580105 7429949 0.7561 3003006
Year 3 3952649 1372544 11382598 0.6575 2598931
Year 4 3242840 4615384 14625438 0.5718 1854104
TOTAL 10463409


The Net NPV after 4 years is 453355

(10463409 - 10010054 )






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 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10010054) -10010054 - -
Year 1 3458473 -6551581 3458473 0.8333 2882061
Year 2 3971476 -2580105 7429949 0.6944 2757969
Year 3 3952649 1372544 11382598 0.5787 2287413
Year 4 3242840 4615384 14625438 0.4823 1563870
TOTAL 9491312


The Net NPV after 4 years is -518742

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9491312 - 10010054 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Lego Evolution 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 Lego Evolution has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Lego Evolution 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 Lego Evolution, then the stock price of the Lego Evolution 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 Lego Evolution 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 key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

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.

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

M.S. Krishnan (2018), "LEGOA? Products: Building Customer Communities Through Technology Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.