Rediscovering Market Niches in a Traditional Industry 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 Rediscovering Market Niches in a Traditional Industry case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Rediscovering Market Niches in a Traditional Industry case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by David Tse, Mary Ho. The Rediscovering Market Niches in a Traditional Industry (referred as “Porcelain Jcac” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Sales & Marketing. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Competition.

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 Rediscovering Market Niches in a Traditional Industry Case Study

For centuries, Jingdezhen, the "Porcelain Metropolis" of China, produced and exported the finest porcelain treasures in the world. By the late 20th century, however, the city was in danger of losing its past glory. Although its factories still churned out more than a million pieces of porcelain a day, it was facing more competitors at home and abroad than at any time in its history. The declining quality of porcelain made in this highly respected city disappointed a number of porcelain experts and collectors. Jiangdong Crystal-color Art and Crafts Co. Ltd. (JCAC) was one of the few ceramic makers that had differentiated itself from its rivals. The company manufactured top-of-the-line luxury products and limited its distribution to the government and high-end retailers. Although JCAC was enjoying its success, a number of small and medium-size porcelain manufacturers in Jingdezhen were still struggling to make a profit. With new competitors looming on the horizon, some ceramic firms were reviewing their marketing plans with an eye toward finding a market niche. JCAC, at the same time, was aiming to develop a global brand and to revive the image of Jingdezhen ceramics. This case illustrates the problems of adopting an undifferentiated strategy in a competitive market. It explores how to identify market niches in a traditional industry and examines strategies for building a global brand.

Case Authors : David Tse, Mary Ho

Topic : Sales & Marketing

Related Areas : Competition

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Rediscovering Market Niches in a Traditional Industry Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10003230) -10003230 - -
Year 1 3465700 -6537530 3465700 0.9434 3269528
Year 2 3954978 -2582552 7420678 0.89 3519916
Year 3 3950616 1368064 11371294 0.8396 3317013
Year 4 3233643 4601707 14604937 0.7921 2561348
TOTAL 14604937 12667806

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2664576

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. Net Present Value
4. Internal Rate of Return

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. Porcelain Jcac 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 Porcelain Jcac 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 Rediscovering Market Niches in a Traditional Industry

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 Porcelain Jcac 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 Porcelain Jcac 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 (10003230) -10003230 - -
Year 1 3465700 -6537530 3465700 0.8696 3013652
Year 2 3954978 -2582552 7420678 0.7561 2990532
Year 3 3950616 1368064 11371294 0.6575 2597594
Year 4 3233643 4601707 14604937 0.5718 1848846
TOTAL 10450624

The Net NPV after 4 years is 447394

(10450624 - 10003230 )

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 (10003230) -10003230 - -
Year 1 3465700 -6537530 3465700 0.8333 2888083
Year 2 3954978 -2582552 7420678 0.6944 2746513
Year 3 3950616 1368064 11371294 0.5787 2286236
Year 4 3233643 4601707 14604937 0.4823 1559434
TOTAL 9480266

The Net NPV after 4 years is -522964

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9480266 - 10003230 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Porcelain Jcac 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 Porcelain Jcac has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Porcelain Jcac 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 Porcelain Jcac, then the stock price of the Porcelain Jcac 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 Porcelain Jcac 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 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.

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

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

David Tse, Mary Ho (2018), "Rediscovering Market Niches in a Traditional Industry Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.