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Zingerman's Community of Businesses: Broad-Based Ownership, Governance, & Sustainability 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 Zingerman's Community of Businesses: Broad-Based Ownership, Governance, & Sustainability case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Zingerman's Community of Businesses: Broad-Based Ownership, Governance, & Sustainability case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Wayne Baker. The Zingerman's Community of Businesses: Broad-Based Ownership, Governance, & Sustainability (referred as “Zingerman's Zcob” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Leadership & Managing People. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Human resource management, Organizational culture, Succession planning.

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 Zingerman's Community of Businesses: Broad-Based Ownership, Governance, & Sustainability Case Study


Inc. Magazine's "coolest small company in America," Zingerman's Community of Businesses (ZCoB), is an exemplar positive organization known for its culture and award-winning food. This case covers the ZCoB's decision in 2013 to migrate toward broad-based employee ownership and the iterative, inclusive process by which Zingerman's Partners Group researched and crafted a new ownership design for the ZCoB. Should they use an ESOP, equity compensation, become a cooperative, or create their own model? As students learn about Zingerman's culture (e.g., its progressive views on sustainability, commitment to open book finance, decision-making by consensus) and evaluate which model might be the best match, they grapple with questions that are top-of-mind for the partners: Who will own the ZCoB, and how will it be run when the founders (who own 30-67% of each Zingerman's business) are no longer living? How can it foster a positive, thriving workforce that is the driving force behind a sustainable busi


Case Authors : Wayne Baker

Topic : Leadership & Managing People

Related Areas : Human resource management, Organizational culture, Succession planning




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Zingerman's Community of Businesses: Broad-Based Ownership, Governance, & Sustainability Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10014711) -10014711 - -
Year 1 3468483 -6546228 3468483 0.9434 3272154
Year 2 3962001 -2584227 7430484 0.89 3526167
Year 3 3936780 1352553 11367264 0.8396 3305396
Year 4 3225461 4578014 14592725 0.7921 2554867
TOTAL 14592725 12658584


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2643873

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. Net Present Value
2. Internal Rate of Return
3. Profitability Index
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 Zingerman's Zcob 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. Zingerman's Zcob 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 Zingerman's Community of Businesses: Broad-Based Ownership, Governance, & Sustainability

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 Leadership & Managing People 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 Zingerman's Zcob 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 Zingerman's Zcob 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 (10014711) -10014711 - -
Year 1 3468483 -6546228 3468483 0.8696 3016072
Year 2 3962001 -2584227 7430484 0.7561 2995842
Year 3 3936780 1352553 11367264 0.6575 2588497
Year 4 3225461 4578014 14592725 0.5718 1844168
TOTAL 10444579


The Net NPV after 4 years is 429868

(10444579 - 10014711 )






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 (10014711) -10014711 - -
Year 1 3468483 -6546228 3468483 0.8333 2890403
Year 2 3962001 -2584227 7430484 0.6944 2751390
Year 3 3936780 1352553 11367264 0.5787 2278229
Year 4 3225461 4578014 14592725 0.4823 1555489
TOTAL 9475510


The Net NPV after 4 years is -539201

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9475510 - 10014711 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Zingerman's Zcob 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 Zingerman's Zcob has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Zingerman's Zcob 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 Zingerman's Zcob, then the stock price of the Zingerman's Zcob 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 Zingerman's Zcob 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.

Understanding of risks involved in 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.

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

Wayne Baker (2018), "Zingerman's Community of Businesses: Broad-Based Ownership, Governance, & Sustainability Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.

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