Mer: Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the first quarter 2020 Erie Sensors Company stockholders’ meeting!
WillThank you, Meredith. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Today I’ll be talking about our company strategy, goals, and performance as well as our Research and Development and Forecasting over the last eight years. As you know, it has been 5 years since we restructured our company departments around our Balanced Scorecard so you’ll notice that our performance since 2015 has greatly improved since then.We have focused on providing the highest quality sensors for the High end, Traditional, and Low end segments and have consistently been the industry leader in customer satisfaction and wealth creation.
WillWe at Erie set high goals for ourselves. We expect nothing short of excellence at achieving our balanced scorecard goals.
WillOver the last 5 years, we’ve had an average success rate over 95% at achieving our balanced scorecard goals.
WillSince 2015, our management team has been ranked in the top 1 or 2% of all management teams, worldwide each year. When comparing 8-year performances, we ranked in the 99th percentile, or in the top 15 companies in the world.
WillPer my duties of R&D and Forecasting, one of my goals is meeting continually increasing customer satisfaction goals.
WillOur Key Success Factors in R&D and Forecasting were continually reviewing competitor decisions and developing a thorough sales forecast system. This forecast system was the cornerstone of our decision-making as you will see in the presentations by our vice presidents.
WillAfter the restructuring, our customer satisfaction drop in 2016 was due to our single sensor line outside of our main strategy. Though it was still profitable, we made it even more profitable when we repositioned it towards the High end segment during 2018 and 2019.Now Meredith will talk about developments in our Customer Acquisition department. (Hand over to Mer)
Customer Awareness – Our sensors must be well known to our customers.Customer Accessibility – Our sensors must be easily available to our customers.Product Count – We have a goal of each sensor selling at least 6% of a segment’s demand. This could be greater than 8 if sensors sell well in multiple segments.SG&A expense 7-17% - We need to spend to market our product but we must be efficient. This is a counterbalance against overspending on promotion and sales.Market Share (avg.) >= 22%
Edit: We will maintain high customer buying criteria, customer awareness, and customer accessibility by spending on promotion, sales and R&D to produce sensors that are highly desirable, well known and easily available to our customers. Over time, the segment fine cuts have significantly diverged. It is now very difficult for one sensor to have 6% or more of two different segments. Therefore, each of our eight sensors must be targeted at a specific segment and be very desirable to it segment. Our seven primary sensors are desirable to their target segments. Edge, our sensor targeted to the Performance segment, will not earn at least 6% of the Performance segment unless we start marketing it. We will either begin marketing Edge in the Performance segment or transition it to the High end segment to take advantage of the built-up sales channels (accessibility) in the High end segment. To keep SG&A costs low, we will spend efficiently on promotion and sales. We will promote our Low end and Traditional sensors with Print, Direct Mail, and Trade shows. We will promote our High end sensors with Direct Mail, Web Media, Email, and Trade Shows. Our main sales force will be made up of inside salespeople. Outside salespeople and distributors will complement them to increase accessibility to at least 90% in our main segments. We will increase our market share by decreasing prices without sacrificing our 36% margin goal.
Awareness≤ 50% : 0 points, ≥ 90%: 5 pointsProblem: The “Edge” sensor line was not being promoted.Solution: We heavily marketed the sensor in the last 3 years.Accessibility≤ 50% : 0 points, ≥ 90%: 5 pointsKeys to success: Heavy spending on sales and placing multiple sensors in segments to cross-sell.Product Count≥ 8 sensors selling 6% of a segment’s sales: 5 pointsProblem: The “Edge” sensor line was not selling well, even though it was profitable.Solution: We transitioned the product to the High end segment.Selling, General & Admin ExpenseChallenge: Early on, it was difficult to market sensors without exceeding our limit or knowing how much we would sell.Solution: Developing our forecast after year 3 provided a clearer picture.
Performance in line with our strategy. Achieved greater than 20%, often greater than 25%. Low was tough
Contribution Margin >= 36% - Sales minus Variable costs. The higher this is, the higher the profit generation of the sensor line.Plant Utilization maintenance between 100% and 180% - Plant utilization is a measure of how well we are putting our fixed assets to use. The higher the utilization, the better - as long as we don't risk having enough capacity in case we suddenly need it due to a sensor leaving a segment.Days of Working Capital between 30 and 90 days Cash creates insignificant wealth. Accounts Receivable is a loan given to customers. Unsold Inventory consumes resources and costs money to carry. Ideally, at the end of a year, we'd have $1 in each. But, we can't cut it too close with cash or we might get an emergency loan. We need long A/R policies to increase demand. And we can't cut it to close with inventory or we might risk missed sales due to stock-outs. Days of Working Capital is measure of how well we buffer against emergency loans, stock-outs, and a customer-friendly A/R without spending too much to protect against these risks.Stock-out costs - I make sure that we produce enough sensors to satisfy demand.Inventory Carrying costs - I make sure that we don't produce beyond maximum expected customer demand.Operating Profit - I make sure that over 8 years we have a cumulative profit of $135M.
Production – set to forecast, best-case scenarioCapacity –150% utilization to exploit fixed costs of plantsCapacity space for competitor withdrawals so we can produce and sell more unitsAutomation– high to achieve contribution margin goalIncrease automation (per Finance ($)) R&D limitations (sensor re-development speed)Counter balanced with TQM cycle time advancesA/P – adjust policy to help control Days of Working Capital and utilization rates
The reason for the dips in 2016 and 2019 was unexpected higher demand for sensors due to competitors making less-than-ideal R&D moves and sensor discontinuations.
Here at Erie, we like to emphasize continuous learning and growth as an organization and for our employees. We realize having both an efficient staff and internal processes is key to maximizing profits for the company and for you- our valued shareholders. In the area of Human Resources, we set goals to minimize costly employee turnover and maximize productivity. You’ll notice that our ultimate goal was to reduce turnover to at least 4% and increase productivity by 2% each year, ending in 118% productivity. In the area of TQM initiatives, I run all TQM efforts that make our company a lean, mean, profit-making machine. Here you can see we had moderate goals during the early years of launching these initiatives and these goals increased as we expected to see the results of our initiatives really take off. By the second year, we hoped to be at our ultimate goal of 7% material cost reduction, 40% reduction in R&D, 60% reduction in admin cost and 10% increase in demand.
In order to achieve our HR goalsWe focus on recruiting stellar employees by maximizing our recruiting efforts and ensuring their continued growth by providing extensive training each year. Because we make such an investment into our staff, we offer excellent wages and compensation packages to help retain them and keep employee turnover down as stated in our goals. Last, we don’t allow overtime to keep our employees happy and productive! A happy and productive employee leads to less labor costs…which in turn leads to higher profits for everyone here!
Early on, we realized that our key success factor would be calculating the ideal investment that would maximize the effect of TQM initiatives. This ideal investment consisted of heavy spending, within financial limitations. We were only allowed to spend a total of $4M on each initiative and we were fortunate enough to max this out. Since the effects of these initiatives are cumulative, we wanted to implement them as early as possible. We split the $4m evenly among the first three years. We chose to invest in each initiative because each area of reduction had a significant impact on our business. MC, LC, and DI benefit each product line. R&D particularly help our High end and Traditional segments which are vital segments to Erie. AC reduction may seem the least significant, but over the 5 year period we saved $4M…part of which ends up in YOUR pockets!
You’ll see Erie was off to a slow start from 2012-2015, however this was before we made any investments into learning and growth. 98% of our goals were met at the end of 2015. For the remainder of the period, we dipped slightly, yet kept our performance above 90% of our goals. This was primarily due to a struggle with our employee turnover. After the reorganization, we saw an increase of separations due to employees taking on second shifts due to our high plant utilization goals. This made it more difficult to achieve employee turnover, but it was a sacrifice my department was willing to make in order to ultimately increase our profitability through production.
Stock Price Growth - Regular growth requirements, but as long as we generate profit without having an emergency loan, the stock will grow.Profit Growth - Leverage maintenance between 1.8 and 2.8 If leverage falls below 1.8, we are at an increased risk of being taken over. And, we know that we are the best management team for the Erie company so we plan to stay. If leverage gets too high, our debtors become worried that we are borrowing too much money.Market Cap - Our company aims to have at least 30% of the market cap of the entire sensor industry.Sales - Our sales must be, on average, approximately 19% of the total sales of the sensor industry.Emergency Loans - I make sure that the Erie company never has to file for bankruptcy or scramble for an emergency loan.
Issue stock – raise cash & buy back stock to control stock price, market cap, and leverageControl A/P policy and mix short-term borrowing and long-term debt issues to achieve the following goals:Positive cash in worst-case scenario (no emergency loans, AKA bankruptcy)Target leverage ≥ 1.8 to reduce likelihood of a hostile takeover and ≤ 2.0 to keep coupon (interest) payments lowStock price growth and profit in probable-case scenarioDividend policy: When no additional debt is needed to fund operations dividend policy is set to achieve desired 1.8 leverage and to assist IBP department achieve DoWC goal
WillThank you, Muhammad.Over the next five years, we plan to maintain our competitive advantage primarily through our forecasting and financial planning.We also plan to launch 2 new sensors into the high end segment and retire our existing low end sensors. We will continue to diligently follow our balanced scorecard goals.
WillIn closing, I’d like to thank you, the owners of the Erie company. Our record proves that we are the most effective at creating wealth for our stockholders. We are the most stable sensor company in the world – we have never had an emergency loan and we have turned a profit every year. The sensor industry has shown no signs of slowing down with consistent growth in consumer demand in all segments. We thank you for trusting our management teams. Thank you for attending the 2020 Erie Stockholder Meeting.At this time, the stock holder meeting has come to a close. I will now give the floor to Veronica who will be addressing students from the MBA program at CSU Long Beach to talk about learning objectives.
Calculate inter-segmental sales:In Capsim, the segments are more distinct. In CompXM, there’s heavy overlap. This requires more careful and precise sales and production analysis.Rebuild forecast…: To have a more precise view of sales, the forecast must include what’s happening each month. Inter-segmental sales is necessary if fewer than 8 sensors are sold but it’s harder to cater to multiple segments simultaneously.Focus on the goals…: Before any strategy or tactics are formed, the goals should always be recognized so that the strategy can be built to achieve them.
Break-even analysis: Calculating how much sales and when the sales are realized are critical for determining if an investment is logical.Forecasting: Preparing worst-case, best-case, and probable-case scenarios is critical for all aspects of planning.Evaluation of company financials: Understanding that bondholders, stockholders, and management each have different goals for the company.Recognition of balancing goals to maintain consistent and successful performance: Heavy initial investments make it easier to achieve later financial goals at the expense of achieving early financial goals. It may be more difficult, but to have greater success, each aspect of the business must be managed to achieve balanced growth.
Never completely trust a computer forecast: The usefulness of any tool is limited by the user of tool. The computer forecast can be wildly off and it can be off by different amounts for each sensor.Never over-rely on human intuition: One of the biggest problem we had with forecasting production was the effect of massive competitor strikes. If we had calculated Monthly sales instead of averaging Annual sales, we could have avoided stock-outs.Never underestimate a competitor’s capacity…: When competitors begin to underperform, they tend to make more drastic moves. This causes a more unstable competitive environment and forecasting must account for these drastic moves.
Mer:Where were we going? How were we going to get there? Did we make it to where we wanted to go?What do we now know about deciding where we want to go and how we want to get there?Where do we want to go now?
Capsim "stockholders' meeting" presentation, CSULBA FEMBA 11, August 2011
Erie Sensors Company<br />Stockholders’ Meeting<br />Q1, 2020<br />Executive Officers<br />Jessica Archer, Meredith Curry, Veronica Dang, Muhammad Soomar, Will Woods<br /> Edition - Capstone<br />Industry C43894 CSU Long Beach, FEMBA XI; Jul.-Aug. 2011, Dr. Lohman Course Level - Graduate<br />
Company StrategySensor Differentiation with Lifecycle Focus<br />Product lifecycle focus<br />Aggressively market : High, Low, Traditional segments<br />Expand capacity as needed<br />Increase automation to reduce labor cost<br />Finance, as needed (issuance of Stock and then Bonds)<br />Maximize recruitment spending and training<br />Maximize TQM investments to streamline operations<br />
CEOWill Woods<br />Total Balanced Scorecard<br />Each year ≥ 90<br />Cumulative ≥ 216<br />International Management Ranking<br />≥ 95th percentile, per year and cumulative<br />
Company PerformanceBalanced Scorecard Scores<br />Cumulative Point Goal<br />216 out of 240<br />Cumulative Point Total<br />236 out of 240<br />
Company PerformanceBalanced Scorecard Percentiles<br />Overall cumulative percentile placed Erie’s management in the 99th percentile – among the top 15 companies out of 1486 internationally!<br />
R&D and Forecasting<br />Customer Buying Criteria<br />
R&D and Forecasting<br />Key Success Factors<br />Building forecast spreadsheet for best-case, worst-case, and average-case sales scenarios<br />Continual review of competitor decisions<br />Assuming each competitor would make best possible R&D moves<br />Best-case scenario: Production<br />Worst-case scenario: All other departments<br />
R&D and Forecasting PerformanceCustomer Buying Criteria (Customer Survey)<br /><ul><li>Problem:“Edge” sensor line not in line with strategy
Solution: Reposition to High segment</li></li></ul><li>VP, Customer AcquisitionMeredith Curry<br />Customer Awareness≥ 90%<br />Customer Accessibility≥ 90%<br />Product Count≥ 8<br />SG&A Expense<br />≥ 7% & ≤ 17% of total sales<br />Market Share<br />≥ 22% of total sensor market<br />Highest Market Share in the Traditional, High end, and Low end segments<br />
Customer Acquisition<br />Key Success Factors<br />First-to-Market with Multiple High-Profit Sensors in Segments<br />2012 - Two highly-demanded sensors in Traditional Segment <br />2013 - Two highly-demanded sensors in Low end segment and two in the High end segment<br />Consistent Promotion and Sales up to or slightly above diminishing returns<br />Efficient Sales spending during Advanced Marketing<br />Sensor-cost/Customer-benefit analysis (MTBF cost vs. benefit)<br />
VP,Internal Business ProcessesVeronica Dang<br />Contribution Margin ≥ 36%<br />Plant Utilization ≥ 100% & ≤ 180%<br />Days of Working Capital <br /> ≥ 30 days & ≤ 90 days<br />No Stock-out costs<br />Inventory Carrying Costs ≤ 0.5%<br />Operating Profit<br />Cumulative Profit ≥ $135M<br />
Internal Business Processes<br />Key Success Factors<br />Automation: Determine Maximum Possible Automation<br />Production & Capacity: Forecast based on worst-case scenario to prevent high inventory carryover and low plant utilization<br />A/P: Work with Finance department and suppliers to control leverage<br />
Internal Business Process PerformanceContribution Margin, Plant Utilization, Days of Working Capital, Stock-out Costs, Inventory Carryover<br />
Learning and GrowthHuman Resources<br />Train Employees – two weeks each year<br />Recruit – best employees possible<br />Negotiate Fairly – aim for wages, raises & benefits between current contract and labor-demanded value<br />Offer - comparable wage, benefits, profit sharing, and raise rates until complement is below 300 employees<br />Overtime – aim for zero, to maintain high productivity and low turnover<br />
Learning and GrowthTotal Quality Management<br />Heavy spending, as Finance dept. goals permit<br />Up to $4M for each initiative, optimally split evenly over three years to maximize impact<br />Material cost reduction, Labor Cost reduction and Demand Increase benefit every product line<br />R&D cycle time reduction benefit product lines targeted at High end and Traditional segments<br />Admin. Cost reduction is lowest<br /> priority, but TQM brings down<br /> total Admin cost by net ~$4M<br /> over 5 years<br />
Learning and Growth PerformanceEmployee Turnover, Employee Productivity, and TQM Initiatives<br />
VP, FinanceMuhammad Soomar<br />Market Capitalization<br />≥ 30% of the sensor industry<br />Sales<br />≥ $181M annually, on average<br />No Emergency Loans<br />
Finance <br />Key Success Factors<br />Raise Capital <br />Policy for Working Capital & Cash Flow<br />Dividend Policy: When no additional debt is needed to fund operations dividend policy is set to achieve desired 1.8 leverage and to assist Internal Business Processes department achieve Days of Working Capital goal<br />
Continued consistent growth in sensor industry</li></li></ul><li>What we learned<br />Classroom Setting<br />End of Stockholder’s Meeting<br />
What We Have LearnedWhat We Would Have Done Differently and Will Apply to CompXM<br />Calculate inter-segmental sales<br />Rebuild forecast to calculate sales each month rather than relying on averaging monthly sales each year<br />Focus on the goals set forth by the Board of Directors<br />Capsim<br />50% importance: Balanced Scorecard<br />25% importance: Analyst goals<br />25% importance: Our own Measures<br />CompXM<br />100% importance: Balanced Scorecard<br />(STOCKHOLDER’S MEETING IS COMPLETE) (CLASSROOM SETTING)<br />
Break-even analysis<br />Forecasting<br />Evaluation of company financials<br />Balancing goals to maintain consistent and successful performance<br />What We Have LearnedReal World Applications<br />(STOCKHOLDER’S MEETING IS COMPLETE) (CLASSROOM SETTING)<br />
What We Have LearnedWhat We Could Have Done Better<br />Never completely trust a computer forecast - qualitative analysis is important!<br />Capsim never consistently forecasts.<br />Never over-rely on human intuition – if it is measurable, then measure it and control it!<br />Stock outs due to strikes<br />Never underestimate a competitor’s capacity to upset their overall performance to achieve a few goals<br />Boosting market share by cutting prices at the expense of profit, stock price, contribution margin<br />Boosting stock price at the expense of leverage and days of working capital<br />(STOCKHOLDER’S MEETING IS COMPLETE) (CLASSROOM SETTING)<br />
Wrap Up<br />Agenda<br />Goals, Strategies and Policies, and Performance<br />Future Plans<br />What We Have Learned<br />
International Sensor Conference 2011<br />Though Andrews, Baldwin, Digby and Erie have challenged each other for eight years, their executives continue to be close after the breakup of the monopoly in 2011. Management of Chester and Ferris could not be reached for comments.<br />