Sengupta Fibres Limited And Insights From Working Capital Essay

Question:

Discuss about the Sengupta Fibres Limited And Insights From Working Capital.

Answer:

Current Situation of the company: The current situation of the company is worse than in the earlier years. As per the problem cited in the case study, the company cannot send its goods out of the warehouse until the excise duty has been paid to the excise inspector and as per the scenario it seems that the goods cannot be sent later than two days. Also, on discussing with the accountant of the company – Mr. Ashoka, to make the cash payment to inspector as excise duty for clearance of goods, the accountant has then disclosed that the company has been running out of cash. The company has been availing the facility of Line of credit through which it overdrawn the amount and has been promising to pay off the whole amount by November or December. The company has overdrawn the amount from the bank for three times and now the bank has decided not to grant the option of overdrawing from the account to the company until valid proposal with projections is received for future. The aforementioned case details that the company has been facing severe problem of mismanagement of cash.

Although the company has the policy of having at least 6, 40,000 INR cash on daily basis, still the company is facing the problem of shortage of cash. This is the major problem and the company is having bad liquidity position as on date.

Reason For Running Out of the Cash:

  1. The main reason is that the company has extended more credit period to their customers than the period enjoyed from their creditors. Due to which the company has to pay to their creditors on time and hence has affected the short term liquidity of the company. As per the schedule of cash receipts and disbursements it is clear that the company’s receives the amount from the customers’ equivalent to the 40% of last month sales plus 60 % of the sales made in the month before the last month and pays the amount to their suppliers equivalent to 100% of the purchases made in the last month. It depicts that the company has to pay to their creditors irrespective of the fact whether the company has received the amount from their respective creditors.
  2. The second cause is increase in the cost of goods sold running at 73.7 percent of sales figure. The percentage has been increased from the earlier years. This has been majorly increased due to frequent changes in the market. It facilitates the price fluctuations due to which the cost of goods sold increases. The company has not increased their margins corresponding to the increase in the prices of the raw material.
  3. The third reason is that the increase in the operating expenses. Operating Expenses includes all the expenses which are incurred to operate the plant such as salary to employees, repairs and maintenance to machinery, rent for the space, security expenses, selling and distribution expenses, financing cost, office expenses, expenses incurred for staff welfare and other related expenses.

Consequences for Running Out of the Cash:

Following are the Consequences that the Company will Face on Shortage of Cash:

  1. The company will not be able to meet its short term obligations such as payment to the suppliers, payment of taxes and duties levied on goods and services, payment of salaries to the employees, payment of maintenance fees and other short term expenses. It will hamper the short term liquidity of the company.
  2. The working capital cycle will be hampered due to which the company will not be able to function. As mentioned in the case study that the company will not be able to deliver the shipment for minimum other two days, it shows that the company’s working capital cycle has been greatly affected due to shortage of cash. The customers will lose their faith in the company which in turn have affected the company’s reputation in the market.
  3. Banks and other financial institutions will not support the company in future. The company has not made the payment of loan till December which otherwise should have been paid by October. Due to shortage of cash the bank has also restrict the company to transact with the bank until proper and actual forecast will be made available to the bank.
  4. If the company runs out of cash on regular basis without proper control then it will lead to liquidation of the company. It exhibits that if the company does not have an effective working capital cycle and effective cash management system then the company will not be able to function properly.
  5. Also the company will have negative rating in the market with reference to the ratings given by the banks and the customers.
  6. No one will like to invest in the company if the fact is listed on the website of the banks or of the company as per the regulatory requirements.

In a great haste, forecast has been made by Mr. Ashoka as per the instruction of the bank. On the first look over the financial forecast, the managing director of company Mrs. Sharma has disclosed that the forecast is very poor and bad and shows that the company will not be able to pay the debt by the end of the month of December. The forecast shows the following:

  1. The company has in the initial period of three months has suffered from net loss and thereafter has earned profits for five months and for the remaining four months has again suffered losses. The aforementioned figures shows that the company is seasonal factory which earns profit only for five month from April to August during the calendar year.
  2. Operating expenses are kept as same for all the months counting approximately as 6 percent of Sales figure. Operating expenses has been taken as lower in the forecast as against the 6.36 percent of gross sales (4159275 / 65349336 * 100) as operating expenses incurred in the year ending 1989. It shows that the operating expense has been underestimated in the forecast in relation to the sales.
  3. The amount shown in the liability side as “Note Payable – Bank” is the hypothetical figure and the same has been increased by 434 percent as compare to the amount actually mentioned in the year 1989. In the month from April to August it has been increased to a higher of Rs. 2.39 Crores. No relation has been made to sales or purchases about how much notes shall be utilised from the bank.
  4. Net Working Capital which is equal to the difference between Current Assets and Current Liabilities. It helps in knowing the short term liquidity position of the company. In the forecast, the net working capital is positive which shows that the company is solvent in terms of its obligation that will arise in short term in future.
  5. In the forecast it has been shown as per the earlier trends that the company has same procedure towards the cash collection from the debtors and cash payment to the creditors. No improvement has been shown in the collection and payment procedure. Due to this the company can in future face the problem of cash shortage.
  6. It has been shown that the company will repay the borrowings taken from the bank in the month of July and August amounting to Rs. 49.75 Lac and Rs. 98.27 Lac respectively. The payment has been made despite of the fact that these two months are their months of peak season out of the five months. During these peak seasons their purchases are high and they have to make the payment to the creditors. It depicts that the repayment has been made without proper justification and proper actions.
  7. Addition has been made in the Property Plant and Equipment in the month of March, June, September and December amounting to Rs. 3 Lac each and depreciation thereon has been claimed. No justification has been mentioned in the forecast statement as to why the assets have been so purchased at the end of each quarter having an equal amount.
  8. In the forecast, cash balance of Rs. 6.40 Lac has been mentioned in all the months. It has not varied according to the peak season on the company. The internal policy of the company requires that the cash balance shall not be less that Rs. 6.40 Lac at any point of time. But in the forecast it has been taken as the maximum balance that the company should have.

From the aforementioned points, it is clear that the forecast has been prepared without planning and projections have not been improved in the manner which suits the bank requirements.

Mrs. Sharma Alternatives for Actions

The main alternative that has been proposed by Mrs Sharma is that to avoid overproduction and overstocking of goods. It will facilitate the company to have reduced stock at the time when there is less demand for the product of the company. This has not been followed in the forecast and high level of inventory has been maintained during the slow season.

Secondly she proposed the plan of having the production of goods at the high level during the peak season. In this plan the plant of the company will work at the maximum capacity during the peak season and will work at ordinary capacity during the remaining part of the year. This proposal will automatically require the higher cost during the peak season and less cost during the remaining period.

The third and the last action is that the company maintains two warehouses so that the goods can be delivered to the consumers in time but due to bad transportation system and road connectivity the same could not be done.

The above are the alternative that Mrs. Sharma has decided in order to maintain the liquidity position of the company intact and at good level of metric.

Impact of Proposal over the Financial Needs of the Firm

First Proposal: The first proposal is from Field Sales manager. As per the proposal if the company extends credit of 80 days from the current credit period of 45 days then the company will become the supplier to the Pondicherry Textiles and the quantum will be around Rs. 40 Lac. This proposal will delay the payment from debtors for thirty five days which in turn leads to decrease in cash balance at the period end as no relaxation will be received correspondingly from the payment to be made to creditors. Thus, this proposal will decrease the short term liquidity of the company and increase the time of the working capital cycle.

Second Proposal: This proposal has been received from the transportation manager and has revealed that the road between New Delhi and Kolkata has been improved which ensures that the goods will be made available in the due time. Also one of the suppliers is consistent in timely delivery of the goods and made available as and when required by the company. Thus it is advised to have 30 days inventory instead of 60 days inventory. This proposal has the effect of decreasing the working capital cycle and helps in reducing the operating expenses relating to holding and carrying of inventory and thus helps in resolving the problem of shortage of cash.

Third Proposal : This proposal has been received from Purchasing Agent in which the Hibachi Chemicals of Yokohama will supply the raw material to the company on JIT (just in time) basis. The raw material so supplied counts for thirty five percent of the total raw materials used by the company. In case the supply if made is on just in time basis and is as per our requirements then the company can approach them for supply of the materials. Also in case the deal is materialised then the level of inventory outstanding for such raw material will be decreased from current sixty days to only two or three days. This proposal will lead to decrease in the operating cycle and will help in reducing the inventory carrying and holding cost. It will also have the effect of keeping the cash balance at the year end and maintaining the short term liquidity.

Fourth Proposal : This proposal has been received from the Operation Manager. According to this proposal the gross profit margin can be increased by two or three percent. This can be achieved by following ways:

  • Having the permanent work force during the year instead of hiring the temporary work force during the peak season of two months.
  • Eliminating the need of getting the temporary staff trained during the peak season. This will further reduce the cost of training the temporary staff and cost incurred for maintaining the set up of training.
  • Manufacturing should be done at the level which fulfils the requirement of the company. It should be done at the economic order level.
  • Load of manufacturing should be spread throughout the year and should not be made specific to few months. It will help in reducing the breakdown time of machines, running and maintaining cost of machines and other equipments and other related costs.

This proposal focuses on the importance of having permanent work force rather than the temporary work force and has also cited that the union have mentioned that if the seasonal layoffs are reduced then they will ready to do work at the negotiated price. With the application of this proposal the company will not only save operating costs but also builds the labour force of the company for future.

Actions / Strategies Required by the Company

Every banker and financial institutions who lends the money to the bank has only motive that the amount advanced as loan shall be timely paid off and shall meet the terms and conditions laid by the bank at the time of sanction and thereafter if any. In the given case the company has overdrawn the amount from the bank for three times in few weeks and despite of regular commitment was unable to pay off the amount of debt.

In order to carry on the loan the bank has asked the company to prepare the forecast financial plan which can show that the company will be able to pay the loan by the end of December. Along with the financial plan the bank requires the justification for each and every figure shown in the financial forecast to whether the same is feasible or not. The bank requires the company to analyse their operating cycle with the help of trained professionals to check where is the lag due to which the company is facing the problem of shortage of funds. For instance, if it is observed that the company has a system in which they have to make payment to the creditors at the earliest and receives the payment from debtors later. This will help the company to mould their policy according to the nature of their business and adopt strategy which could help in reducing the collection period and increasing the payment period. Secondly company should check the data of the competitors operating in the same industry to know how they are surviving as cash rich company. This helps the company to make the strategy which can help them in maintaining the minimum cash balance at every point of time. Thirdly the company should maintain the statutory accounting ratios at the level considered as best as per the relevant norms of the industry. For instance, the company should maintain the current ratio, working capital, liquid asset ratio, average collection period, average payment period and debt to equity and other ratio as per the requirements. Variations or deviations in any of the financial ratio shall be considered seriously and ways shall be immediately identified and applied to remove the deficiencies if any. For instance the current ratio is less due to decrease in current assets or increase in current liabilities. The measures should be identified to rectify the same. Fourthly, the company manage the problem of cash. Cash is a current asset and is regarded as the most decisive factor in determining whether the company has strong short term liquidity position or not. If the cash has not been managed properly then the whole purpose of banking will be defeated. Fifthly, the company shall maintain proper inventory levels and shall be profit making entity irrespective of the fact of having peak season later on. The company shall earn profit at all the point of time. Bank will be ready to entertain those entities which have the prospects of having future and are also currently earning profits. Company having losses and negative cash balance cannot enjoy any facilities of the bank. At last the company shall have proper supply chain management function which plays important role in the cycle as without the proper supply chain the company will not be able to produce the goods and thus will not be able to supply to the customers.

Thus, the aforementioned actions should be adopted by the company from the point of view of bankers.

Abstract

Every company shall have proper internal control system and policies within which the company has to function in an efficient manner. The system shall be for all function of the company such as production department, sales department, marketing department, finance department and other department depending on the nature of business of the company and the industry in which the company operates. Through this paper, emphasis has been laid upon the working capital. It describes how working capital management plays vital role in the effective functioning of an organisation. With this description the insights have been given for M/s Sengupta Fibres Limited in order to make the company competent and effective so that it will be able to gain the confidence of their bankers and getting the loan request approved.

Working capital plays an important role in the effective working of the organisation. Managers at top level of management should consider the working capital as the decisive factor of determining whether the company is managing their function in an efficient and effective manner. Working Capital cycle denotes the time period taken by the company to convert their assets and liabilities into the cash. It starts from procurement of the raw material from the supplier and goes through the various process of production and ends when the amount is received from the customers. Each stage requires time and it should be kept at the minimum so that the company will be able to generate its cash in the shorter period of time. In order to have an effective working capital cycle all the functions of the organisation should in collaboration discuss all the concerns about the working capital and adopt the steps for its measurement and corrective action thereof if any. Managing the working capital is complex task and varies according to the nature of business of the company and industry within which it operates. For instance Cold Storage Company has to wait for six months to get their assets converted into cash. It is because they have to preserve the goods for at least six month and sells them at the peak period whereas Company manufacturing auto parts does not have to wait as the company manufactures the same only when it receives the order from the customers and once the product is ready, it is sold and the amount is received from the customers depending upon the terms and conditions. Thus, the nature and time of working capital cycle depends upon the nature of business of the company. As per the exhibit shown, each industry has different cash conversion cycle period. For instance, healthcare industry has 179 days cycle for cash conversion whereas consumer staples industry have only 51 days of cycle for cash conversion.

In the current scenario, along with the financial accounting, the company is interested in knowing the results that serves the purpose of the management which is known as Management Accounting. Management accounting is the branch of accounting which helps the company in knowing the effectiveness of the internal working such as average collection period from debtors, average payment period to creditors, the time taken by the production department to produce the goods, daily position of the cash and bank in the books and other related objectives. With this emerging area, the managers of the company are placing more emphasis on the terms such as EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization). In many cases managers have taken the initiative to manage the working capital cycle and have end up with the earlier practices which is being followed by the company. For instance the manager of one company in the urge to keep the inventory at low level has reduced the level to that point where it has become dangerous for the company to survive and has returned back to the procedure that is being followed by the company. Thus, the actions should be taken with proper care and detailed discussion with all the managers operating different functions of the organisation. Rayen Davies and David Merin in their publication of Mc Kinsey and Company have very well described the ways and methods that the company shall adopt in order to have an effective working capital management.

FTN–RatheeshNair, Working Capital Management. Calicut: Reserved, 2011. Accessed June 29, 2016.

Helping Sengupta Fibres Limited to get the Loan Request Approved

The detailed analysis can help the company in improving their working capital cycle and eradicating the problem of shortage of cash. Following are the ways through the company can have optimum working capital cycle:

  1. Reducing the Inventory Level: Currently the company is keeping the inventory level of 60 days. It is suggested that the inventory level shall be reduced. In order to take decision about the reduction in the inventory, the company shall not only involve the Production Manager but should involve all the managers from finance department, operations department and other related department. The level should be decreased after having proper calculation of the time taken at each stage. It is because sometimes the inventory level is reduced at the level which is considered as dangerous for the company.
  2. Collection of Data : Managers of the company shall have the required data on timely basis. The data includes information about the time consumed at each level of activity from procurement of raw materials to production of finished goods, about the credit terms received from the supplier and terms allowed to the customers and other related areas. In most of the cases it has been examined that the managers failed to obtain the data on areas of operating cycle due to which he left unable to manage the operating cycle. Therefore, relevant data shall be collected in time. The company can have and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system in its framework so that every policies can be adhered to. In case any delay is observed in the production or it is observed that unused inventory is lying in the production department then the same can be easily tracked and rectification measures can be adopted thereon making the company’s operating cycle effective.
  3. Determining and Establishing the Meaningful Targets: Targets are the standards which the company shall be adhered to. Targets are defined by the company so that the objective can be met. It should not be done on hypothetical basis rather it shall be done by adopting clean sheet approach. In this approach managers create the business processes from the beginning assuming that there are no restrictions and define the operating cycle on the basis of their understanding of the business. To set the target they reviewed the past performances of the company. For instance the company is holding 60 days inventory for so many years, the target may be kept at 55 days. Thereafter, they check how much the company should have the inventory levels in actual. If it is determined that only 30 days inventory is required to be maintained after adding the minimum stock level then the gap of remaining 25 days will help in generating rupees of cash to the company. Similarly, credit terms may also be defined such as company may set target to receive the payment from customers within 40 days and in actual it can be 30 days then the remaining 10 days can generated millions of rupees to the company.
  4. Maintain the Working Capital Cycle: Most of the companies set the target and achieve the target in true spirits but failed to carry on the same in future. This can lead the company to go back to the stage from where it has been lifted and sometimes go to the stage even worse. Therefore, the company shall maintain the targets and the spirit among the managers to achieve the same and finding out the ways to manage the working capital cycle of the company more effectively. For instance many companies turned out with failures due to mismanagement of working capital. It is because they don’t keep the track over the accomplishment of the targets and more often don’t try to find out the ways in which the cycle time can be reduced. Therefore the momentum to maintain the cycle and achieve the targets should be maintained by the company.

The aforementioned variables are mentioned by Merin and Devies. It has very well stated that if the company was able to manage the working capital cycle then the company will automatically generates lucrative benefits and maintains the required cash balance at the level which is beyond the expectation of the managers of all the departments and the company itself. Aloca, an aluminium company has been facing financial crisis in the year 2009 and has taken step to lay down emphasis on the working capital cycle. The result has been the lucrative for the company generating millions of dollars by unlocking the blocked funds and has reduced the cycle time to an unexpected deliverables.

FTN – Ryan Devis and David Merin, “Uncovering Cash and Insights from Working Capital”, Corporate Finance Practice (2014): 1 – 6

Bibliography

  1. Davies Ryan and Merin David, “Uncovering Cash and Insights from Working Capital”, Corporate Finance Practice (2014): 1 – 6.
  2. Nair Ratheesh, Working Capital Management. Calicut: Reserved, 2011. Accessed June 29, 2016.
  3. Preve Lorenzo and Allende Virginia, “Working Capital Management”, Oxford University Press (2010): 60-97.
    Suvova Helena, Working Capital Management, Guest Lecture, Czech University, 2007.

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