CASE STUDY

THE “SAFETY- DETECTION COMPANY”: “SDC”
2013
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CASE FRAMEWORK






PRESENTATION Page 2

THE PAST OFTHE COMPANY Page 3

CURRENT SITUATION OF THE COMPANY Page 5

THE COMPANY AND ITS ENVIRONMENT Page 6

INTERNAL SITUATION Page 9



























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PRESENTATION

This case deals with the real problems that a French company has been
recently faced with. The names have been modified, together with some of the
financial and marketing elements.

Thus, do not refer to what you could know in other respects about these
spheres of activity, even if the main tendencies have been respected.

Some of the elements evoked in this file are incomplete. Consequently, it
belongs to you when it is necessary to validate your perceptions by supporting them
with quantitative elements and credible assumptions.
























Company S.D.C.

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The Safety-Detection Company (S.D.C.) has been established in the South of
France since 1999. This company is specialized in the conception, the manufacturing
and the marketing of security systems intended for professional users or for private
individuals.

At the origin of the company, there is Mr. PERI, Director of the Research, for a
Canadian Laboratory, approved by the NASA, for the treatments of detection and
pressurization.
At that time, Mr. PERI worked out a detection system, which is activated by the
slightest change of pressure - or shock. This device was absolutely revolutionary; it
allowed a total safety never reached before. This sensor has changed a lot since
then, but the original principle has been preserved. In this business, whether it is
amateur, professional, spatial or military, everybody knows very well the “PERI
detection system”. Its extraordinary image has remained practically intact today.
Indeed, the risks associated with insufficient safety are such that specialists give the
greatest attention to the material.

In 1999, Mr. PERI created S.D.C., whose matter and specificities appear
hereafter. 30% of the capital is held by a financial group interested in the profitability
of invested capital.

As early as 2004, SDC had a very favorable position on the professional
markets, where it is necessary to control the pressurization and activation by shocks
techniques for planes, submarines and spacecrafts. Based near TOULOUSE, SDC
has an excellent image with the professionals. Although it is very often consulted for
all sorts of work or important project, this company is sometimes in competition.
Though much less powerful than its main competitor, it benefits from a greater speed
of reaction: works are carried out in less time and are delivered with a greater
regularity. This “turn-key system” activity, including tests, uses the products designed
by SDC of course.

The customers are countries as well as aeronautics, submariner or space
industrialists. The competitive advantage – even, for some missions, the
differentiated know-how - obtained by the cohesion of the team and by its mobility
has often been a decisive element of the choice of the customers. However the
market has tended to stagnate. That is why, as early as 2005, Mr. PERI, always
attentive to improve the performances of SDC, tackled the problem of fingerprint
recognition with an engineer friend of his, Mr. LEON, who recently joined his team.
One of the big problems to ensure the total safety is not only the detection of
anomalies but also the inviolability of the system. The team thus developed a very
effective, voice and digital recognition system. This technique has been patented
by SDC. Competitors have tried to copy the process, but until now, their results
consolidate the reputation of SDC material.

I – The Past of the Company

4


In those days, Mr PERI wanted to secure his company more by positioning it
on complementary markets and additional services. Besides “turnkey systems”
intended for professionals, SDC offered detectors and sensors, electronic power
stations for supervision and systems for fingerprint recognition for private individuals,
in 2006.Those actions were able to make it less vulnerable, with regard to the
professional market.

On that more traditional market, there are still the same types of needs today.

- Fitters, or distributors for private individuals, or companies, are specialists
in the field of protection of buildings and of private residences against
burglary.

- Insurance companies are interested in highly reliable products in order to
cut down the number of disasters to be refunded.

- Both of them are very satisfied with the services of SDC, which allow a
healthy competition and more varied choices according to whether it is the
technique or the price that represents the major criterion of decision.




























5








In 2012, the SDC Company carried out a sales turnover of 61Million Euros
with 405 people. The services of SDC are of two types.

- On the one hand, those intended for the market of the professionals
(Aeronautics, Space, Army….). They are turn-key systems. Each contract
is important and represents from 3 to 6 M €.

- On the other hand, those intended for the more traditional market of the
companies, communities or private individuals. They are the services
represented by three types of products:

- Fingerprint Recognition
- «FATHER » detectors and sensors
- Electronic power plants

To these products, designed and manufactured by SDC are added- if necessary – a
few trade products.


According to the destination of the services, the mode of marketing differs:

- For the professional market, there are direct contacts between Mr. PERI and
decision makers. These contacts, at the origin of the contracts (2 to 4 per annum),
are then given shape by the sales manager in charge of the professional market and
implemented by the teams of SDC fitters.

- For the traditional market, there are sales through retail outlets, canvassed
by the SDC salesmen, directed by a France sales manager. These selling points
referenced SDC as well as its two main competitors.











II – CURRENT SITUATION




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1. The Professional Market

The professional market is obviously a worldwide market. It is made up of
industrialists from aeronautics, submarine or space sectors. These industrialists are -
according to countries - companies of the public or private sector. The current
budgetary restrictions in the field of the armament are likely to cause a temporary or
lasting drop of the orders. It also involves a competing fight which modifies the
strategic context. Until then the market reacted strongly to offers in differentiation;
but, since 2007, price has become an important, if not vital, element.

This commoditization can lead - for company SDC –into the drop of the sales
turnover (from 10 to 20% per annum until 2016) and of the margins (an approximate
1 to 2% of profitability only over the next few years).

On this market the level of relative performances is represented by this diagram:


III – THE COMPANY AND ITSENVIRONMENT
Performance / Needs
Strong
Medium
Weak
Legend : S.D.C
Worldwide Leader
Other competitors
7

As shown in the preceding diagram, it is a fact that in this field the technical
requirements are very large, and all the products are perfect in quality, as a
consequence of maximum safety constraints:

- Working conditions are often «borderline»
- Safety constraints are very generously calculated: accidents can have
unacceptable human and financial consequences.
- Research for the improvement of the products is carried out permanently.

It’s a market of «system integrators » and not only of products manufacturers. The
products are integrated in the total service.


2. THE TRADITIONNAL MARKET

According Mr. PERI’s current choices, SDC is only active on the French market
whose characteristics are:

- A penetration rate still lower than that existing in other European countries
(4 to 5 times more equipped in collective: building, or private individual:
apartment/villa).

- The annual growth rate over the last 10 years is estimated an approximate
10 to 15% per annum

- This growth will be homogeneous in rural or urban environment, as well as
in new, restoration, or simply installation of a safety system against
burglaries.

The materials are much simpler than those used by “PROS”, but they benefit from
the professional improvements. The reputation of a company is boosted when it is
known it comes from the professional market.

The materials are classified in 4 categories:

- The very technical material: “Father detectors/sensors”

NB: A “father” orders from 5 to 10 decentralized sensors or detectors

- Electronic Power stations. Quality goes from reliable to not very reliable.

- Fingerprint recognition products: currently quasi-non-existent except the SDC
offer.

- Standardized secondary products bought by manufacturers at low prices
(trade).



8

* The Secondary products are on markets which become more and more
competitive because of the invasion of products made in Southeast Asia

* The electronic stations follow the same way. Because of technicality, we can hope
to preserve a few trump cards in terms of innovation capacity: that slight competitive
advantage allows their products to be chosen, even in case of equal price.

* The market of the very technical materials is less competed and this market is in
differentiation.

* The fingerprint recognition market knows no real competition today. It represents
a sales turnover, in France, of about 30 M € in the year 2016 and of 7.5 M € since
2013.

In fact, there is what we could call commoditization through the bottom; that is to say
through the secondary products, at medium-term by electronics stations, and in the
longer term towards the technical equipments.


SDC has acquired a decisive technological advance in the field of detectors/sensors.
That jealously kept secret concerns a completely particular technique. The deposited
patents have blocked imitations until now, and do not allow to understand, what this
famous KSF consists in. The advance of SDC is even more decisive with fingerprint
recognition.

The distribution system is represented by:

- 40 specialized retail outlets: they manage the approved fitters most of the
time thanks to their technical salesmen. Their sales are 40% of the sales
turnover of the activity.

- 100 “renowned” retail outlets even if they are not specialized. Their sales are
30% of the sales turnover of the activity.

- 300 commoditized retail outlets, among which the hypermarkets, whether
they are specialized or not. Their sales are 30% of the sales turnover of the
activity.

Advertising is principally made on specialized magazines.

Promotion is made through exceptional discounts in the retail outlets, special
payment conditions, improvement on the delivery conditions.

A few competitors provide free material to the purchasing advisors (architects,
companies of Building and Public Works Sector. These competitors make good
products but are not present on the professional market



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1 GENERAL POLICY

Mr. PERI has very strong technical skills. He makes it possible - thanks to a system
of delegation with his collaborators - to allow them a wide autonomy so that they can
motivate their staff themselves. For Mr. PERI participation at all levels, is a key
success factor. Bonuses reward original ideas and this participation is appreciated by
the staff. He permanently fights for development, technology and return on
investment. His shareholder for 30 % shares those objectives.

2 THE TECHNIQUE
The company production tool is in good condition and allows to face, if need arises, a
growth of about 30 %. Then an investment of 2.3 M € would be necessary to double
the capacity. In research and development an annual budget of 0.5 M. € is necessary
to preserve one’s technological advance. The technical manufacturing staff is
competent and can quickly exploit new ideas. The installation staff who works on the
professional market is excellent, but it will be not easily usable except as technical
sales representative. However, a fall of 6 to 7.6 M € in sales turn over on the "PRO"
market would not create major problems for the reconversion of the installation staff.

All in all, high-performance equipment, a good adaptability of the staff, a strong
flexibility, continual financial requirements in innovation and a possible investment in
production are to be planned.

3. THE COMMERCIAL

- The salesmen are more “technical tradesmen” than simple representatives.
They are, often - thanks to the information that they trace back - at the origin of
evolutions, on products (even commoditized), and, on adjustment of the service
policy (spare parts, snap answers).

- Good cover value of the company and good image with the purchasing advisors
(prescribers). A weak commercial presence on the commoditized retail outlets:
Numerical Distribution 10 %.

4. THE ORGANISATION

The staff is united and motivated. The information system is efficient. On the other
hand the control system can be improved, considering the specificities of the "PRO"
and Traditional markets.




IV – S.D.C INTERNAL SITUATION

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The general organization is well adapted to the current needs of the company.
However the characteristics of this type of company are such that - facing fast
evolutions of the environment which can lead indifferently to: a rapid growth (by
diversification or not), a regression or a rebalancing of the activity business –
temporary or even lasting loss of balance is not unlikely to occur.


5. THE DYSFUNCTIONS

They mainly originate from:

1°) A fall in profitability on the PRO market. The origin of this fault is the probable
need – in order to avoid redundancies- to preserve a minimum of sales turnover on
the PRO market. This obligation induces a cut on the sale price, thus, on the margin.

NB: This dysfunction could be avoided by making redundant part of the staff specialist of the
installation in that field of activity.


2°) A lack of performance in the electronic power stations. This dysfunction mainly
originates in a lack of presence in 90 % of the commoditized retail outlets.

NB: For SDC, one commoditized retail outlet can provide 0.15 M € of selling TO/ year. Could this
increase of the numerical cover (ND) damage the global image of SDC?


3°) An insufficient commercial action on the fingerprint recognition equipments. The
market is very eager for them today (see parag. 2: "The traditional market ") and
three technical sales representative specialists could be operational in less than 6
months.


4°) No activity outside France on the traditional markets, whereas the PRO image of
SDC worldwide could allow (subsidiary, importer, partner…) a fast setting-up in
Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Benelux of fingerprint recognition equipments.

NB: This fault particularly originates in Mr. PERI’s fear to tarnish its PRO image in those countries by
diversifying on the traditional market. But this brake is probably negotiable with Mr. PERI if the
arguments are relevant and coherent.











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6. FINANCIAL ASPECTS


6.1. SIMPLIFIED BALANCE SHEET (million euro M€)




ASSETS


10

11

12

LIABILITIES

10

11

12

Net fixed assets



Stocks

Practicable and
available

Customer balance


Other posts

Banks


9.1



7.6




13.8


1.5

0.8

10.7



6.1




15.2


1.8

1.2

11



5.8




16.7


1.5

1.5

Stockholders'
equities and
reserves

Result




Long-term
debts

Suppliers

Other debts

13.8



2.8




4.6


4.9

6.7

15



3




4.8


4.6

7.6

16.5



2.6




3.8


5.3

8.3

TOTAL


32.8

35

36.5

32.8

35

36.5
















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6.2 SIMPLIFIED PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNTS (M€)



Particulars


2010

2011

2012

Sales Turnover

Stock (variation)

Production

Cost of materials consumed

Gross margin

Expenses

Added Value

Personnel expenses &Taxes

Earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortisation

Depreciation

Intermediate Result

Financial Expenses

Net Profit before tax

54

5.3

59.3

23

36.3

11

25.3

18.3

7


1.5

5.5

1.2

4.3

56.4

1.5

57.9

21.8

36.1

9.5

26.6

19

7.6


1.5

6.1

1.7

4.4

61

1.8

62.8

24.7

38.1

11

27.1

19.8

7.3


1.5

5.8

1.5

4.3

NB: The activities are, at the origin of the following in M€

1. Very technical equipments: detectors / sensors, TO 12.2 M€, gross margin 1.4 M€ ( TO and
margin in regular growth)

2. Fingerprint recognition equipments TO: 2.3 M€, gross margin 0.5 M€ (TO and gross margin in
very strong growth). In 2009, the TO was only 0.3 M€

3. Electronic power stations: 18.3 M€ of the TO, a margin of 0.9 M€ in light regression, gross
margin in sensitive decline: 5% of the TO in 2009

4. Professional market: 28.2 M€ of the TO, gross margin 1.5 M€ (constant TO, gross margin in
weak regression: 7 % of the TO in 2009)




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6.3 SOME OF THE COMPETITORS’ FINANCIAL ELEMENTS

Here we deal with the main significant competitors: size or suitable competitive place.

Competitors

Financial elements
millions euro


Technical
equipments
Detectors/
sensors
PERES


Equipments
for
fingerprints
recognition

Electronic
stations

PRO
Market

TO (based on 100)

Profit before tax

Cash Flow

Interest Charges

Stocks

Accounts Receivable

Accounts payable



100

4

2.4

2

20

20

14



N

O

N

E


100

8

10

2

20

25

17

100

12

18

1

5

30

15



NB :

The competitors have long-term debts of about 50 % of their stockholders' equities.

The working capital finances stock by 90%.

The competitors’ profitability is obviously weaker than that of the SDC on its domains in differentiation.
It is not the case, of course, for the commoditized activities where the size and the effect of experience
discriminate SDC.