Money talks while volume and value should run the show : An evaluation of financial parameters for decision making duringmanufacturing system acquisition

Abstract: Market economic values have for the last decades been given an increasing role with the establishment of financial institutes and global organisations with a capitalistic focus as a consequence. As a counter reaction, the concept of sustainable development has emerged complementing the economic focus with environmental and social aspects. However, there are still challenges on how to make balanced decisions based on all three view points and consequently the decision makers still primarily reside to the established tangible financial data. Within the industrial setting there is no difference. The manufacturing system design is based on multiple criteria and requirements, but commonly the final investment decision is primarily based on what can be financially justified. Longterm solutions probably lies in combining the tangible economy with the less tangible soft values that cannot be valued in monetary means. Therefore, to find this sweet spot, the purpose of this research is to in-depth investigate the world of economy, but from an engineers' point of view. A financial analysis is done to understand the economical components and how these are related to the manufacturing system. Furthermore, to connect cost with contributed value of the manufacturing system, a holistic business value chain analysis is done to ensure that less tangible aspects can be understood and utilised. The result of this research, highlights for example that sales volume has a larger impact on the manufacturing profitability, than that of the initial investment cost. Therefore, manufacturing systems should also be evaluated on the bases of how well it can meet the volatility in market demands. Another result presented is a portfolio of new graphical representation used as a support tool for investment decisions. Furthermore, to be able to invest in manufacturing systems that contribute to a more competitive company, the wider business value with manufacturing is discussed.