Depending on the structure of a company’s investment portfolio, decision makers may need to apply different criteria in order to highlight differences in the value drivers of various investment types. For example, a strict focus on internal rate of return and payback time may systematically favor incremental improvement investments at the expense of larger breakthrough investments that tend to have longer-term and uncertain payoffs.
The process followed at a large mining client illustrates best practice. The company applies relevant, but different, evaluation criteria for each investment type. Efficiency improvement investments such as equipment upgrades are assessed based on their direct financial impact. Capacity extensions, on the other hand, are evaluated in the context of market assumptions, such as competitor capacity and the outlook for commodity prices. And long-term investments, such as R&D in digital technology, are weighed on the basis of strategic attractiveness and prospective longer-term options; financial returns are not part of the analysis. Such an approach ensures that the company chooses the best projects within each investment type without discriminating against individual categories.
Source: “The Art of Capital Allocation”
Original Publication: Boston Consulting Group
Subjects: Finance, Management, Strategy
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