Danforth Manufacturing Company (DMC) develops, produces and sells lines of photovoltaic storage cells (solar powered batteries) for use in various consumer, business, and aerospace products. The company was founded in 1978 as a solar power industrial products company, and added three major divisions through acquisitions:
- Consumer Products in 1986
- Aerospace in 1998
- Medical Products in 2006
Concept of Operations
Current Financial Status and Strategy
2011 Sales: $520 Million
2011 Profit: $33.4 Million
5 Year Growth rate: 13%
Cash on hand: $33 Million
The financial strategy of DMC is to improve our growth rate from 13% annually during the last 5 years to 15% during the next 3 years. Targeted marketing in our industrial and aerospace product lines is expected to support this growth. Cash generated from the anticipated growth will help fund planned acquisitions as well as ongoing research and development efforts. This growth rate will not include growth from acquisitions.
DMC Organization Chart
DMC Executive Team Profile
Richard Danforth – President CEO
Richard Danforth established DMC in 1978 and has grown it into a multimillion dollar business. Mr. Danforth has attained his astute business knowledge from his hands-on management style and previous experience in the manufacturing industry. Mr. Danforth’s tenacious approach to business has spurred three acquisitions by DMC, expanding the company’s product lines to include consumer products, aerospace and medical products.
Jim Gorman – CFO
Mr. Gorman joined DMC in 1988 as VP of Manufacturing. He assumed his current position in 1999 From 1988 to 1999 Mr. Gorman filled many different roles within the company as it experienced steady growth. Prior to 1988 Mr. Gorman was a Manufacturing Manager at Deere & Company, in Moline, Illinois. Mr. Gorman has a Masters degree in Finance from the University of Illinois.
Kate Jarvis – COO
Ms Jarvis joined DMC in 1999 as VP of Manufacturing & Operations. She was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2002. Ms. Jarvis came to DMC from Unilever where she was the Director of Marketing for their home care division. Ms Jarvis has a Masters degree in Marketing from the University of South Florida.
Sam Young – CIO
Mr. Young joined DMC in 2005 as its Chief Information Officer. Since joining DMC Mr. Young has been involved in several streamlining initiatives and has been instrumental in identifying $4 million in cost savings from the companies use of information technologies. Mr. Young came to DMC from IBM consulting services. He has a Masters degree in Information Technology from Purdue University.
Gerald Montes – Chief Counsel
Mr. Montes joined DMC in 2002 as Chief Counsel. Prior to joining DMC Mr Montes was a patent attorney with the federal government.
DMC Market Outlook and Competitive Strategy for Solar Battery Products
Current market penetration by division is summarized as follows:
- Solar batteries for watches, calculators, radios, motion sensors
- Solar-panel portable power stations – consumer grade
- Solar-cells for residential, landscaping, and decorative lighting
- Solar-cells for street lights, 911 call boxes, security systems
- Solar-cells for golf carts and automobiles
- Solar-panel portable power stations – industrial grade
- Solar-cells for building power augmentation
- Solar-cells for satellite power panels
- Solar-cells for aircraft power augmentation (e.g., Global Hawk, Predator)
- Solar-cells for specialty space vehicles (e.g., Mars Rover)
- Hospital emergency generator adaptor units for solar panel hookups.
- Surgical suite operating lights with remote solar panel feeds (for field hospitals).
- New and replacement solar panels for surgical suite lighting unit.
- Surgeon’s light-beam headband with solar power from surgical suite lights.
- Replacement solar cells for surgeon’s light-beam headband.
Growth in photovoltaic storage cells:
Growth is this industry is predicted to grow steadily in the next 1-10 years because of increasing energy prices. Technology advances making these products better and more affordable will also contribute to growth because of increased market size.
Competitors in the photovoltaic storage cell industry:
Although there are several companies developing and selling photovoltaic storage cells the following vendors are DMC’s main competitors.
SB – Founded in 2002, Solar Batteries, Inc., (SB) is mainly focused on the industrial (including aerospace) market . To date they have maintained a 30% market share with growth in the 1-2% range.
Solar Cells R Us – This company has historically sold to the consumer market and is very competitive in their pricing. Solar Cells R Us has brought numerous advancements in solar cell technology to the market place and currently maintains a 45% market share in consumer products solar cells.
Addressing the competition
DMC’s focused approach will drive its success. The following are key points of differentiation, which provide advantages over competing competitors products.
- DMC has outstanding customer service.
- Targeting Aerospace, Industrial, Consumer, and Medical products separately provides focus for product development and sales efforts. DMC blankets several different industries and have more stakeholders to appease and thus creates potential conflicts of interest within a diverse customer base.
- DMC’s research and development division provides many breakthrough technologies in the photovoltaic storage cell industry. Our emphasis on research and development ensures that we stay several steps ahead of our competitors.
Relationship of Business Activities to Strategic Goals
The demand for DMC photovoltaic storage cell usage is spread across many consumer, business, industrial, aerospace, and medical communities. Many economic factors can affect the demand for DMC products. The general business cycle for photovoltaic storage cells is estimated to be in an expansion for the next 5 -10 years and to loosely coincide with the general US economy. Events and situations that could affect the forecasted cycle include additional technological advances in the solar energy field, increased focus on the environment, energy costs and availability, and unanticipated natural or man-made disasters. Additionally, by expanding the product lines across these various communities, DMC should experience less overall effect due to changes in economic indicators. Growth in certain communities could be spurred by economic factors that would precipitate stalls in other communities.
The business, industrial, and consumer sales’ cycles of DMC normally leads the US industrial business cycle by 3-5 months. If DMC’s sales in these areas fall off sharply for a period of 2-3 months it is highly likely that the general US industrial economy will slow down significantly in the next 1-2 months. Conversely, when these sales at DMC pick up sharply for a period of 2-3 months, it is highly likely that the general US industrial economy will experience higher growth rates in the coming 1-2 month period. DMC is a leading indicator in the industry forecast models since many of our products are used in the manufacture of other end user items. Being at the front of the supply chain cycle we will generally feel any economic effects at least 3 months earlier than our product consumers.
The aerospace and medical sales cycle of DMC is normally less dependent on US industrial forecasts. This sector of DMC has a greater volume of sales generated by government contracts. The economic factors that drive these contracts are generally less dependent on the industrial economic picture and are more spurred by diverse world events and public response to those events as measured by other economic indicators.
By having a consumable product that has many varied and as yet undiscovered applications, DMC is trying to ensure long-term success. Continued growth of revenue in the forecasted range significantly reduces DMC impact from downturns in the US industrial economy. Diversification into markets that are less dependent on the health of the US industrial sector helps to even out economic fluctuations. A continuing focus on product research and development and a controlled expansion/acquisition plan also contribute to continued economic success.
Business Partnerships and Alliances
DMC is continually working at forging relationships with our suppliers to establish solid and predictable supply channels. Through use of Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), DMC is able to reduce costs and better manage JIT manufacturing process. Suppliers can also opt to enter into non-disclosure agreements with DMC to be involved in the company’s research and development efforts.
DMC has a successful partnership with several universities to promote research in the solar energy field. Alliances with these universities have allowed DMC to host internship programs and promote interest in the areas of photovoltaic storage alternatives and uses for the alternatives. DMC has also benefited from attaining graduates that enhance the company’s research capabilities.
DMC is also very active in forming durable relationships with customers and establishing long term contracts that provide for steady and consistent production flows. DMC is following a strategy that provides mutual benefit to retailers that agree to stock only our solar cell product lines in their stores. Additionally, DMC is using targeted marketing techniques to city, county, and state governments for establishing durable contracts for use of DMC’s industrial product line that cover initial plans, maintenance, and renewal/replacement plans.