Paragraphs highlighted in green indicate diagrams or tables that can be shared in the “Case exhibits” section.
Paragraphs highlighted in blue can be verbally communicated to the interviewee.
Paragraphs highlighted in orange indicate hints for you how to guide the interviewee through the case.
Suggested case structure:
I. Economic comparison
First, the economics regarding the change should be considered:
- Costs of in-house maintenance vs. outsourced costs
- Payback time of in-house alternative
At this stage, the interviewee should ask for the main costs that the
in-house maintenance would require. You should first request an estimate of the main costs of the maintenance operation.
that can be shared on the interviewee’s inquiry:
- The required facilities can be acquired in two different ways:
- Scenario 1: Acquisition of the facilities
- Scenario 2: Renting the facilities
- Since the outsourcing costs are flat-rate per bus, we will also break down in-house costs per bus to be able to compare the two.
Share Table 1 with the in-house costs in both scenarios and Table 2 with the extern costs, if inquired.
The candidate should brainstorm before you share the information!
The candidate should be able to calculate costs for both scenarios.
A calculation method is described in Table 3.
In Scenario 1 savings would be $1m per year.
The investment would pay off in 3.5 years and therefore be below the amortization limit of 4 years.
A calculation method is described in Table 4.
In Scenario 2 savings would be $0.7m per year.
The investment would pay off in a bit less than 3 years, also below the payback limit stated.
This is a more subjective analysis of the change comparing advantages/opportunities against disadvantages/risks.
Scenario 1: In-house maintenance buying facilities
- BusCo would possess a very valuable real estate asset (worth $1.5m). The investment would be paid back in 3.5 years.
- Less dependence of facilities contracts and less vulnerability to changes in price or even to cancellation of rent contracts on behalf of the facility owners.
- If the in-house maintenance does not work as expected (because of a number of reasons like lack of capabilities and expertise, lack of qualified work-force etc.), BusCo would see itself with a “useless” real estate asset that it would have to resell possibly for less than the purchasing price of $1.5 million.
Scenario 2: In-house maintenance renting facilities
- More flexibility in case the in-house service does not work as expected. The facilities investment ($1.5 million) would not be required.
- Payback time would be better: less than 3 years against 3.5 years if buying facilities.
- If the in-house service works, then after 3.5 years the company would not own the facilities worth $1.5m as in scenario 1.
- Rent is very likely to increase after 5 years.
Scenario 3: Keep maintenance outsourced
- No upfront investment needed.
- Focus on core business: transporting passengers.
- Service will be likely unsatisfactory again.
- Decrease of revenues and loss of customers as a consequence of bad service and delays caused by poor maintenance.
There is no right or wrong answer as long as the decision/recommendation is well founded.
One possible closing for this case could be:
I believe that the BusCo should try to do its maintenance in-house next year. Indeed, it should buy the facilities it will need instead of renting them.
- The benefit analysis showed that investing in the in-house maintenance would respect the firm’s investment payback policy of 4 years.
- Although there is the risk of running a new business operation, we know that nowadays the outsourced service is a very low-quality one.cIt jeopardizes the reputation and customer loyalty of the firm. By running the maintenance in-house, BusCo would be able to set a high quality service standard.
- By buying the facilities instead of renting them, BusCo would have paid back the investment in a very significant real estate asset in as early as 3.5 years. This asset could even increase significantly in value with the real-estate industry seeing a boom in emerging markets (like Uganda).