The foundation of the Atlas Group was laid in 1962 with the establishment of Shirazi Investments Limited with a capital of half a million rupees and three men doing business in trading shares and real estate in Pakistan. Now, Shirazi Investments is now one of the leading investment companies in Pakistan, engaged in trading shares, fund management, underwriting, real estate and warehousing. The company has played a key role in the promotion and acquisition of the Atlas Group of Companies. Shirazi Investments (Pvt) Limited, the parent company of the Atlas Group, started operations in 1962. It is engaged in capital market, fund management, under-writing, real estate, warehousing and venture capital investments to name a few of the operations. Shirazi Investments (Pvt) Limited took on the key role in sponsoring the acquisition of many group companies. Until 1978, when management agencies were abolished in Pakistan, Shirazi Investments also acted as managing agents for all Atlas Group companies. The growth of the Atlas Group is the result of its focus on good corporate governance. Today Atlas Group is a diversified group dealing in engineering, financial services and trading. It consists of seven public limited companies out of which six are quoted on the Stock Exchanges in Pakistan, and five private limited companies. Atlas shareholders equity now stands over 25 billion rupees; assets have increased to over 60 billion rupees; personnel strength is over 7000 and annual sales have crossed 60 billion rupees. The Group paid taxes of rupees. 15 billion over 2% of the total government revenues. All this progress is due to the Group’s reliance on the intellectual capital, dedicated efforts and team spirit of all the stakeholders.
Today my assignment research topics will talks about one of the subsidiary companies of the Atlas Group in Pakistan. The company that I chose for my research topic is called Atlas Battery Limited. The battery company is established in 1966 in Karachi, Pakistan. The company pioneered the manufacture of dry charged hard rubber batteries in Pakistan. It produced automotive and motorcycle batteries packs. The batteries are classified as light, medium and heavy batteries type. Now the company manufactures a complete range of polypropylene and hard rubber batteries which caters to the needs of passenger cars of varied capacities, trucks, tractors, heavy vehicles, construction and road building equipment, as well as host of stationary and industrial applications. Motorcycle batteries have also been added to this range. The company has always been at the vanguard of development in the automotive industry in Pakistan making great strides in the fields of research and development. The AGS brand has, over the years, earned a solid reputation as a product of latest Japanese technology with consistently high levels of performance and reliability. The sustained and continued high level of quality is ensured by Atlas Battery Limited’s Quality Department with its exacting standards and state-of-the-art lab facilities manned by highly trained professionals monitoring the quality of batteries being produced.
The focal point of the company’s philosophy is customer satisfaction through continued product excellence. Atlas Battery Limited is always aggressively pursuing new ways to serve the needs of the consumers better, and in line with that vision, Atlas Battery has recently test-marketed a new type of battery, which is set to become the industrial standard amongst the car manufacturers in the near future. Atlas Battery Limited aims at maintaining its lead in technology with the help of its in-house research and development program, interfacing with Japan Storage Battery Company Limited. Atlas Battery Limited’s technological superiority is matched by its vast national network of over 600 dealers and retail outlets ensuring availability and prompt delivery of its products. All our regional and zonal offices are equipped with service center and are staffed with trained to provide technical personnel to provide an efficient service backup. The technical personnel also regularly tour their sales and territories monitoring service needs, problem and trouble-shooting. Our associates are ably supported by a steady supply of instruments and equipment imported and supplied by us, to enable them to carry out testing and repairing services with prompt attention and efficient resolution of operational complaints.
Atlas Battery Limited ‘s goal is to achieve market leadership through technological edge, distinguished by quality service and customers’ satisfaction, emphasis on employees long term welfare and ensure adequate return to shareholders. It also aims to be a good corporate citizen of the society and country through harmonized endeavor.
Board of directors:
Chairman – Yusuf H. Shirazi
Chief Executive Officer – Talha Saad
Directors – Aitzaz Shabaz
– Hiroshi Tateiwa
– Iftikhar H. Shirazi
– Javaid Anwar
– Muhammad Atta Karim
Company secretary – Muhammad Iqbal
The company’s stand out points:
• Vast experience of more than 30 years, having been incorporated in 1966 in collaboration with Japan Storage Battery Company Limited
• Leading OEM & Motorcycle battery manufacturer in Pakistan.
• Pioneer in Dry-Charge and Heavy Duty Batteries.
• The only battery company in the industry having a joint venture with a foreign company (G.S. Yuasa Japan).
• The first company to launch free maintenance batteries in Pakistan.
• Equipped with sophisticated Laboratory having the latest equipment for testing the performance of battery and Spectrophotometer of testing metals engaged in manufacturing of lead acid batteries.
• The key technical and management staffs are foreign qualified and trained.
• First one to introduce UPS, CNG, Diesel & Rickshaw Batteries.
• Frequent visits by Japanese battery experts to ensure the international quality.
• Well-equipped In-house research & development facility.
• Automatic assembly plant.
• Obtained ISO-9002 Certificate for Quality Standard.
• Obtained World Quality Commitment Award, awarded by BID Madrid, Spain.
• Largest dealer and service network in Pakistan.
• The 2nd largest manufacturer of automotive batteries; therefore tries that much harder to beat the market leader in quality.
Photo sample of automotive batteries
Customers for light batteries:
• Atlas Honda Ltd.
• Dawood Yamaha Ltd.
• Delta Innovations Ltd.
• Fateh Motors Ltd.
• Sindh Engineering (Pvt.) Ltd.
• Super Asia Motors Ltd.
• D.S. Motors
• N.J. Auto Industries (Pvt.) Ltd.
Customers for medium and heavy batteries
• Honda Atlas Cars (Pakistan) Ltd.
• Pak Suzuki Motor Company Ltd.
• Indus Motor Company Ltd.
• Dewan Farooque Motors Ltd.
• Sigma Motors (Pvt.) Ltd.
• Ghandhara Nissan Ltd.
• Master Motor Corporation Ltd.
Competitor’s battery companies:
• Goliath Automotive Battery Company Limited
• Exide Pakistan Limited
• Pakistan Accumulators Ltd
• Qalandri Battery Limited
(Source extracted from http://www.atlasbattery.com.pk/)
b) Collection and Analysis of Data
Financial Ratio Analysis
A statistic has little value in isolation. Hence, a profit figure of 100 million is meaningless unless it is related to either the firm’s turnover (sales revenue) or the value of its assets. Ratios are very important in standardizing the numbers and facilitate comparisons. It will also reflect the weakness and strengths of the company. Accounting ratios attempt to highlight the relationships between significant items in the accounts of a firm. Financial ratios are the analyst’s microscope; they allow them to get a better view of the firm’s financial health than just looking at the raw financial statements Ratios are used by both internal and external analysts
• Evaluation of management
• Credit granting
• Performance monitoring
• Investment decisions
• Making of policies
Categories of Financial Ratios
The accounting ratios can be grouped in to five categories:
1. Liquidity Ratios shows the extent to which the firm can meet its financial obligations. An asset’s liquidity describes the ease with which it can be converted to cash. This ratio evaluates a firm’s ability to generate sufficient cash to meet its short-term obligations.
2. Asset Management Ratios shows that how effectively the firm is managing its assets. This ratio is used to measure the firm’s success in managing its assets to generate sales. For example, these ratios can provide insight into the success of the firm’s credit policy and inventory management.
3. Debt Management Ratios or also known as Solvency Ratio shows the extent to which a firm uses debt financing or financial leverages. It showed the company’s ability to meet the obligations created by its long-term debt. This ratio will indicate the company’s level of debts standing.
4. Profitability Ratios relates profits to sales and assets. Profit is the ease with which a company generates income. This ratio measures the company’s past performances and helps to predict its future profitability level.
5. Market Value Ratios are a measure of the return on investment. This ratio relates an observable market value, the stock price, to book values obtained from the firm’s financial statements.
(Source extracted from http://www.bized.co.uk/compfact/ratios/index.html)
Financial Analysis Comparison:
Liquidity Ratio Year 2006 Year 2007 Remarks
a) Current Ratio 1.53 1.24 Standard Ratio: 2. The ratio dropped from 1.53 in year 2006 to 1.24 in year 2007. Its liquidity position is weak.
b) Quick Ratio 4.86 0.38 The quick ratio dropped significantly from 4.86 in year 2006 to 0.38 in year 2007. The company ability to pay short term debts in weak and deteriorating.
Asset Management Ratio Year 2006 Year 2007 Remarks
a) Inventory Turnover Ratio 5.55 5.2 The ratio dropped from 5.55 in year 2006 to 5.2 in year 2007.This is not good because the company inventory’s ability to convert into cash is decreasing.
b) Days Sales Outstanding Ratio 13.96 11.9 The company is more effective in collecting receivables in year 2007 in comparison to the previous year.
c) Fixed Asset Turnover Ratio 5.04 5.1 The ratio is improved as in year 2006, it was 5.04 times and now it has been slightly increased to 5.1 times. The company is able to generate sales more from the fixed assets.
d) Total Asset Turnover Ratio 2.15 2.1 The productivity of assets in year 2007 is not as good as it was in previous years. In 2006, it was 2.15 times and now it has been decreased to 2.1 times.
Debt Management Ratio Year 2006 Year 2007 Remarks
a) Debt Ratio 53 55 This is not good as the debt of the company increased by 2% to 55% in year 2007.
b) Time Interest Earned Ratio 4.7 6.5 The company is able to cover the interest expense at a higher margin of safety.
Profitability Ratio Year 2006 Year 2007 Remarks
a) Profit Margin Ratio 3.42 5.5 The company has been successful in raising their sales to 5.5 in year 2007 and thus increases the profitability.
b) Return on Asset Ratio 7.34 11.5 The company has been able to use its total assets more efficiently over these years and have been successful in raising net profit as well.
c) Return on Equity Ratio 15.62 26 The company has been able to raise the value of the investments by 11% in year 2007 made by the shareholders.
Market Value Ratio Year 2006 Year 2007 Remarks
a) Price Earning Ratio 9.5 11.7 The company’s earning per share has been increased by 2.2 to 11.7 times in year 2007.
b) Price Cash Flow Ratio 2.46 4.82 The company’s price per share has increased to 4.82 in year 2007.
5 Forces Analysis Method:
In this research, I will use the Five Forces model method as the framework for industry analysis. Just a brief introduction, the 5 forces model is developed by Michael E. Porter and acts as an analysis method that is used as business unit strategy tool to make an analysis of the attractiveness value of an industry structure. (Michael Porter). The five competitive forces model is probably one of the most often used business strategy tools and have proven its usefulness on numerous occasions. Porter’s model is particularly strong in thinking outside-in. The Five Forces Analysis helps the marketer to contrast a competitive environment. It has similarities with other tools for environmental audit, such as PEST analysis, but tends to focus on the single, stand alone, business or Strategic Business Unit rather than a single product or range of products. The competitive forces analyses are made by the identification of 5 fundamental competitive forces as shown in the diagram below:
(Source from training material handouts on Topic 5: IS and Competitive Edge, by Mr. Low Kok Han)
As you can see from the diagram above, the 5 forces analysis looks at the key areas namely the threat of new entry, the power of buyers, the power of suppliers, the threat of substitutes, and competitive rivalry. These 5 forces elements are major challenges that are faced by any business company around the world in today’s time.
• The threat of new entry
o Profitable markets that yield high returns will draw firms. This results in many new entrants, which will effectively decrease profitability. Unless the entry of new firms can be blocked by incumbents, the profit rate will fall towards a competitive level. It is not only incumbent rivals that pose a threat to firms in an industry but the possibility that new firms may enter the industry also affects the market competitions.
o All products are subject to rivalry including baterries. If a new battery company emerged in the market with a better product or cheap pricing, it will definitely affected the sales of Atlas Battery Ltd company.
• The power of buyers
o The power of buyers is the impact that customers have on a producing industry. In general, when the buyer power is strong, the relationship to the producing industry is near to what an economist terms a monophony – a market in which there are many suppliers and one buyer. Under such market conditions, the buyer sets the price. The buyer power is high when the customers have many choices of whom to buy from, and low when the choices are few.
o The customers are the main battery buyer. Without them, there will no sales achieved. Atlas Batteries Ltd need to produce the best products with quality with the best price in order to keep the customers satisfied.
• The power of suppliers
o A producing or manufacturing industry requires raw materials such as labour, components, services, machines, and other supplies. This requirement leads to buyer-supplier relationships between the industry and the firms that provide the raw materials used to create the products. Supplier’s power, if it’s powerful can exert an influence on the producing industry, such as selling raw materials at a high price to capture some of the industry’s profits. The supplier power is high when buyers have few choices of whom to buy from, and low when there are many choices.
o Batteries are made from different components and Atlas Battery Ltd need to source different suppliers for the best pricing for raw materials. Therefore the networking and relationship between suppliers must be wide and strong.
• The threat of substitutes
o The existence of close substitute products increases the propensity of customers to switch to alternatives in response to price increases.To the industry, a threat of substitutes exists when a product’s demand is affected by the price change of a substitute product. A product’s price elasticity is affected by the substitute products – as more substitutes become available, the demand becomes more elastic since customers have more alternatives. A close substitute product constrains the ability of firms in an industry to raise prices.
o A clone battery product will definitely brings threats to the sales of Atlas Battery Ltd because of the pricing and quality issue.
• Competitive rivalry
o For most industries, this is the major determinant of the competitiveness of the industry. Sometimes rivals compete aggressively and sometimes rivals compete in non-price dimensions such as innovation, marketing and others. This is what we called competitive advantage. This is most likely to be high where entry is likely; there is the threat of substitute products, and suppliers and buyers in the market attempt to control. This is why it is always seen in the center of the diagram.
o Atlas Batteries Ltd faced a lot of competitions in the battery market from Goliath Automotive Battery Company Limited, Exide Pakistan Limited, Pakistan Accumulators Ltd, Qalandri Battery Limited and others. The competitive edge is very important to keep Atlas Batteries Ltd company in front of their competitors.
c) Application of concepts:
IT System Recommendations
The management of Atlas Batteries Ltd is aware of the escalating costs in every aspect such as raw materials, distribution and so on in the industry market. The management plan to reduce the necessary costs of the company in order to compete in the competitive environments, judging by the current economic turmoil. From the company’s profit and loss statement, the cost that can be likely reduced is the raw material cost which will lead to reduction in the production cost.
In this research, I would propose an IT product solution in order to achieve the management plan to reduce the raw material cost. After the initial requirements study and financial analysis, I can conclude that the raw materials cost are the most expensive cost and the major obstacle for the company to achieve higher profits. The company purchased $1,019,970,000 in raw materials in year 2006 and the cost escalated to $1,294,026,000 in year 2007. This showed an increase cost of 27% or $274,056 in raw materials purchasing and the figure is going to increase in years to come. In view of this, the management needs to be aware of the current economic condition and make provisions to counter the raw material cost in case of price increase.
The system that I would like to propose to the management of the Atlas Battery Ltd is the Central Purchasing Management System (CPS). This system will integrate all the purchasing order in an online central products portal. Every supplier companies of various raw materials related to Atlas Battery Ltd will be given online access to the particular portal and will be able to view the current stocks information and condition level that Atlas Batteries Ltd had in the company’s database. The requirement of the portal accessibility is internet connection. If any of the stocks are found not at sufficient level, the suppliers can make a submission or proposal for the purchasing manager to decide. The purchasing manager does not need to go or make a call to various supplier companies to enquire about the needed information with this new system because he can make the purchase directly based on the submissions placed by the various suppliers from the information portal. He will able to see all the information such as stock code, quantity, stock arrival, stock types and pricings in the portal itself and have the choice to choose which suppliers he wish to make purchases. Thus it reduces the traditional purchasing method’s hassles such as making calls, invoicing, ordering and follow up. All the information details will be tracked, recorded and stored for management viewing purpose. The information will be stored on a separated secured database in the IT department.
This system will be able to provide various reporting such as inventory reports, management reports and others as well. After the order is placed, the suppliers can view the order and proceed with the necessary preparation to deliver the raw materials on time to the company. Once the order is confirmed by the purchasing manager, the order will proceed to the account department for verifications, approval and make payments upon product deliverance. A copy of purchasing summary reports will be extended over to the management for their record keeping on monthly basis via email.
This system will able to cut down the costs of papers, telephone billings, manpower, resources and time as well. This new system will bring more benefits and the offered system functions will help to reduce a lot of cost in future. This system also helps to improve the overall purchasing process, reduce the response time, produce accurate results and increase the productivity activity. Atlas Batteries Ltd will be able to save certain costs in purchasing in long term run.
Sample of CPS Process Flow:
(Source extracted from http://www.kensoftsolutions.com/Prod02-cps.html)
System Installation approach:
I would like to recommend Atlas Batteries Ltd management to purchase the CPS system directly from the software company because of the following conditions as stated below:
Advantages of system purchase:
• Ready made product available for set up
• Faster installation time
• Provide support maintenance
• Provide installation and trainings
• Expertise to resolve the technical issues
Disadvantages of in house system developing:
• Extra recruitments, supervision, and personnel management responsibilities.
• Long-term expense of maintaining a technical staff.
• No contractual (legal and financial) leverage over development, implementation, and maintenance.
• Possibly a lower level of productivity than with contractor personnel and thus higher development cost.
• Staff turnover and training requirements.
Cost & Benefit Analysis
A cost benefit analysis is done to determine how well, or how poorly, a planned action will turn out. This analysis is a powerful, widely used and relatively easy tool for deciding whether to make a change. Cost-benefit analysis is mainly, but not exclusively, used to assess the value for money of very large private and public sector projects. This is because such projects tend to include costs and benefits that are less amenable to being expressed in financial or monetary terms (e.g. environmental damage), as well as those that can be expressed in monetary terms. Although a cost benefit analysis can be used for almost anything, it is most commonly done on financial questions.
Sample of Cost Benefit Weighing Scale:
(Source extracted from http://www.12manage.com/methods_cost-benefit_analysis.html)
CPS System Price (Including training ) $ 100,000
10 network PCs with software @ $ 2,500 each $ 25,000
2 Database server @ $10,000 each $ 20,000
3 network printers @ $ 800 each $ 2,400
Cabling & installation @ $10,000 $ 10,000
3 years maintenance support @ $ 5,000 $ 5,000
Total cost: $ 162,400
As you can see from the CPS system costing table above, the pricing reflected is economical and the system can be used to save a lot of costs in a long term run. The system is available for 24 hours * 365 days and can be used for number of years to come. It’s easy to use and can be done by one person through a single click in the system to make purchases. There’s no need to call the suppliers, fax, invoice orders, paper works, and so on. Definitely the benefits of this system outweigh the cost of the system in long term. The pay back time of the CPS system cost can be achieved easily in few months time after the implementation. Everything will be controlled, tracked and logged for monitoring purpose by the management. The system will increase the battery production and cut down the overall cost of goods produced. Suppliers and Atlas Batteries Ltd can interact better through this system.
Benefits of CPS system introduction:
• User friendly and easy to use
• Faster purchasing process
• Increased battery product production
• Better networking and relationship with suppliers
• Centralized the purchasing process into a single process
• Better management of manpower and time resources
• Process control is in place.