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DDKM Casio Inc.: The Risk-Reward Trade Off From Operating Leverage*

ET Cases - GSMC, 6 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr.Deepika Dhingra - Associate Professor, Kirtika Malhotra - Assistant Professor - IILM Institute of Higher Education

Case Preview

DDKM Casio Inc.: The Risk-Reward Trade Off From Operating Leverage


The Confrontation

As a new hire at DDKM Casio’s (Pro audio and Audio Visual equipments manufacturer in India), Smith was perplexed with the task of evaluating proposals for enhancing the company’s production process. His production manager, Ariana suggested him to opt for a new technology that could create designer keys for DDKM Casio’s. Keeping in view the external and internal factors of the organization such as fierce competition, use of outdated keys and shrinking profits Ariana came up with a proposal of using a new technology which could lead to manufacturing of designer keys for DDKM Casio’s.

For quite some time the sales department proclaimed that revenues of DDKM were depleting because of using outdated keys than its competitors. Meanwhile, Ariana’s constant pestering for approving the proposal of using a better technology irritated Smith. She further mentioned how using a better technology might increase the fixed cost of operations but will help in decreasing the variable costs leading to an elevation in the margin per Casio. With the predictable boost in sales volume, there should not be any challenge in covering the elevated fixed expenses and still produce higher net operating income. Ariana knew of a resource who could help DDKM disassemble their old production line............................

Preparing the Presentation

Smith wanted to be just to Ariana’s proposal as it could prove to be valuable for the organization if the demand goes as expected and remove further hurdles in production. At the same time, he wanted to be sure that D.D Blair and K.M Cole, the CEO and CFO of DDKM, respectively, really understood the added risk the company would be taking by applying this change...........


Established in March 2008, DDKM Casio Inc Ltd. is a part of the DDKM Corporation worldwide group of companies and offers variety of Casio’s, Pro audio and Audio Visual equipments to the Indian market. It began its operations in October 2008 with its headquarters at Delhi.............

Current and Projected Sales and Operating Costs

Exhibit I presents a note from Jessica Hill, reporting pricing structure, current sales of Casio’s manufactured by DDKM, and anticipated sales if the technology suggested by Ariana, the production manager were implemented...........

Assignment Questions

Acting in the role of Smith, answer each of the following questions as the talking points for your presentation to senior management:

I. Validate the present and estimated (with the new technology) breakeven levels of sales reported by Jessica Hill. Calculate the degree of operating leverage (DOL) at the projected annual sales level of 4,000 units, using present and proposed technology. (assuming the firm could, in fact, produce units with the existing technology).

II. Analyze the computed DOL figures and elaborate the significance of the elevated DOL at the estimated sales level of the planned new technology.

III. ...................


Exhibit I: Memo from Jessica Hill, Chief Sales Officer

Exhibit II: Memo from Ariana, Production Manager

Teaching Note Preview

DDKM Casio Inc.: The Risk-Reward Trade Off From Operating Leverage



A concept that is uniquely covered in each textbook of accounting and essentials of finance is operating leverage which measures the degree to which a firm or a project incurs a combination of fixed and variable cost. This caselet studies the impact of changes in cost components on the Net Operating income of the business. This study extends the relationship between Sales and Net operating Income by illustrating a numerical and graphical example. Also, a teaching note is planned to provide a detailed explanation of the case to the instructor thereby giving students a better understanding of the risk-return implications of Operating Leverage.

Teaching Objectives

The case enables the students to learn:

1. Beyond the simple, end-of-chapter problems dealing with operating leverage, using a fictitious case involving a technically improved production process with higher fixed costs and lower variable costs to demonstrate the risk-reward trade-off implicit in the operating leverage decision. Students must not only compute the degree of operating leverage (DOL) with both the existing and novel technologies but also show graphically the greater risk-reward trade-off inherent in the new technology.

2. Demonstrate the notion of operating leverage as a decision criterion in analyzing a proposed change in the production process.

3. Use basic statistical analysis to examine the risk-reward trade-off from taking on a proposed new technology characterized by greater operating leverage than the firm’s current technology. [Note: The analytics of the risk-reward trade-off draws heavily on the discussion of operating leverage in Gia Chevis and John T. Rose, “Clarifying the Risk-Return Implications of Operating Leverage as presented in the Sales-NOI Relationship,” Journal of Financial Education, 39:1/2 (Spring/Summer 2013), pp. 66-78.] Also, to increase experience in investigative what if?” questions by varying the standard deviation of the probability distribution of predictable sales in order to see the implication for the risk-reward trade-off from the greater leverage of operations.


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Product code: FIN-2-0032, FIN-2-0032A


This arm chair case demonstrates the Risk-Reward trade-off implicit in an Operating Leverage decision by integrating sales-level probabilities into deliberation. This caselet aims to enable the students to compute and analyze standard degree of Operating Leverage computations and to perform basic analysis using statistical techniques. This caselet lets the participants understand how the variability in a manufacturing procedure leads to an impact on risk-reward. The skills achieved through this will help them in understanding the risk-reward implications of Operating leverage. The significance of Net operating Income (NOI) approach, identification of break even sales level and the implication of variability in degree of operating leverage can be taught using this caselet.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • Elucidate the impact of varying activity on contribution margin and net operating income
  • Draw and comprehend a total cost and revenue graph
  • To calculate the changes in contribution margin, net operating income resulting from alterations in volume of sales
  • Illustrate the impact on contribution margin of changes in varying costs, permanent costs, price of selling and volume
  • Evaluate the break-even point in unit sales, compute the degree of operating leverage at a particular level of sales and explain how the degree of operating leverage can be used to predict changes in net operating income
  • Explain the risk-reward tradeoff that comes from increasing operating leverage and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such an increase

** GSMC 2017, IIM Raipur

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