Ouch! That is the question I was asked by a producer in December 2018. Please allow me to put his question into perspective. He had suffered through four consecutive years of low milk prices, continually growing expenses (despite our supposedly have only “minimal inflation”), and no profits. These factors were the basis of his question, “Why bother?”
My response was fairly straightforward. If you measure Cash Flow, you can understand it. If you can understand it, you can control it, and if you can control it, then you can improve it! His reply? “Yeah, right…”
However, in my consulting during the past 22 years, I have experienced the difference that measuring items such as your cash flow regularly can make:
- If you measure it, you can indeed understand it. It allows you to catch severe cost increases quickly before they get out of hand. Since these changes directly impact your break-even levels, they flow directly toward the “bottom line.” You can also use these cash flow measures to set your milk price floor within the Dairy Revenue Protection program.
- If you understand your cash flow, you can control it. You’ll know exactly what steps to take to positively impact it. Looking at your break-even levels, you can determine just exactly what changes you need to make in order to achieve improved profitability.
- Finally, if you can control it, you can improve your cash flow results. Isn’t that the objective of every business operation?
I can’t emphasize the significance of this formula enough. The example I used above was just for cash flow, but it can also be applied to any number of other operational measurements. Here are a few examples:
- Financing – This type of CF Analysis has impacted a large number of my Clients during these past 22 years. Frankly, it has impacted every one of them to be more profitable. If there are any exceptions, that producer wasn’t very serious about making any changes. They were hoping for a miracle, getting better without changing anything…
- Nutrition – I believe that most Nutritionists do a great job. Given the dairy producer’s Revenue & Expense levels can equip them to do an even better job of helping you become more profitable. The resulting break-even levels of your cash flow analysis will tell them exactly what you can spend on feed and still make money. The days of just maximizing milk production “at any cost” are over. This tool of cash flow analysis can assist you & your Nutritionist to be even more successful!
- Advisors – Whether we are talking about labor efficiency or any number of managerial items, cash flow & break-even analysis will provide you with the tools you need to make smarter decisions. For example, what is the impact of adding one more employee in the milk barn on your CF or break-even levels? With this information at your fingertips, you will know. Considering that milk prices haven’t really increased anywhere near the proportion that your expenses have during the past 40 years, improved efficiencies are absolutely crucial!
Going back to the original question, “Why bother?” your very survival depends upon it. Based upon my experiences of the past 22 years, it will make a huge difference. If I can assist you with this analysis process, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-988-8960.
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