Share
Explore BrainMass

Madden International Strengths and Weaknesses

Madden International is a large ($7 billion sales), successful international pharmaceutical : operating in 23 countries with 15 autonomous subsidiaries. The corporate office consists of five i presidents who oversee the operations of the subsidiaries. These five vice presidents report to 1 executive vice presidents, who in turn report to the president of the firm.
The 15 subsidiaries specialize by pharmaceutical type and in some cases by country. The ] of innovation in this industry is very fast. In addition, each country has its own elaborate regt environment that controls new drug introduction, pricing, and distribution. Each market ha; I peculiarities concerning hospital drug purchases. It is an understatement to say that Madden 1 tional operates in a very complex world that change daily.
The corporate office requires each subsidiary to maintain an elaborate, detailed budget and control system. The following points summarize the budget and control system in each subsidiary
One-, three-, and five-year budgets are prepared each year.
The vice president overseeing the subsidiary looks for three- and five-year budgets that
stretch the subsidiary's capabilities. That is, subsidiaries are pushed to devise programs that
increase value.
These budgets are developed and approved first at the subsidiary level, then by corporate
headquarters.
Every three months the subsidiaries must reconcile actual performance to budget and write
detailed reports to the corporate office explaining variances and corrective actions to be
taken.
The corporate vice president assigned to the subsidiary makes quarterly visits for three days of meetings that involve extensive reviews of the budgets and operating results. These meetings involve all the senior managers in the subsidiary.
Subsidiary senior managers are not compensated or rewarded for meeting budget targets.
Rather, they are evaluated on their ability to develop new markets, solve short run problems, add value to their organization and to Madden International, and manage and motivate their subordinates. These performance evaluation criteria are quite subjective. But the corporate vice presidents have a great deal of in-depth personal contact with each of the senior people in their subsidiaries and are able to arrive at suitable performance evaluations.
Preparing for these meetings with the corporate vice president and developing the budgets
requires the involvement of all the senior managers in the subsidiary. One manager remarked, "I'd hate to see how much more money we could be making if we didn't have to spend so much time in budget and financial review meetings."
It turns out that Madden International is not unique in the amount of senior management time spent on budgeting and financial reviews. A survey of large, publicly traded U.S. firms supports the Madden system. Researchers found that innovative firms in complex environments characterized by high uncertainty and change used much more elaborate formal financial control (budgeting) systems than did firms in more stable, mature industries. Innovative firms seem to employ more financial controls than less-innovative firms.

Required:
a. List the strengths and weaknesses of the budgeting and control system at Madden
International.
b. Why might you expect firms like Madden International to rely so heavily on formal
financial control systems?

Solution Preview

a. List the strengths and weaknesses of the budgeting and control system at Madden
International.

One of the main strengths would be the level of detail and attention that is required to the budget. However, this can be a downfall as well. While it is important to maintain a budget that decreases the chances of variances to the greatest extent possible, when the time required to maintain the budget is excessive, the company begins to lose money. In this case, a detailed report is written every three months to the level where it requires extensive time. In general, even in the pharmaceutical industry, we would see the standard around every six months, and many companies don't reanalyze the budget more than once per year. Although there is no right or wrong answer for how often a company does this, the problem is ...

Solution Summary

Required:
a. List the strengths and weaknesses of the budgeting and control system at Madden
International.

b. Why might you expect firms like Madden International to rely so heavily on formal
financial control systems?

$2.19