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Dashboard Logistics Inc. (DLI) Case Study
ACCT 2301 Fall 2022

Dashboard Logistics Inc. (DLI) is looking to revolutionize the supply chain market by reducing
the complexities that smaller firms experience in the supply chain process. Typically, “start-up”
firms have to hire their own team for this process, or hire consultants, which can add up to a
large item in the start-up’s budget. Start-ups today have to spend weeks researching multiple
companies to find every aspect of their supply chain: freight, storage, quality control, and
getting to the end customer. Many companies will not know their exact price for all of this until
orders are actually sent out. DLI, a Northeastern University IDEA venture, has taken the hassle
out of this process by finding all this information for a start-up based upon DLI’s creation of a
beta version of an online calculator (using proprietary algorithms) and an associated web-based
dashboard. Companies will be able to find all of this information in one place and be able to
know their supply chain costs beforehand. Start-ups will then be able to manage their costs and
cycle times more efficiently.
Currently, DLI gains customers through direct sales. They estimate it takes
approximately 16 hours of sales effort and the associated time to “on board” a customer. DLI is
targeting a narrow niche of customers characterized as having pre-packaged physical products
that require no additional preparation. They plan to attract customers who want to know exactly
when and what they are going to pay. DLI plans to grow with these customers handling their
fulfillment as the customer expands. As DLI grows, it will then plan to take on medium sized
companies who want to upgrade their supply chain process.
There are approximately 8,000 startups in the US today in which DLI can target. Based
on the company’s calculations, this is approximately $30 million in potential revenue. Secondary
research indicates that the average startup company starts by shipping 3,000 orders/month and
grows to 5,000 orders/month after one year.
DLI has three main competitors, Boatline which has their services online, but requires
customers to know both the location of their warehouse and how best to ship their products to the
warehouse. Choosing a warehouse can be one of the most costly factors in logistics. S-
Commerce includes the entire logistics process, but focuses mainly on e-commerce. Their third
customer, Jungle, prefers only large customers.
It is November and DLI is seeking a $10,000 grant from IDEA’s Funding Board to help
grow their company. DLI plans to use part of the funds to hire a designer to improve the user
experience. The improved user experience on the website will facilitate the process of gaining
customers. Currently, “on-boarding” customers takes a longer time because it is necessary to
walk customers through their dashboard. With less time spent on this process, DLI can focus its
time on gaining more customers. They also plan to use some of the funds to hire a programmer
to develop a sales tool to help DLI reach thousands of businesses that go through company
incubators and venture capital firms.
DLI also plans to use some of its sales efforts to start strategic partnerships with company
incubators to become preferred vendors and be able to reach more startups. Ideally, DLI plans to
be relevant to physical product companies at every stage of the supply chain. After DLI has built
up their user interface and has on-boarded 10 paying customers, they plan to target popular
newspapers, magazines and social media platforms to write content about the innovative nature
of DLI’s business model.
As part of the funding process, DLI has developed projected sales and expense forecasts,
with and without funding. These are displayed in Tables 1 and 2. As part of the stage gate
process, DLI has a meeting with the IDEA Board relative to their funding request, strategy and
projected business plan. In preparation for the meeting, the DLI team – largely current or
recently graduated software engineer majors at Northeastern University –has asked for your help.
As a student in DMSB and someone who has successfully completed the managerial accounting
course, they know that you can help them prepare for their meeting. You think that this is a great
opportunity for you to put your managerial accounting skills to work in an advisory role for these
entrepreneurs. Knowing the power of managerial accounting data, you anticipate the following
questions to be asked. You should prepare cogent answers to these questions, draw relevant
insights and provide any supporting exhibits and/or visualizations that you believe will
illuminate your analysis. You should use Excel for your analyses. In your advisory role, you
need to prepare DLI to pitch their idea for funding.

REQUIRED QUESTIONS
1. Describe the industry and the competitors in which DLI is entering. Discuss DLI’s
strategy to compete in this market.
2. In what specific ways – financially – would the grant funding help DLI? How would
this be expressed quantitatively? What further questions might you want to ask of
this venture (and is there any other types of data that you think would be useful?)
3. Classify the costs by behavior using number of transactions (customer orders) as the
activity. Be sure to provide both quantitative and qualitative support when applicable.
Does there seem to be an opportunity to substitute fixed for variable costs (or vice
versa)?
4. Prepare a contribution margin income statement by month with and without the
funding. Comment on DLI’s cost structure.
5. Calculate DLI’s breakeven point. How does breakeven with and without the grant
financing compare? Show your calculations in detail and provide any assumptions
and/or approaches that you took to frame an answer to this potential question posed
by the Board.
Assume grant funding for these questions
6. Which forecasts will the Board be most concerned about accuracy and/or not meeting
the projections? Why? How should DLI respond to alleviate some of the Board’s
concerns?
7. Prepare a sensitivity analysis (+/- 10%) around the average transactions per customer
for the Q1 forecasts (present as a contribution margin income statement). What can
you conclude from the sensitivity analysis?

*Transactions are orders placed by each customer with DLI.