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101 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying A Manufacturing Company

101 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying A Manufacturing Company

As an M&A professional selling exclusively within the manufacturing sectors, I’ve compiled a list of questions that every buyer should be asking before acquiring a manufacturing company.

On The Company History

  • How and why did the company start?
  • What were the major milestones?
  • How much has it grown from inception until now?
  • Who are the shareholders?
  • Are they all on board with the sale?

On Strategy & Market Potential

  • What are the key risks to this business?
  • What are the major impediments to corporate growth?
  • Are you aware of any new technology that will disrupt the industry?
  • What markets exist for your products and services that you’re not going after?
  • What is the one strategy, if implemented, would be a game changer for the company?
  • What are the best opportunities for growth?
  • When was the last time you increased prices?
  • Do you feel there is room in your current pricing for an increase, without losing customers?

On Your Competition

  • Who are your three main competitors?
  • How do you differentiate yourself from them?
  • When you lose an order to a competitor, what is the most common reason?
  • Thinking of your closest competitor in size, what do they do better than you?
  • Who are the most dominate industry players? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • How can you better position yourself against the competition?

On Marketing

  • Describe any company marketing and advertising campaigns.
  • What is your annual marketing budget?
  • What trade associations do you belong to?
  • What is your level of participation in your trade associations?
  • Do you market to existing customers to obtain more work?
  • When was your website last updated?
  • Do you utilize social media? What venues?
  • Do you promote your business through Google AdWords?
  • Who handles social media for your company?

On Sales

  • Describe the typical sales process from order to delivery and installation.
  • Describe who on staff is dealing with the customer at every stage of the sale cycle.
  • Describe how a quote is generated.
  • Is your quoting system computerized?
  • How far back in history do you have quoting records?
  • Is there a minimum profit margin added to quotes?
  • Do you have a standard shop rate? What is it?
  • Do you track actual time on a project in comparison to the time quoted?
  • Do you have an inside sales force?
  • Do you have outside sales reps?
  • How is the sales force compensated?
  • How critical is the owner to the sales process?
  • Who besides the owner are the customers accustomed to speaking with?

On Operations

  • What industry certifications does the company hold?
  • Are there other certifications, which if obtained, would help the growth of the company?
  • What are the main production bottlenecks right now? What is the cost to remedy?
  • Any known or suspected deferred maintenance?
  • As to equipment, if money were no object, I’d _____________________. Why?
  • How many shifts do you currently run and what hours?
  • What is the remaining % capacity of the existing shifts?
  • What is the remaining % capacity of the current building and staff?
  • What would have to change in order to double sales?
  • Describe safety programs and training.

Human Resources

  • Do you use a professional payroll service? Who interacts with the payroll company?
  • Any union contracts? Any suspected union organizing activity?
  • Are there any employees who would be ready to retire in the next few years?
  • Do you have a plant manager? Describe their level of expertise.
  • Describe any training programs in the last three years.
  • Describe all employee benefits?
  • Do you have a bonus or profit sharing programs?
  • Do employees receive annual raises?
  • Are there any employees, (family members) receiving an above market pay rate?

Facility

  • Do you own or rent?
  • If owned, do you prefer to lease or sell and under what terms?
  • If you rent, what are you paying and when does the current lease expire?
  • Are there renewal options?
  • Describe the relationship with the landlord.
  • Any known or deferred maintenance?
  • Describe the top 5 facility needs.

Information Technology (IT)

  • What software systems are currently used in the business?
  • What are the top 5 tech needs for the company?
  • What software if installed would be most helpful to the business?
  • Does your current staff welcome technology improvements and changes?

Suppliers

  • Describe your supplier sourcing procedures? Who performs this function?
  • Any sole suppliers of products or services?
  • Any quality or dependability issues with suppliers?
  • What are your supplier payment terms?

Financial

  • What accounting software does the company use?
  • When was the software last updated?
  • What are your payment terms with customers?
  • Do you offer a discount for early payment? How many, if any, take advantage of the discount?
  • What is your average A/R aging?
  • How much bad debt have you written off in the last 5 years?
  • How much capital is needed to run the company for a 30-day period?
  • What is your average A/P aging?
  • Are you on C.O.D. with any of your suppliers?
  • How much of your income comes from your top customer?
  • How much of your income comes from your top 10 customers?
  • How much of your income comes from the top industry served?

Legal

  • Have there been any lawsuits in the last 3 years?
  • Any workplace accidents in the last 3 years?
  • Any EEOC issues in the last 3 years?
  • Any OSHA issues in the last 3 years?
  • What warranties does your company provide on its products?
  • Any warranty claims in the last 3 years?
  • Any known or suspected legal, regulatory or government issues?

Personal

  • Why do you want to sell the company?
  • How long will you remain for training and transition?
  • Would you consider a consulting arrangement on an as needed basis after transition?
  • Will you be moving away from the area?
  • If you were 30 years younger and money was not an obstacle, what would you do to grow this business?
  • What do you most want to see in a buyer?
  • What are your major concerns about the sale of the company?

Are you tired of dealing with brokers who don’t provide the information necessary to make an acquisition determination? There’s a better way. Contact the professionals at Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers, Inc. We’re 100% exclusively engaged in the manufacturing sectors and we sell nationally. At Accelerated you’ll find quality listings and top professionals to guide you through the acquisition process.

Let us help you find your dream manufacturing business!

The better we know you, the harder we look for your dream business!

Click on the link and give us your criteria.

About Frances Brunelle

Frances Brunelle is the founder of Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers, Inc., which specializes in the sale of lower middle-market manufacturing companies nationally. Fran and her team help to ensure the continuity of U.S. Manufacturing by transitioning ownership to the next generation of entrepreneur. Fran writes on topics that help manufacturing business owners prepare their companies for sale and navigate the sale process to ensure a positive financial result in support of their retirement.

1 Comment

  1. Valley on September 6, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Before you can begin your due diligence, the seller will most likely ask for a signed confidentiality agreement or nondisclosure agreement. By signing, you agree not to disclose any confidential information about the business that’s uncovered during the due diligence process. This protects the seller in case you decide not to buy after reviewing all the documents.

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