RELEVANT CASH FLOWS
On April 14, 1993, at 3:00 p.m., James Danforth, President of Danforth & Donnalley (D&D)
Laundry Products Company, called to order a meeting of the financial directors. The purpose of
the meeting was to make a capital-budgeting decision with respect to the introduction and
production of a new product, a liquid detergent called Blast.
D&D was formed in 1968 with the merger of Danforth Chemical Company, headquartered in
Seattle, Washington, producers of Lift-Off detergent, the leading laundry detergent on the West
Coast, and Donnalley Home Products Company, headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, makers of
Wave detergent, a major midwestern laundry product. As a result of the merger, D&D was
producing and marketing two major product lines. Although these products were in direct
competition, they were not without product differentiation: Lift-Off was a low-suds,
concentrated powder, and Wave was a more traditional powdered detergent. Each line brought
with it considerable brand loyalty, and by 1993, sales from the two detergent lines had increased
tenfold from 1968 levels, with both products now being sold nationally.
In the face of increased competition and technological innovation, D&D spent large amounts of
time and money over the past four years researching and developing a new, highly concentrated
liquid laundry detergent. D&D’s new detergent, which they called Blast, had many obvious
advantages over the conventional powdered products. It was felt that with Blast the consumer
would benefit in three major areas. Blast was so highly concentrated that only 2 ounces were
needed to do an average load of laundry as compared with 8 to 12 ounces of powdered detergent.
Moreover, being a liquid, it was possible to pour Blast directly on stains and hard-to-wash spots,
eliminating the need for a pre-soak and giving it cleaning abilities that powders could not
possibly match. And, finally, it would be packaged in a lightweight, unbreakable plastic bottle
with a sure-grip handle, making it much easier to use and more convenient to store than the
bulky boxes of powdered detergents with which it would compete.
The meeting was attended by James Danforth; Jim Donnalley, director of the board; Guy Rainey,