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True payback calculation isn't simple

The editors at Packaging World got a little lesson in computing machinery investment payback, thanks to Liz Hobbs, a reader and project engineer at Chattem Consumer Products, Chattanooga, TN.

We thought we'd pass it along to you. In a recent e-mail communication Hobbs took PW to task for projecting machinery payback based on simple savings. In a story about Biocraft Laboratories (see PW January '96 p. 34) it was reported that an investment of $900 would be recouped in one year based on savings of $800 in labor and $100 in materials. "The payback will actually be longer than one year" wrote Hobbs. "The $900 annual savings is considered income and will therefore be taxed. If you use an eight-percent discount rate for the cash flow a 38-percent tax rate and a ten-year straight-line depreciation for the equipment the payback will be 1.6 years." Like many readers Hobbs recognizes many factors determine the effects of packaging investments and few companies would share the formula. So we'll probably have to continue reporting "simple" payback. PMMI SEEKS GRANT PROPOSALS--The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute's Education Center has sent a request for research proposals on five topics to 12 four-year colleges or universities with strong packaging programs. For more information phone 703/243-8555. HBA GLOBAL EXPO'S EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM--HBA '96 Global Expo produced by Blenheim Group (Fort Lee NJ) will include an Educational Conference Program June 4-6 at the Javits Convention Center in New York.

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