These factors are then assigned key figures that are measured continuously, allowing managers to make decisions based on facts, enabling them to make quick adjustments if needed. The model is also used when analyzing acquisition targets. The factors and key figures are used throughout our operations from branch level to Group level.
Six key figures represent the backbone of the Six Fingers model (highlighted in the text and table), but there are complementary key figures used by all divisions, such as organic sales growth and operating margin. There are also complimentary key figures tailored to measure the business in prioritized areas such as within security solutions and technology. These key figures include volume-, efficiency- and capital-usage-related factors that hold specific bearing on the Group's progress. Examples are: the number of remote video solution installations, gross margin on security solution contracts (compared to traditional guarding contracts) and the investment in security equipment.
Securitas' model for financial key figures
The first two key figures, New sales (of contracts) and Net change (of contract portfolio), relate to the development of the customer contract portfolio. New sales are newly signed contracts that will increase the monthly fixed sales. Net change in the customer contract portfolio refers to new starts (a newly signed contract that has started) plus increased sales in existing contracts, less terminated customer contracts and reduced sales in existing contracts. Price changes are measured separately and added to Net change to determine the period's closing balance of the contract portfolio. The closing balance is the total value of monthly invoicing on our monthly fixed contracts at the closing date for the current period. The third key figure, taken from the statement of income, is Total sales, which in addition to contract-based sales, includes short-term assignments.
The efficiency-related key figures provide managers with tools to monitor service efficiency and cost trends. The fourth and fifth key figures are: Gross margin, which is defined as total sales less direct expenses as a percentage of total sales, and Indirect expenses, which pertain to the organization and include sales and administrative expenses (costs of branch, area and regional / country offices). Gross income less Indirect expenses equals operating income before amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets and acquisition-related costs. When this is expressed as a percentage of total sales, it indicates the Group's operating margin, which in Securitas' financial model, come before acquisition-related items.
In general, Securitas' operations are not capital intensive. Accounts receivable tie up the most capital. The sixth key figure is Days of sales outstanding (DSO). Payment terms and effective collection procedures are decisive in determining how much capital is tied up in accounts receivable. These figures are followed up on an ongoing basis at all levels in the organization.