Operational management is becoming harder pressed to find reductions in the working capital required to keep the operations running, with the constant option of outsourcing, “off-shoring”, consolidation, and so on as the price of not running hard enough. Working capital numbers over time are a good measure of the cost awareness of your operation, but do not really address how productive the working capital is, for that you need a denominator in the equation.

Working capital is: Accounts recievable + inventories – accounts payable. If you add a denominator, you can get a measure of the productivity of your investment in working capital:

Working Capital Productivity= Working Capital/net sales.   How much better to measure the productivity of the investment rather than just the amount of the investment.