East Coast Marine Ltd (ECM) manufactures parts for small marine craft. Over the past decade, ECM’s management has met its goal of reducing its reliance on government contract work to 50 per cent of total sales. ECM is now equally reliant on commercial sales and government contracts.
Traditionally, the costs of the Material Handling Department have been allocated to direct material as a percentage of direct material dollar value. This was adequate when the majority of the manufacturing was homogeneous and related to government contracts. Recently, however, government auditors have rejected some proposals, stating that ‘the amount of Material Handling Department costs allocated to these proposals is disproportionate to the total effort involved’.
Eloise Smith, the newly hired cost accounting manager, was asked by the manager of ECM’s Government Contracts Unit, Paul Jones, to find a more equitable method of allocating the Material Handling Department costs to the user departments. Her review has revealed the following information:
Payroll $180000 Employee on-costs 36000 Telephone 38000 Other utilities 22000 Materials and supplies 6000 Depreciation 6000 Direct material budget: Government contracts 2006000 Commercial products 874000
Smith has recommended to Jones that material handling costs should be allocated on a per purchase order basis. Jones realises that the company has been allocating to government contracts more material handling costs than can be justified. However, the implication of Smith’s analysis could be a decrease in his unit’s earnings and, consequently, a cut in his annual bonus. Jones told Smith to ‘adjust’ her numbers and modify her recommendation so that the results will be more favourable to the Government Contracts Unit.
Being new in her position, Smith is not sure how to proceed. She feels ambivalent about Jones’ instructions and suspects his motivation may not be in the best interest of ECM. To complicate matters for Smith, the company’s new managing director has asked her to prepare a three-year forecast of the Government Contracts Unit’s results, and she believes that the newly recommended allocation method would provide the most accurate data. However, this would put her in direct opposition to Jones’ directives.
Smith has assembled the following data to project the material handling costs over the next three years:
Handy Household Products Ltd is a multiproduct company with several manufacturing plants. The Fremantle plant manufactures and distributes two household cleaning and polishing compounds, standard and commercial, under the Clean & Bright label. The forecast operating results for the first six months of the current year, when 100000 boxes of each compound are expected to be manufactured and sold, are presented in the following statement:
Clean& Bright Compounds, Fremantle plant Forecast results of operations for the six-month period ending June 30 (in $'000s)
Standard Commercial Total $2000 $3000 $5000 Sales Cost of goods sold 1600 1900 3500 Gross profit $400 $1100 $1500 Selling and administrative expenses: Variable $400 $700 $1100 Fixed* 240 §QQ Total selling and administrative expenses $640 $1060 $1700 Profit (loss) before taxes $(240) $40 $(200)
*The fixed selling and administrative expenses are allocated between the two products on the basis of dollar sales volume.
The standard compound sold for $20 a box and the commercial compound sold for $30 a box during the first six months of the year. The manufacturing costs are presented in the schedule below. Each product is manufactured on a separate production line. Annual normal manufacturing capacity is 200 000 boxes of each product. However. the plant is capable of producing 250 000 boxes of standard compound and 350000 boxes of commercial compound annually.
Cost per box Standard Commercial Direct material $7.00 $8.00 Direct labour 4.00 4.00 Variable manufacturing overhead 1.00 2.00 Fixed manufacturing overhead 4.00 5.00 Total manufacturing cost $16.00 $19.00 Variable selling and administrative costs $4.00 $7.00
The following schedule reflects the consensus of top management regarding the price-volume alternatives for the Clean & Bright products for the last six months of the current year. These are essentially the same alternatives management had during the first six months of the year.
Standard compound Commercial compound Alternative prices Sales volume Alternative prices Sales volume (per box) (in boxes) (per box) (in boxes) $18 120000 $25 175000 20 100000 27 140000 21 90000 30 100000 22 80000 32 55000 23 50000 35 35000
Handy Household Products' top management believe that the loss for the first six months reflects a tight profit margin caused by intense competition. Management also believe that many companies will leave this market by next year and profit should improve.
Hawthorn Leisure Works (HLW) offers tennis courts and other physical fitness facilities to its members. The club has 2000 members. Revenue is derived from annual membership fees and hourly court fees. The annual membership fees are:
Individual $45 Student 30 Family 100
Approximately half the members are 'family', and the remaining memberships are split equally between individuals and students. For the next two financial years, the hourly court fees are $8 and $12, depending on the season and the time of day (prime versus non-prime time). There are 10 courts at each club. The courts are available for 12 hours per day, from 9 am to 9 pm.
The peak tennis season runs from October to April (181 days). During this period, court usage averages from 90 to 100 per cent of capacity during prime time (5 to 9 pm) and from 50 to 60 per cent of capacity during the remaining hours (9 am to 4 pm). Daily court usage during the off-season averages from only 20 to 40 per cent of capacity, and is charged at $6 per hour. All of HLW's memberships expire at the end of September. A substantial amount of the cash receipts is collected during the early part of the tennis season due to the renewal of annual membership fees and heavy court usage. However, cash receipts are not as large in autumn and drop significantly in the winter months.
For the start of the new financial year on 1 October, HLW is considering introducing a new membership and fee structure in an attempt to improve its cash flow planning. Under the new membership plan, only an annual membership fee would be charged, rather than a membership fee plus hourly court fees. There would be two classes of membership, with annual fees as follows:
Individual $300 Family 500
The annual fee would be collected in advance at the time the membership application was completed. Members would be allowed to use the tennis courts as often as they wished during the year under the new plan. All future memberships would be sold under these new terms. A special promotional campaign would be instituted to attract new members and to encourage current members to remain with the club. The annual fees for individual and family memberships would be reduced to $250 and $450 respectively if members pay for their yearly memberships in advance during the two-month promotional campaign.
Hawthorn Leisure Works' management estimates that 70 per cent of the current members will continue with the club, and student members would convert to individual membership. The most active members (45 per cent of the current members) would pay the yearly fee in advance and receive the special fee reduction, while the remaining members who continued would renew memberships in October. Those members who would not rejoin are not considered active (that is, they play five times or less during the year). Management estimates that the loss of members would be offset fully by new members within six months of instituting the new plan.
If the members would pay a proportional amount of the yearly fee on joining. Furthermore, many of the new members would be individuals who would play during non-prime time. Management estimates that adequate court time will be available for all members under the new plan.
If the new membership plan is adopted, it would be instituted at the start of the new financial year (1 October), which is the start of the tennis season. The special promotional campaign would be conducted during August and September, prior to the start of the new financial year.
Your consulting firm has been hired to help HLW to evaluate its new fee structure. Write a letter to the club's managing director dealing with the following issues: