Key topics: Decision making with contribution per limiting factor Merrion Products Ltd. was incorporated and commenced to trade in 20x1. Its several shareholders consisted of members of the Carroll family. The business was devoted to the import of a raw material substance which was slightly refined to Irish tastes and sold to various customers around the country. During the initial years of production, product "A" was the only product manufactured and the profits were adequate to satisfy the family shareholders. During the 20x0's it was decided to introduce new products based on the same raw material but refined in different ways. In 20x3, product "B" was introduced and product "C" was added the following year. Both products were an immediate success and the entire production output for both products was sold by the end of the year. In fact demand for all products constantly outstripped production. Encouraged by this success, product "D", based on the same raw material was introduced into the product range last year after extensive research on customer tastes. It was considered by all family members to be as equally successful as the other three products. According to the audited financial statements Merrion Products Ltd. was a profitable company with an excellent cash flow. The various family members concentrated mainly on the administrative and selling side of the business. Each family member was entitled to a basic salary which was supplemented by a share of total sales commission. The sales commission was calculated at the rate of 10% of sales price on every unit sold. Thus each family member would participate in the overall success of his firm. The Carroll family believed that the company's profitability was mainly attributable to two factors. First, was the high quality of its products with guaranteed delivery dates. Michael Carroll, the managing director of the firm, often boasted that the number of customer complaints in any one year could be counted on the fingers of one hand. The second reason was due to subtle marketing and presentation so that each product was perceived by the public as different and was sold to different types of customer. In other words the products were not considered complementary and had their own unique brand loyalty. Thus the sales of one product could fluctuate without affecting the sales of the other products, or the refusal of orders for one product would not lead to the cancellation of orders for the others. Each product was produced from the same basic raw material which was imported from abroad. Until recently this raw material was available in unlimited quantities and was purchased by Merrion quarterly in advance as required. However recent political instability in the exporting country resulted in a severe restriction on the availability of this raw material. A recent fact finding visit to the exporting country only served to confirm the restricted availability of the imported raw material in the forthcoming year. On his return home Michael Carroll called a directors meeting to discuss the problem and its impact on the budget for the forthcoming quarter. Una Carroll, the only daughter in the family, filled the role of company accountant. After obtaining a business studies degree at college she immediately joined the family firm. She was mainly concerned with maintaining the basic financial accounting records and keeping control over accounts receivable and payable. She also monitored progress towards agreed budget targets. However the budget setting process for each quarter was unsophisticated in that output levels were determined by amiable consensus among family members. Preference was usually given to the highest price item since this procedure maximised sales commission for the family members. Una tried to persuade the other members of the family that there was a more scientific method available to determine best production plans. However whenever she mentioned the phrase "profit maximisation" in discussion her family always retorted "But that's only theory Una and has got nothing to do with practice". Being the youngest in the family Una felt she lacked a great deal of authority and credibility. The Carroll family felt that the business did not need a management accountant since they considered the overall operations to be fairly simple. Neither did they require the services of a production manager or a marketing manager since they could virtually sell everything they produced. Una knew from experience that as long as budgeted profit was higher than last year then everyone was happy. Generally, the actual financial performance met the budget targets pretty well. At the start of the meeting Michael Carroll relayed to participants details of his foreign trip. He explained, "Unfortunately our worst suspicions have been confirmed. I saw things at first hand and also had discussions with our Embassy officials. I made direct contact with our usual supplier and he indicated that he will be unable to delivery more than 72,000 euros of raw materials per quarter until conditions improve and that's not going to be for some time. The basic problem, he tells me is that the material is simply not available in his country due to the current political situation. Since my return home I have made extensive enquiries regarding possible alternative suppliers of the same raw material in other countries. There just isn't any which we could tap at this short notice. Like many simple problems, its insoluble in the short-term. We've just got to accept it for now!" Una interrupted: "I expect that our budgets for the next quarter shall have to be revised - downwards and our profits shall be considerably depressed as a result." She circulated the previously agreed budget and supporting schedules for the forthcoming quarter to participants (Exhibits 1 and 2). EXHIBIT 1 Budget for the quarter ending 31 March 20x7 Euros Budget sales 200,000 Cost of production 149,500 Gross margin 50,500 Administration expenses 19,900 Distribution expenses 5,700 Sales commission 20,000 Financial expenses 800 46,400 Budgeted Net Profit 4,100 EXHIBIT 2 Schedule of Revenue and Production Costs per Product. Product A B C D Sales price 20 40 30 20 Direct material (imported) 7 16 13 10 Direct labour and packing 3 4 6 4 Production overhead 4 5 6 5 Budget sales (units) 1,500 2,000 2,000 1,500 NOTE: Production overhead includes both fixed and variable expense. The estimated fixed overhead for the forthcoming quarter amounts to 20,000 euros and has been apportioned to each product on the basis of total anticipated sales revenue for each product. Una continued "In my opinion there is no scope for any reduction in costs. We can't change, at least in the short term, our direct material costs. Neither can we change our packaging costs. Our direct labour consists of the part-time assembly workers which we need in order to produce. Likewise variable overheads will be incurred if we want to produce and our fixed overheads are already down to an absolute minimum. Commission is the only thing that we could effectively cut." Michael Carroll interjected. "No, I recommend that the sales commission be left alone. We're all in this venture together and I reckon we're going to have to sell our way out of our problems. We need to retain the incentive to sell and keep our selling prices intact." Everyone agreed. Patrick Carroll, the eldest member of the family, who was chiefly responsible for sales, raised the possibility of maximum sales levels of each product. He said, "We must take into consideration that there is a definite limit on the amount of goods which we can sell at existing prices next quarter." Michael Carroll accepted that the point was valid. After much discussion all family members agreed that maximum sales value of each product at current prices for the forthcoming quarter would be as follows: Product Euros A 60,000 B 88,000 C 63,000 D 40,000 Subsequently everyone at the meeting realised that due to the definite shortage of raw materials it was not possible to produce simultaneously all these quantities. Michael Carroll added "I think we shall have to be more selective in what we produce in future. However, I recommend that we produce a minimum of 1,000 units of each product during the forthcoming quarter. This would, at least, keep the company's products in the minds of the public and satisfy our major customers. Its important to do this. Any remaining materials should be used in the most profitable manner. Una, now is the ideal time to put some of that theory of yours into practice. If you feel that there is a single, best way to utilise our production facilities in these circumstances now is the ideal time to let us know." Requirements 1. 1. Prepare a statement showing the most profitable production plan for Merrion Products Ltd. for the forthcoming quarter. Prepare a detailed profit and loss account to accompany your recommendation. Explain your workings. 2. 2. Calculate the firm's break-even point for the forthcoming quarter. What fundamental assumptions have you made? 3. 3. What is the "opportunity cost", if any, associated with the minimum production of 1,000 units of each product? 4. 4. Assuming it was possible to increase all selling prices by 7 euros per unit without influencing demand, would this price increase effect your analysis. Explain. GIÚP EM VỚI! BÀI TẬP NHÓM MÀ KHÔNG HỈU GÌ HẾT!!!