Posted: April 11th, 2016

Explain what might have caused the fixed costs to be different from the amount budgeted?

Scenario: Dan Ludwig is the manufacturing production supervisor for Atlantic Lighting Systems. Trying to explain why he did not get the year-end bonus that he had expected, he told his wife “This is the dumbest place I have ever worked. Last year the company set up this budget assuming it would sell 150,000 units. Well, it only sold 140,000. The company lost money and gave me a bonus for not using as much materials and labor as was called for in the budget. This year, the company has the same 150,000 units goal and it sells 160,000. The company’s making all kinds of money. You’d think I’d get this big fat bonus. Instead, management tells me I used more materials and labor than was budgeted. They said the company would have made a lot more money if I’d stayed within budget. I guess I gotta wait for another bad year before I get a bonus. Like I said, this is the dumbest place I ever worked.” (View attachment for data)

a) Did Atlantic Lighting Systems increase unit sales by cutting prices or by using some other strategy?
b) Is Mr. Ludwig correct in his conclusion that something is wrong with the company’s performance evaluation process? If so, what do you suggest be done to improve the system?
c) Prepare a flexible budget and recompute the budget variances.
d) Explain what might have caused the fixed costs to be different from the amount budgeted.
e) Assume that the company’s material price variance was favorable and its material usage variance was unfavorable. Explain why Mr. Ludwig may not be responsible for these variances. Now, explain why he may have been responsible for the material usage variance.
f) Assume the labor price variance is unfavorable. Was the labor usage variance favorable or unfavorable?
g) Is the fixed cost volume variance favorable or unfavorable? Explain the effect of this variance on the cost of each unit produced.

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