Chapter 4 - Summary of main points - University of Nebraska ...
Chapter 4 Extent (How Much) Decisions AMEX intro anecdote American Express offers a Platinum Card to affluent customers In 2001, there were approximately 2,000 Platinum cardholders in the Japanese market. Numbers had been limited to ensure high quality customer service With customer service technology advances, company considered expanding number of card holders How many more should be added? As more members are acquired, average spending per card member decreases because the financial threshold for membership is lowered
Costs of customer service rise for each additional member added, and growing beyond a certain point would require building and operating an additional call center After analyzing the costs and benefits, American Express realized that it should expand its offering to only 15,000 more Platinum Card members We call this an extent decision, because the company needed to decide how many platinum cards to provide. In this chapter, we show you how to make profitable extent decisions. Chapter 4 Summary of main points Do not confuse average and marginal
costs. Average cost (AC) is total cost (fixed and variable) divided by total units produced. Average cost is irrelevant to an extent decision. Marginal cost (MC) is the additional cost incurred by producing and selling one more unit. Chapter 4 Summary (cont.) Marginal revenue (MR) is the additional revenue gained from selling one more unit.
Sell more if MR > MC; sell less if MR < MC. If MR = MC, you are selling the right amount (maximizing profit). The relevant costs and benefits of an extent decision are marginal costs and marginal revenue. If the marginal revenue of an activity is larger than the marginal cost, then do more of it. An incentive compensation scheme that increases marginal revenue or reduces marginal cost will increase effort. Fixed fees have no effects on effort. A good incentive compensation scheme links pay to performance measures that reflect effort.
Background: Average cost Definition: Average cost is simply the total cost of production divided by the number of units produced. AC = TC/Q Average costs often decrease as quantity increases due to presence of fixed costs AC = (VC + FC)/Q FC does not change as Q increases Average costs are not relevant to extent decisions Memorial Hospital
For every 500 deliveries, FC=$1 million Variable costs = $3,000 per delivery For 500 deliveries, total costs = $2.5 million AC = TC / Q Background: Average cost (cont.) Background: Marginal cost Marginal cost is the cost to make and sell one additional unit of output. MC = TCQ+1 TCQ. Marginal cost is often lower than average cost (due to falling average
costs) but not always. Marginal costs are what matter in extent decisions Extent (how much?) decisions Definition: Marginal cost (MC) is the additional cost required to produce and sell one more unit. Definition: Marginal revenue (MR) is the additional revenue gained from producing and selling one more unit. If the benefits of selling another unit (MR) are bigger than the costs (MC), then sell
another unit. So, produce more when MR>MC; less when MR
This analysis tells you direction of change but not the distance. You can only measure MR and MC at the current level of output make a change and re-measure Extent decision example Discussion: How much advertising? A $50,000 increase in the TV ad budget brings in 1,000 new customers Estimated MCTV is $50 (the cost to get one more customer) $50,000 / 1,000 = $50
If the marginal revenue generated by this customer is greater than $50, do more advertising. Extent decision example (cont.) Even if we do not know the marginal revenue, we can still use marginal analysis to make extent decisions Compare TV advertising to telephone solicitation Say you recently cut telephone budget by $10,000 and lost 100 customers Estimated MCPH = $100= ($10,000 / 100) So, to get one more customer costs $50 for TV and $100 for
phone MCPH > MCTV so shift ad dollars from phone to TV Advice: make changes one-at-a-time to gather valuable information about marginal effectiveness of each medium. Another example SAH=Standard Absorbed Hours a measure of textile factory output Allows managers to compare factories making different items, e.g. t-shirt = 1 SAH while dress=3
SAH Suppose Factory A has costs of $30 per SAH while Factory B has cost of $20 per SAH. How can you profitably use this information? The decision seems simple, but Make sure you are not including fixed costs in the analysis Marginal costs matter, not average costs! If the $20 and $30 rates are good MC proxies, shift some production from Factory A to Factory B Effort is an extent decision Discussion: Royalty rates vs. fixed fee
contracts You receive two bids to harvest 100 trees on your land $150/tree or $15,000 for the right to harvest all the trees. On your tract there are pines (worth $200) and fir (worth $100) Which offer should you accept? Discussion: Sales Commissions Expected sales level: 100 units @ $10,000/unit=$1M Option 1: 10% commission Option 2: 5% commission + $50,000 salary Discussion: give example of royalty rate or fixed fee contracts in your firm
Tie pay to performance A consulting firm COO received a flat salary of $75,000 After learning about the benefits of incentive pay in class, the CEO changed COO compensation to $50K + (1/3)* (Profits-$150K) Profits increased 74% to $1.2 M Compensation increased $75K $177K Discussion: what are the disadvantages to incentive pay?
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