Alberta Gauge Company, Ltd., a small manufacturing company in Calgary, Alberta, manufactures three types

| June 10, 2016

Question
Alberta Gauge Company, Ltd., a small manufacturing company in Calgary, Alberta, manufactures three types of electrical gauges used in a variety of machinery. For many years the company has been profitable and has operated at capacity. However, in the last two years, prices on all gauges were reduced and selling expenses increased to meet competition and keep the plant operating at capacity. Second-quarter results for the current year, which follow, typify recent experience.

ALBERTA GAUGE COMPANY, LTD.

Income Statement

Second Quarter (in thousands)

Q-Gauge

E-Gauge

R-Gauge

Total

Total Sales

1,600

900

900

3,4000

Cost of goods sold

1,048

770

950

2,768

Gross margin

552

130

(50)

632

Selling and administrative expenses

370

185

135

690

Income before taxes

182

(55)

(185)

(58)

Alice Carlo, the company’s president, is concerned about the results of the pricing, selling, and production prices. After reviewing the second-quarter results, she asked her management staff to consider the following three suggestions:

• Discontinue the R-gauge line immediately. R-gauges would not be returned to the product line unless the problems with the gauge can be identified and resolved.

• Increase quarterly sales promotion by $100,000 on the Q-gauge product line in order to increase sales volume by 15 percent.

• Cut production on the E-gauge line by 50 percent, and cut the traceable advertising and promotion for this line to $20,000 each quarter.

Jason Sperry, the controller, suggested a more careful study of the financial relationships to determine the possible effects on the company’s operating results of the president’s proposed course of action. The president agreed and assigned JoAnn Brower, the assistant controller, to prepare an analysis. Brower has gathered the following information.

• All three gauges are manufactured with common equipment and facilities.

• The selling and administrative expense is allocated to the three gauge lines based on average sales volume over the past three years.

• Special selling expenses (primarily advertising, promotion, and shipping) are incurred for each gauge as follows:

Quarterly Advertising and Promotion

Shipping Expenses

Q-gauge

210,000

$10 per unit

E-gauge

100,000

4 per unit

R-gauge

40,000

10 per unit

The unit manufacturing costs for the three products are as follows:

Q-Gauge

E-Gauge

R-Gauge

Direct material

31

17

50

Direct labor

40

20

60

Variable manufacturing overhead

45

30

60

Fixed manufacturing overhead

15

10

20

Total

131

77

190

• The unit sales prices for the three products are as follows:

Q-gauge

200

E-gauge

90

R-gauge

180

• The company is manufacturing at capacity and is selling all the gauges it produces.

Required:

1. JoAnn Brower says that Alberta Gauge Company’s product-line income statement for the second quarter is not suitable for analyzing proposals and making decisions such as the ones suggested by Alice Carlo. Write a memo to Alberta Gauge’s president that addresses the following points.

a. Explain why the product-line income statement as presented is not suitable for analysis and decision making.

b. Describe an alternative income statement format that would be more suitable for analysis and decision making, and explain why it is better.

2. Use the operating data presented for Alberta Gauge Company and assume that the president’s proposed course of action had been implemented at the beginning of the second quarter. Then evaluate the president’s proposal by specifically responding to the following points.

a. Are each of the three suggestions cost-effective? Support your discussion with an analysis that shows the net impact on income before taxes for each of the three suggestions.

b. Was the president correct in proposing that the R-gauge line be eliminated? Explain your answer.

c. Was the president correct in promoting the Q-gauge line rather than the E-gauge line?

Explain your answer.

d. Does the proposed course of action make effective use of the company’s capacity?

Explain your answer.

3. Are there any qualitative factors that Alberta Gauge Company’s management should consider before it drops the R-gauge line? Explain your answer.

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