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The use of full absorption or average costing in asset-intensive industries with under-utilisation can lead to self-defeating pricing strategies

24 May 2017

The use of full absorption or average costing in asset-intensive industries with under-utilisation can lead to self-defeating pricing strategies

  • The use of full absorption or average costing in a manufacturing environment with under-utilisation can lead to self-defeating pricing strategies
  • The increase in price to cover costs results in volume decreases – lowering factory utilisation and increasing unit production costs. This is the start of the utilisation-pricing “death spiral”
  • Costing according to factory utilisation – partial absorption costing – offers the opportunity to be more strategic about costing and utilisation
  • “Unabsorbed” costs can be targeted through OEE and volume improvements. At the same time, the “disadvantage” of having a large factory is normalised and pricing can compete with more fully-utilised factories
  • A recent manufacturing client saw 60% of unit costs arise from factory under-utilisation – sub-optimal OEE levels (non-conformance), low volumes and work-centre bottlenecks contributed to the utilisation gap
  • These principles can apply to any asset-intensive business – for example banking

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