Essay on Jdcw Hbr Case Study

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John Deere Component Works (A)

A.1. How did the competitive environment change for the John Deere Component Works between the 1970's and the 1980's? What information must management accounting systems provide to support effective decision-making in these different environments?

The change in the competitive environment greatly influenced JDCW. The early 70s were the end of the post WWII boom period, during which time JDCW was expanding its operations and operating many of its manufacturing plants at capacity. However, there were multiple economic factors in the early 80s that negatively affected the demand for JDCW products. The effect of these economic factors is evidenced in the case study by the fact that during the 1970s
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Analysis: Under the existing cost system for the turning machine area, there are two direct costs and three cost pools for overhead costs. The two direct costs are simply Direct Labor and Direct Material, which are traced to the cost object, which is Machine Parts. The total overhead is split into three cost pools, which are the following: overhead applied on direct labor, overhead applied on material dollars, and overhead applied on ACTS machine hours. Furthermore, each cost pool is broken down into direct and period sub categories. The mentioned cost pools for the following cost drivers: Direct Labor dollars, Material dollars, and machine hours.

The above cost system was efficient during the 1980s because it split up overhead over three cost pools, adding an additional pool, which has machine hours as its cost driver. This proved efficient because “[w]ith increased usage of automated machines, direct labor run time no longer reflected the amount of processing being performed on parts, particularly when one operator was responsible for several machines.” Packet, pg. 7.

However, this system was found to be “ineffective for costing and bidding individual parts.” Id. While some machines produced low cost parts at high volume, other machines were producing high cost parts at low volume, which created cost discrepancies between various machines and thus misallocation of

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