Holly Manufacturing Company produces two cello models. One is a standard acoustic cello that sells for $600 and is constructed
from medium-grade materials. The other model is a custom-made amplified cello with pearl inlays and a body constructed from special woods.
The custom cello sells for $900. Both cellos require 10 hours of direct labor to produce, but the custom cello is manufactured by more
experienced workers who are paid at a higher rate.
Most of Hollyâ€™s sales come from the standard cello, but sales of the custom model have been growing. Following is the companyâ€™s sales,
production, and cost information for last year:
Cello Standard Custom
Sales and production volume in units 900 100
Unit Selling Price $600.00 $900.00
Direct materials $150.00 $375.00
Direct labor $180.00 $240.00
Manufacturing overhead* $135.00 $135.00
Total unit costs $465.00 $750.00
Unit Gross Profit $135.00 $150.00
Direct Labor Hours 10.00 10.00
Direct Labor Rate Per Hour $18.00 $24.00
*Manufacturing overhead costs:
Building depreciation $ 40,000
Indirect materials 15,000.00
Total manufacturing overhead costs $135,000.00
These manufacturing overhead costs are fixed in nature: they do not vary with the volume of manufacturing activity.
The company allocates overhead costs using the traditional method. Its activity base is direct labor hours. The predetermined overhead rate,
based on 10,000 direct labor hours, is $13.50 ($135,000 Ã· 10,000 direct labor hours).
Johann Brahms, president of Holly, is concerned that the traditional cost-allocation system the company is using may not be generating accurate
information and that the selling price of the custom cello may not be covering its true cost.
Questions To Be Answered
1. The cost-allocation system Holly has been using allocates 90% of overhead costs to the
standard cello because 90% of direct labor hours were spent on the standard model.
How much overhead was allocated to each of the two models last year?
Discuss why this might not be an accurate way to assign overhead costs to products.
2. How would the use of more than one cost pool improve Holly’s cost allocation?
Use the data below for the questions which follow.
Holly’s controller developed the following data for use in activity-based costing:
3. Use activity-based costing to allocate the costs of overhead per unit and in total to each model of cello.
Manufacturing Standard Custom
Overhead Cost Amount Cost Driver Cello Cello
Building depreciation $40,000 Square footage 3,000 1,000
Maintenance $15,000 Direct labor hours 9,000 1,000
Purchasing $20,000 # of purchase orders 1,500 500
Inspection $12,000 # of inspections 400 600
Indirect materials $15,000 # of units manufactured 900 100
Supervision $30,000 # of inspections 400 600
Supplies $3,000 # of units manufactured 900 100
4. Calculate the cost of a custom cello using activity-based costing.
5. Why is the cost different from the cost calculated using the traditional allocation method?
6. At the current selling price, is the company covering its true cost of production? Briefly discuss
7. What should Holly Manufacturing do about the situation?
8. What should Holly Manufacturing do if the quantity of custom cellos sold at the new price falls to 50 per year?
9. What should Holly Manufacturing do about the situation if the price of the custom cello cannot exceed $900?
10. At a selling price of $1,000 each, what is the breakeven unit volume for the custom cello?
11. What are the lessons learned from this case?