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Chapter 4
Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis: A Managerial Planning Tool
Equation
Mulching Mower
Riding Mower
Total variable costs
Variable cost per unit
$390,000
$325
$480,000
$600
Price
1,200
800
Contribution margin
Total contribution margin
$400
$325
$800
$600
Sales
$75
= $200
One possible solution is to apply the analysis separately to each product line. It
is possible to obtain individual break-even points when income is defined as product
margin. Breakeven for the mulching mower is as follows:
Mulching mower break-even units
Fixed cost
Price
Unit variable cost
$30,000
$75
400 units
Breakeven for the riding mower can be computed as well:
Riding mower break-even units
Fixed cost
Price
Unit variable cost
$40,000
$200
200 units
Thus, 400 mulching mowers and 200 riding mowers must be sold to achieve a break-
even product margin. But a break-even product margin covers only direct fixed costs; the
common fixed costs remain to be covered. Selling these numbers of lawn mowers would
result in a loss equal to the common fixed costs. This level of sales is not the break-even point
for the firm as a whole; somehow the common fixed costs must be factored into the analysis.
We could allocate the common fixed costs to each product line before computing a
break-even point. However, the allocation of the common fixed costs is arbitrary. Thus,
no meaningful break-even volume is readily apparent.
Another possible solution is to convert the multiple-product problem into a single-
product problem. If this can be done, then all of the single-product CVP methodology
can be applied directly. The key to this conversion is to identify the expected sales mix, in
units, of the products being marketed.
Sales mix
is the relative combination of products
being sold by a firm.
Determining the Sales Mix
The sales mix is measured in units sold. For example,
if Whittier plans on selling 1,200 mulching mowers and 800 riding mowers, then the
sales mix in units is 1,200:800. Usually, the sales mix is reduced to the smallest possible
whole numbers. Thus, the relative mix, 1,200:800, can be reduced to 12:8, and further
reduced to 3:2. That is, Whittier expects that for every three mulching mowers sold,
two riding mowers will be sold.