electrical relay used as a component part in the automotive industry. The selling price is $22 per
unit, variable costs are $14 per unit, fixed manufacturing overhead costs total $150,000 per month,
and fixed selling costs total $30,000 per month.
Employment-contract strikes in the companies that purchase the bulk of the RG-6 units have
caused Birch Company's sales to temporarily drop to only 8,000 units per month. Birch Company
estimates that the strikes will last for two months, after which time sales of RG-6 should return to
normal. Due to the current low level of sales, Birch Company is thinking about closing down its own
plant during the strike, which would reduce its fixed manufacturing overhead costs by $45,000 per
month and its fixed selling costs by 10%. Start-up costs at the end of the shutdown period would
total $8,000. Because Birch Company uses Lean Production methods, no inventories are on hand.
1. Assuming that the strikes continue for two months, would you recommend that Birch
Company close its own plant? Explain. Show computations.
2. At what level of sales (in units) for the two-month period should Birch Company be indifferent
between closing the plant or keeping it open? Show computations. (Hint: This is a type of
break-even analysis, except that the fixed cost portion of your break-even computation should
include only those fixed costs that are relevant [i.e., avoidable] over the two-month period.)
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