Cookie Business Analysis: Six Aspects Sample Essay

Abstract

The purpose of this report was to analyze six aspects of Cookie Business. First, the report focuses on breakeven analysis and determines the number of cookies needed on average to cover the fixed costs. Second, the cost of inventory was calculated using full and variable costing. Third, a special order of 1,000 cookies was evaluated to advise the company if it should be accepted or rejected. Fourth, a new investment was evaluated to determine if the company should invest in new equipment. Fifth, the cash budget was evaluated to understand if current collection practices are correct. Finally, material and labor variances were calculated. The report is concluded with a set of recommendations and conclusions based on analysis.

Introduction

This paper focuses on the analysis of the Cookie business. In particular, the report touches upon six aspects of the company’s business, including contribution margin and breakeven analysis, inventory costing strategy, special offer analysis, investment opportunity assessment, cash budget analysis, and variance analysis. The purpose of the analysis was to provide a set of recommendations for the Cookie Business.

Part 1: Contribution Margin/Breakeven

The first step in analyzing the cookie business was calculating the contribution margin (CM), the weighted average contribution margin (WACM), and the breakeven point. The calculations are provided in Figure 1 below.

CM, WACM, and breakeven point
Figure 1. CM, WACM, and breakeven point

The analysis demonstrates that specialty cookies had the highest CM per unit of $3.23, while sugar cookies had the lowest per unit CM of $0.69. The WACM per unit was found to be $1.02, which helped to calculate the breakeven point in units. The calculations demonstrated that the business needed to sell at least 122,783 cookies to break even.

Part 2: Full and Variable Costing

The second step in analyzing the cookie business was to calculate the full and variable costs of the remaining inventory. The results of calculations are provided in Figure 2 below.

Full and absorption costing
Figure 2. Full and absorption costing

The results demonstrate that the full manufacturing cost per unit was $2.05, while the variable cost per unit was $2. Thus, the cost of ending inventory based on the absorption costing method was $369,000, while the variable cost of the inventory was $360,000. According to Heisinger and Hoyle (2018), the absorption costing method is more advantageous for the company, as it takes into account all of the costs of production instead of considering only direct costs, which allows the company to acquire a better sense of profitability. Moreover, full costing approach is in accord with generally accepted accounting principles (Heisinger & Hoyle, 2018).

Part 3: Special Order

This section focused on the analysis of the special offer made to the cookie business. The company was offered to produce 1,000 cookies with special designs with a price of $2.75 per unit. Figure 3 below demonstrates the analysis of the offer’s profitability.

Special offer analysis
Figure 3. Special offer analysis

The analysis demonstrates that the net profit of the order is $150, which is significantly below the expected normal profitability. In general, companies should accept orders when benefits exceed costs (Warren et al., 2016). Benefits, however, are not always immediate, as potential benefits are also crucial. Sometimes, firms may accept orders if further orders may follow, if completing the order gives access to new markets, or if the order allows keep workers on their jobs in difficult economic situations when normal orders are unavailable (Warren et al., 2016).

In the present case, the benefits exceed costs, as net profit is positive. However, if the cookies were sold for the normal price, the company would have made $1,150 for the same order. Therefore, the company should take the order if the business was slow, and it has spare capacity to fulfill the order without harming the operations. Before making the final decision, the company should make sure that the customer understands that it is only a one-time event (Heisinger & Hoyle, 2018). Additionally, the company should consider if other companies such as key partners would not want to lower the prices on their orders. Only then should the offer be accepted.

Part 4: Internal Rate of Return

The company was offered to buy equipment to increase its sales. The equipment costs $250,000, and it will generate an increase in annual sales of $48,017.50. The analysis of the investment assuming the discount of 4% is provided in Figure 4 below.

 Investment analysis
Figure 4. Investment analysis

The analysis demonstrated that the present value of the project is higher than the initial investment assuming a discount rate of 4%. However, if the internal rate of return (IRR) is taken as the central criterion for investment decisions, Cookie Business should avoid investing in the project, as the IRR of the project is 8%, which is lower than the target IRR of 9%.

Additional information should be considered before making the final decision. One of the partner’s brothers owns the company that sells the equipment and insists the equipment is needed. This implies that there may be some personal interest in promoting the equipment. Thus, the decision-maker may be accused of acting in self-interest rather than in the interest of the company. Such a decision should be avoided (Warren et al., 2016).

Part 5: Cash Budget

Currently, the company collects 80% of the credit sales during the current month and 20% of the credit sales in the following month. The analysis of cash budget is provided in Figure 5 below.

Cash budget
Figure 5. Cash budget

The analysis demonstrated that the company does not adhere to its goal of collecting $150,000 in cash each month, as the business collected only $132,000 in cash in March. Therefore, it should consider changing its current collection strategy.

Part 6: Material and Labor Variance

This section conducted material and labor variance analysis provided to assess the planning practices. The variance analysis is provided in Figure 6 below.

 Material and labor variance analysis
Figure 6. Material and labor variance analysis

The analysis demonstrated that even though the company managed to use less material than it was planned, it paid more money for the material. Thus, the company should consider improving its cost planning strategy to improve the predictability of material costs. At the same time, even though the company managed to spend less per hour of labor, the efficiency of labor was lower. Therefore, the company may consider improving efficiency instead of saving money on labor costs per hour.

Conclusions and Recommendations

This report provided valuable insights concerning Cookie Business. First, the analysis revealed that the company needs to produce and sell at least 122,783 cookies on average to break even. Second, absorption and variable costs were calculated, and it was recommended to use absorption costing, as it takes into consideration all costs of production instead of considering only direct costs, which allow the company to acquire a better sense of profitability. Third, it was concluded that Cookie Business should accept the special offer if it has spare capacity and the stakeholders agree that it is a one-time event. Fourth, the analysis of the investment opportunity n new equipment revealed that the company should avoid this opportunity, as its IRR was below the threshold of 9%. Fifth, the report touched upon cash flow analysis, which demonstrated that the current strategy is not optimal and should be altered. Finally, the analysis demonstrates that the company should adopt new practices to decrease the variability of material cost and search for strategies to improve the efficiency of labor.

References

Heisinger, K., & Hoyle, J. B. (2018). Managerial Accounting. Flatworld Knowledge.

Warren, C., Reeve, J., & Duchac, J. (2016). Financial and managerial accounting (13th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Apple Inc. In The African Market

Introduction

International business is a unique civilizational phenomenon due to its scale and nature. Every year the concept of domestic business becomes more challenging to separate from the global one for marketing specialists and economists (Peng and Meyer, 2016). Markets are constantly intersecting, and their players are tirelessly looking for new promising, and profitable fields. Africa is one of them because its population is rapidly expanding, industrializing, urbanizing, and digitalizing (Leke and Signe, 2019). This paper is an overview of how Apple, a prominent global market actor, is strengthening its presence on the continent.

Modes of Entry Applied By Apple in the African Market

Expectedly, Apple applies the same foreign market entry modes in the African market as those used for other global sectors, which are exporting, licensing, and franchising. Watson et al. (2018, p. 46) define exporting as selling and shipping by a business entity of “its domestically manufactured goods to a foreign distributor in the desired market without requiring a physical presence in the country.” According to them, commercial organizations like Apple prefer licensing and franchising because these “allow firms to enter international markets by assigning most of the capital risk to local agents” (Watson et al., 2018, p. 46). In addition to being low risk, all three described entry approaches are easy to execute, so Apple uses them in all global markets.

Apple and Broad Differentiation’s Application in the African Market

A brief inquiry into the subject revealed that Apple uses broad differentiation as a paramount and central way of doing international business in African nations. Gupta (2021, p. 376) notes that “broad differentiation involves developing products or services that are unique in the minds of customers and aimed at the mass market.” Interestingly, this model is usually used by emerging firms and is effective mainly in small businesses (Gupta, 2021). It can be said that Apple Inc. represents a paradoxical yet successful example of a global corporation using practices that are generally considered atypical and counterproductive for its market scale and influence.

Recommendations

The first recommendation is to actively add diverse local cultural images and symbols of Africa to its products. Marketing experts believe it is efficient if a firm wishes to expand its presence in a desired foreign economic sector (Chen, Liu and Gong, 2021). The conceptual and visual combination of corporate and national or ethnic imageries increases purchase likelihood (He and Wang, 2017). This marketing and advertising move will also reinforce Apple’s positive brand image among African consumers.

Unfortunately, many developing countries in Africa have difficulty building resilient, diversified, and robust economies, and many of them have large financially disadvantaged groups. The advent of affordable digital and online technologies on the continent has enabled many Africans to find financial stability (Evans, 2018). The second piece of advice is to adopt a focused, low-cost strategy whose aim would be an economically disadvantaged target audience. Surprisingly, researchers found that low-cost tactics significantly rise in firm performance (Kankam-Kwarteng, Osman and Donkor, 2019). The third recommendation for Apple is the implementation of a best-cost strategy. According to marketing scholars, it is another practical way for business entities to increase their competitiveness of the company (Qasemzada, 2021). Low prices or their sharp decline and the remaining high functionality of products and services increase brand loyalty (Costa Filho, Falcao, and de Mendonça Motta, 2020). This academic statement applies to both wealthy consumers and low-income representatives of the target audience.

Conclusion

This paper describes Apple’s strategies and methods to conquer the high-tech consumer goods market niche in Africa. For example, this representative of Big Tech was found to use such modes of entry as exporting, franchising, and licensing. Broad differentiation is Apple’s favorite transnational business strategy both in Africa and globally. Recommendations include marketing and advertising by combining native African symbols with the company’s imagery and adopting focused low-cost and best-cost models.

Reference List

Chen, X., Liu, Y. and Gong, H. (2021, December) ‘Apple Inc. strategic marketing analysis and evaluation’, 2021 Proceedings of the 2021 3rd International Conference on Economic Management and Cultural Industry (ICEMCI 2021). Guangzhou, China. Paris: Atlantis Press, pp. 3053-3061.

Costa Filho, M. C., Falcao, R. P. and de Mendonça Motta, P. C. (2020) ‘Brand loyalty among low-income consumers?’, Qualitative Market Research, 24(2), pp. 260-280.

Evans, O. (2018) ‘Connecting the poor: The internet, mobile phones and financial inclusion in Africa’, Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, 20(6), pp. 568-581.

Gupta, V. K. (2021) Small business: Creating value through entrepreneurship. Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

He, J. and Wang, C. L. (2017) ‘How global brands incorporating local cultural elements increase consumer purchase likelihood: An empirical study in China’, International Marketing Review, 34(4), pp. 463-479.

Kankam-Kwarteng, C., Osman, B. and Donkor, J. (2019) ‘Innovative low-cost strategy and firm performance of restaurants: The moderation of competitive intensity’, Asia Pacific Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 13(3), pp. 266-281.

Leke, A. and Signe, L. (2019) Spotlighting opportunities for business in Africa and strategies to succeed in the world’s next big growth market. Web.

Peng, M. and Meyer, K. (2016) International business. 2nd edn. Andover: Cengage Learning.

Qasemzada, I. (2021) ‘Ways to increase the competitiveness of service enterprises based on marketing strategies’, International Journal of Business, Management and Accounting, 1(2). Web.

Watson IV, G. F., et al. (2018) ‘International market entry strategies: Relational, digital, and hybrid approaches’ Journal of International Marketing, 26(1), pp. 30-60.

COVID-19 Impact On Academic Achievement

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the academic achievement of the nation’s children and adolescents, both in and out of the classroom. Educators, school staff and leaders, parents, and caregivers have come together to combat some of these effects; however, the pandemic has unevenly impacted students, deepening already existing disparities in K-12 and postsecondary education that have long existed among minority, low-income, and disabled students. Since the pandemic’s onset, student achievement has declined in math and reading, and disparities in access to technology, especially among the many minority students who lack internet access at home, have been exacerbated due to the switch to virtual learning.

Big Idea Project

This gap in academic achievement mobilized Charleston County stakeholders to address these glaring disparities and open the After-Hours Academy, a new social enterprise business. The mission of After-Hours Academy is to ensure equitable access to education, technology, and resources for underserved minority students in Charleston County, South Carolina. After-Hours Academy will provide tutors, computers, access to Wi-Fi, and social support for families and/or caregivers. This innovative approach is the first of its kind in Charleston County. The unique aspect of this business is that students will be hired as mentors to assist other students, utilizing a peer-to-peer leadership model. Also, technology access and social support will be provided to parents and/or caregivers to facilitate additional resources and/or referrals for mental health services.

Logic Model

There is no sufficient strategic plan to ensure students’ participation in the education process for middle and high school learners. Therefore, to provide access to distant education technologies, Charleston County introduces the After-Hours Academy. Among the contributing factors are the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing policies. It caused an interruption of the educational process and a shift to a virtual learning model. As a result, such problems as a lack of alternatives to distant education and limited access to technology among the vulnerable population appeared. The After-Hours Academy aims to address the gap in access to education among students from a vulnerable population. This start-up will help to improve the situation with a decline in academic achievements among Charleston County and support the students in achieving career and life goals.

The new strategy will overcome the negative influence of COVID-19 on the education system. The performance will be measured according to the number of students who have the necessary equipment for participating in the education process. Among the long-term objectives and goals is gathering enough resources and equipment to offer similar educational support projects in other counties of the state.

Workplan

The goal of the After-Hours Academy program is to improve access to virtual education for students from underserved communities – minorities, low-income households, and disabled individuals. Among the program, objectives are employing student tutors and developing a peer-to-peer support network. The After-Hours Academy also guarantees that 100% of all requests will be reviewed and granted based on the needs assessment. Moreover, 75% of all enrolled participants will improve their academic performance due to access to the necessary resources. The program should be started in the period from April to July 2022.

The necessary tools include devices (such as laptops), learning software, communication software accounts, and tutoring services. After the start of the After-Hours Academy operation, additional evaluation of the business results is necessary. Thus, the follow-up tasks include the assessment of student academic achievements, the business’ outreach to prospective participants, marketing effectiveness, as well as ongoing financing evaluation. Reports on the program’s effectiveness and goal-reaching will be created first weekly, then monthly. Separate reports with achievements and financial needs will be presented to participating sponsors, including the crowdfunding contributors.

Marketing Material

If one needs to develop a marketing plan, one should draw significant attention to choosing an appropriate marketing strategy. The After-Hours Academy offers service to multiple customer groups, meaning that versatile marketing approaches are needed. On the one hand, the enterprise contributes to positive change among students and their families. Since minors and their relatively young parents are active users of the Internet and social media, it is appropriate to rely on online marketing strategies.

That is why organizations decide to create and distribute social media posts. On the other hand, schools, staff members, and even governments are also interested in promoting the enterprise. Even though these stakeholders use the Internet, it is rational to rely on offline marketing strategies to address them. Thus, two marketing materials, including a social media poster and a flyer, will be provided.

Infographic

The infographic includes 5 columns. The first one contains information about the program. It is indicated that After-Hours Academy strives to provide education under COVID-19, student integration, peer-to-peer leadership model, student mentorship, and improving distance learning. The same section mentions that After-Hours Academy addresses gaps in K-12 and post-secondary education among minority students, low-income and disabled students. A separate column is dedicated to the mission of After-Hours Academy in Charleston County, which is to ensure access to education, technology, resources, and equal student opportunities. At the bottom of the infographic are the contacts of the program, such as an address, phone number, and email.

Conclusion

An important aspect of the program is its social impact, which is also reflected in the slide. Such positive outcomes as increased Internet access, students’ and tutors’ resources, better academic achievements, minimized educational gap, and vulnerable students empowering can be highlighted. The lower right column is dedicated to the various outcomes of the program. This list includes items such as 100% virtual equipment coverage, 100% minority support, and 100% low-income support. In addition, the program will provide 100% disabled students’ support and 100% student participation. Its other important consequences should also be mentioned, such as a 10% academic achievements increase, 0% tutor turnover rates, 5% salary compensation, and 3-5 sponsoring companies.

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