The effects of productivity on profitability: a case study at firm level using an activity-based costing approach
Rantanen, Hannu (1995-08-04)
LTKK Tieteellisiä julkaisuja - Research PapersURN:ISSN:0356-8210
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Productivity and profitability are important concepts and measures describing the performance and success of a firm. We know that increase in productivity decreases the costs per unit produced and leads to better profitability. This common knowledge is not, however, enough in the modern business environment. Productivity improvement is one means among others for increasing the profitability of actions. There are many means to increase productivity. The use of these means presupposes operative decisions and these decisions presuppose informationabout the effects of these means. Productivity improvement actions are in general made at floor level with machines, cells, activities and human beings. Profitability is most meaningful at the level of the whole firm. It has been very difficult or even impossible to analyze closely enough the economical aspects of thechanges at floor level with the traditional costing systems. New ideas in accounting have only recently brought in elements which make it possible to considerthese phenomena where they actually happen. The aim of this study is to supportthe selection of objects to productivity improvement, and to develop a method to analyze the effects of the productivity change in an activity on the profitability of a firm. A framework for systemizing the economical management of productivity improvement is developed in this study. This framework is a systematical way with two stages to analyze the effects of productivity improvement actions inan activity on the profitability of a firm. At the first stage of the framework, a simple selection method which is based on the worth, possibility and the necessity of the improvement actions in each activity is presented. This method is called Urgency Analysis. In the second stage it is analyzed how much a certain change of productivity in an activity affects the profitability of a firm. A theoretical calculation model with which it is possible to analyze the effects of a productivity improvement in monetary values is presented. On the basis of this theoretical model a tool is made for the analysis at the firm level. The usefulness of this framework was empirically tested with the data of the profit center of one medium size Finnish firm which operates in metal industry. It is expressedthat the framework provides valuable information about the economical effects of productivity improvement for supporting the management in their decision making.
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