Supply Chain Management - networked thinking: money costs and alternative costs in sales


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Text comes from: Supply Chain Management: Wie Sie mit vernetztem Denken im 21. Jahrhundert überleben (2015) from Erwin Langemann, published by FAZ, one of Germany's most well-known newspapers, Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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In many industries joint actions are carried out between producers and traders. In the gastronomy and the industry, for example, events are organized.

Supply Chain Management - networked thinking: money and alternative costs in sales gastronomie


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Erwin Langmann langmann_erwinErwin Langmann is a consultant for risk management with a focus on transport, logistics and supply chain management.

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sales partnerships

Thus, a beverage manufacturer supports the catering trade, when larger events are organized. Often, a sales representative of the beverage manufacturer then comes on site to discuss and plan the event together with the restaurateur.

So also in this example: A summer party of the restaurateur is on the program. The innkeeper expects the salesman to provide effective support, and also demands that the supplier contribute to the joint project, since both can benefit from it.

Profit maximization? Wrong!

For its part, the seller wants to help the customer with his possibilities for the summer party and with minimum own costs.

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A profit-maximizing behavior is not possible with the classical cost accounting. It is also completely irrelevant whether the cost accounting

  • as process cost accounting,
  • as cover contribution calculation (DB invoice),
  • as a step-by-step fixed cost contribution calculation (fixed cost DB),
  • as a partial cost calculation or
  • as an overhead costing.

It can not indicate the cost of unused opportunities in the classical form.

Accuracy where there is none!

Even worse, the classic cost calculation simulates exactness where management and the entrepreneur can not be found. On the contrary:

The classical cost calculation leads us astray, if we are - mistakenly - convinced that it can show us the relevant costs in management decisions!

Alternative costs are missing

The classic cost calculation can not specify future-oriented values; it is, on the one hand, past-oriented and, on the other hand, it can not identify alternative costs.

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In our case, the alternative costs consist of possible subsistence costs or possible overstock costs.

The newspaper boy model

It can not be emphasized enough that the news vendor model (newspaper boy model) is an absolute quantum leap in the development of valuation methods in supply chain management and therefore can not be overestimated and classified.

With this model, the breakthrough has been able to calculate the costs of unused opportunities and to make optimal management decisions based on these.

computing Games

Is the collaboration between catering and suppliers now a win-win situation or a zero-sum game for both? The host needs a large amount of his drink. One hectolitre costs the manufacturer 20 Euro (valued at production costs). Usually, the hectoliter is sold to the host with a net selling price of 60 Euro.

For his part, he can earn a net sales price (without taxes) of 120 Euro at the summer party. The seller and the landlord expect sales of about 130 hectoliters.

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A milkmaid calculation

"A milkmaid bill," the seller cheers inwardly, "I just have to provide 30 hectoliters for free. That costs me only 600 Euro (production costs per hectolitre times free hectolitre liter).

However, the landlord has a monetary advantage of 1800 Euro (net selling price per hectolitre times free hectolitre). This is a win-win game for both of us. At the next big event with the innkeeper, I'll get it back in quickly. "The seller is happy. The innkeeper should be too. Or?

You see what you do not see

Beginning of 19. In the 19th century, the French economist Frederik Bastiat dedicated his life to the elucidation of economic myths in works such as the Parable of the Broken Window or the Petition of the Candle Makers.

He called his work "What you see and what you do not see." In it, he devoted himself to the thought traps in the world of economics and targeted many professional groups that were only able to assess the visible; her thoughts were not thought out in many cases.

Win-win or zero-sum game?

Maybe almost 200 years later, we have a mistake in thinking? Let's take a closer look!

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The landlord actually saved 1800 Euros because he got 30 hectoliters provided free of charge by the manufacturer, which he would otherwise have had to pay for the full purchase price. But what about the manufacturer?

The bill without host

It has to bear not only its production costs of 20 Euro per hectolitre, but also the loss of the contribution margin (DB) of 40 Euro per hectolitre.

The lost DB is the normal selling price of the manufacturer to the restaurateurs minus the promotional price. Consequently, the calculation looks as follows:

  • Visible manufacturing costs according to the cost calculation of 600 Euro (these are the money costs, which also appear in the cost calculation).
  • Invisible costs in the form of escaped DB of 1200 Euro (these are the alternative costs that do not appear in cost accounting).
  • Visible costs and non-visible costs add up to 1800 Euro.


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