Elkay Plumbing Products Division
The vice president of sales learns that the most profitable 1% of the division's customers generate 100% of profits, and that two of the division's largest customers lose 50% of profits. The division has just finished a project to install a time-driven activity-based cost system that traces costs directly to the processes used to produce, sell and deliver a wide variety of stainless steel sinks to a diverse customer base. Given the division's high variety of products and customers (which includes wholesalers, retailers, contractors, and distributors), the VP of sales wanted a much more accurate cost system so that he could conduct difficult but fact-based negotiations with customers. The case describes the design and implementation of the new cost and profit measurement system. It documents acceptance and decisions made by managers after seeing the enormous dispersion of profits among their products and customers.