Why We Need the FDA
C. Montgomery Burns
February 13, 2006
Math 102 Students
Norton, MA 02766
Dear Calculus Students:
With all of the recent hullabaloo about nuclear materials and the
``Axis of Evil'', I've decided that the time is ripe for me to diversify my business somewhat.
With the shortage of flu vaccines last fall and rising deductibles on prescriptions, the market
seems perfectly situated to introduce The Itchy and Scratchy Brand over-the-counter flu remedy.
When I went looking for help in determining how much to produce,
your enterprising and resourceful professor naturally referred me to you.
I have a rough idea about the potential costs and revenues.
There will be some small initial fixed costs of approximately \$5000 to convert a portion of my plant from
handling radioactive waste to producing the flu remedy. I expect that labor costs per unit will initially decrease as we gain more
efficiency, but these costs will eventually increase when we have to pay overtime. Further, we will be able to
reduce the costs of materials per unit by buying in larger quantities, but we will subsequently
max out the capacity of our long-time suppliers in Springfield, and costs will rise when we
have to ship in materials from Capitol City.
The plan is to distribute the remedy to retailers in cases containing 1000 doses each.
Upon the advice of your enterprising and resourceful professor,
my top-notch R\&D department (i.e. Smithers) has conducted extensive research to determine
the materials costs, the labor costs, and the wholesale price the market will bear
for several different levels of production.
|Cases Produced || 300 || 800 || 1800 || 2800 || 3800 || 4800 ||5800 ||6800|
|Materials cost per case ($) || 1050 || 725 || 300 || 50 || 15 || 175 ||550 ||1100|
|Labor cost per case ($) || 350 || 225 || 50 || 10 || 100 || 325 ||675 ||1200 |
|Wholesale price per case ($) || 10 || 30 || 60 || 85 || 100 || 105 ||105 ||100 |
There are several vital pieces of information I need in order to plan for our production.
Specifically, I would like to know the number of cases we must manufacture to break even, the number to
manufacture to maximize our total profit, and the number to manufacture to maximize the profit per case. I would, of course,
also like to know what the profits will be in each situation. I am quite interested in your insightful analysis of this venture
and your specific recommendations.
I will need your report by March 3 in order to prepare for production for next fall.
C. Montgomery Burns
A Few Comments From Your Enterprising and Resourceful Professor
The information requested will almost certainly not occur at one of the
given data points. I would suggest that you try to
find one function that models the materials cost, a different function that models the labor cost,
and another that models the wholesale price reasonably well. Plotting these points should
give you an idea of the types of functions that will be likely candidates.
Once you have these functions, you should be able to determine the necessary equations to find the requested information.