Activity-based costing seeks to relate all relevant expenses to the value adding activities performed. For example, costs are assigned to a customer or product to reflect all relevant activity cost independent of when and where they occur. The fundamental concept of activity-based costing is that expenses need to be assigned to the activity that consumes a resource rather than to an organizational or budget unit. For example, 2 products produced in the same manufacturing facility, may require different assembling and handling procedures. One product may need an assembly or packaging operations that requires additional equipment or labor. If total equipment and labor costs are allocated to the products on the basis of sales or units produced than both items will be charged for the additional assembly and packaging operations required by only one of them.
In case of logistics, the key event is a customer order and related activities and relevant costs that reflect the work required to fulfill the order In other words, logistical activity-based costing must provide managers the insights needed to determine if a specific customer, product, order, or service is profitable. This requires matching specific revenue with specific costs. The guiding criteria for effective logistical activity-based costing are relevancy and consistency. Relevancy is important in the sense that the costs assignment helps managers to better understand the major factors affecting logistics expenses. Consistency is important in terms of comparing related activities over time. In the final analysis, a logistical costing system has to make sense only to the managers who are using it as a guide to decision making.
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