Set-Up Costs

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Set-up costs are the costs incurred from getting a machine ready to produce the desired good. In a manufacturing setting this would require the use of a skilled technician (a cost) who disassembles the tooling that is currently in use on the machine. The disassembled tooling is then taken to a tool room or tool shop for maintenance or possible repair (another cost). The technician then takes the currently needed tooling from the tool room (where it has been maintained; another cost) and brings it to the machine in question.

There the technician has to assemble the tooling on the machine in the manner required for the good to be produced (this is known as a “set-up”). Then the technician has to calibrate the machine and probably will run a number of parts, that will have to be scrapped (a cost), in order to get the machine correctly calibrated and running. All the while the machine has been idle and not producing any parts (opportunity cost). As one can see, there is considerable cost involved in set-up. If the firm purchases the part or raw material, then an order cost, rather than a set-up cost, is incurred. Ordering costs include the purchasing agent’s salary and travel/entertainment budget, administrative and secretarial support, office space, copiers and office supplies, forms and documents, long-distance telephone bills, and computer systems and support. Also, some firms include the cost of shipping the purchased goods in the order cost.

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