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Executive Summary

Product costing is the process of recording and allocating expenses, which are incurred in the
process of producing and selling a product, to the respective products. It is done to enable the
company to valuate the inventory and for various internal and external reporting requirements.
Product costing in process industry is typical and challenging due to the simultaneous production
of more than one product from common inputs using common initial process. It is an intensely
debated issue in global accounting and economists’ forums. This white paper gives a perspective
on product costing in process industry and the SAP features available to enable the same. The
initial section of the paper discusses the standard methods of cost apportionment. A typical
process industry scenario with a possible costing model is discussed to exemplify the process.
The discussion is then followed by an approach that can be taken to map the costing model in
SAP.

Product Costing in Process Industry –SAP Perspective
Process industry across the globe is faced with the challenge of costing joint-products (Co-products) which are getting produced simultaneously in the process using the same inputs. The processing plant in such cases is like a black box and there are usually no fixed formulae to represent the changes happening inside. There may be multiple outputs that the plant produces; a couple of them may be the main revenue generating products (Joint-products/Co-products) while there may be others which are incidental to the process(by-products) and may not be significant revenue generators. The model of costing the by-products and apportioning cost among the joint products varies from organization to organization based on the governing principles and standards of costing.

I.Standard Cost Apportionment Practices
The practice of product costing is governed by a set of principles and standards which need due revisit before any discussion on the subject. These standards and principles give us the perspective and the battery limits within which the costing model has to be designed. Briefly, the practices involved are as mentioned below:
· By-products can be cost at their net realization value i.e the cost of by-products is equal to their selling price.
· The practices of cost apportionment among the joint-products are as summarized below:

a) Market Value Bases: Cost allocations are made based on the individual product’s ability
to absorb, as indicated by the sales prices. Higher the selling price higher will be the cost
apportioned to it.
Ex: If Rs.100 has to be apportioned between two joint products and the selling price ratio for the products is 6:4 then the cost apportioned to the first joint product is Rs.60 and that of the other is Rs.40 as per their selling price ratio.

b) Physical Unit Bases: costs are allocated to individual products on some physical measurement basis, viz. weight, volume, or some other common unit used to measure output. This is applicable only when the physical units of measurements are same or inter-convertible.
Ex: If Rs.100 has to be apportioned between two joint products and the volume ratios for the two products is 3:7 then the cost apportioned to the first joint product is Rs.30 and that of the other is Rs.70 as per their weight ratio.

c) Techno Commercial factor evaluation Base: More than one factor may play a role in the incurrence of joint costs. In such case, the weighted average of the key evaluators can be taken as a base.
Ex: In the caustic soda industry, the primary process, where the three products occur: Caustic, Chlorine and Hydrogen, a stoichiometric ratio of the two products is used for separating the costs

d) Cost Drivers as a Base: Cost drivers used in activity based costing can be used as a logical basis for cost allocation.
Ex: : If two products A and B are produced using a total of 25 Kw of energy and as per standards the energy consumption per unit of output for A and B are 20 Kw and 5Kw respectively then the cost is allocated as per the calculations shown below (assuming 1 unit each of products A and B are produced)

III. Process Industry Scenario
A typical process industry consists of a mother plant which takes in the raw material (Raw Mat A) along with some chemicals and utilities and processes it to produce two or more joint/co-products (Co-prod B, Co-prod C). The co-products are further processed in respective processing plants to produce finished goods (FG B,FG C). The mother plant also produces some incidental/by-products (By-prod D, By-prod E) along with the coproducts. These by-products can be further processed in their respective processing units to produce finished goods, further by-products (By-prod D2) and Recyclable materials. The figure below represents a typical scenario.

 

 

IV. Proposed Costing Model
The process industry scenario discussed above puts up a couple of challenging issues to be addressed. The key issues with regards to costing in a process industry are:
· Fluctuating raw material costs · Apportioning cost between Co-products ‘B’ and ‘C’
· Costing by-products · Costing Recycled materials In light of the practices discussed above, a possible costing model for such a scenario can be as discussed below. The cost calculations are done as a back flush i.e the last item gets cost first and then the calculations move backwards:

  • All costs must be calculated per unit of the product.
  • Recyclable materials cost can be a logical equation. In the scenario discussed above let’s
    assume that the calorific value of the recyclable material is same as that of Raw material ‘A’. In
    such a situation the cost of the recyclable material is treated same as that of raw material A.
    Saleable By-products cost = Net realization Value of the by-product = Selling price of byproduct-( further processing cost administrative expenses + selling and distribution expenses)
    Cost of by-product E1 = NR. of E1 = Rs.20/Kg (Say)
    Cost of by-product D3 = NR. of D3 = Rs.20/Kg (Say)
    Cost of by-product D1 = NR. of D1 = Rs.10/Kg (Say)
  • Intermediary by-products cost = (Cost of the saleable by-product from the respective plant –
    processing cost of the plant ) / units of intermediary by –product consumed
    Cost of by-product D2 = (Cost of producing D3- processing cost of plant D2)/ Quantity of D2 used =
    (10-5)/0.5 = Rs. 10/Kg
  • In a similar fashion the cost of other intermediary by-products can be calculated as shown in the figure below.
    Cost of by-product D = Rs.20/Kg
    Cost of by-product E = Rs.16/Kg
  • The cost of by-products coming out of the mother plant is subtracted (credited) from the total cost of production at the mother plant. This gives the cost to be apportioned between the co-products. Thus,Cost to be apportioned between Co-products B and C = {(150+8)-(10+8)}= Rs. 140
  • The total cost after crediting by-product cost is apportioned between B and C in the ratio of their selling price.
    Assuming the selling price ratio B:C = 1.3:1.5. Thus the cost apportioned is as follows:
    Cost of Co-product B = 65
    Cost of Co-product C = 75
    Assuming 2 kg of B and 1 kg of C are produced the unit cost then becomes
    Cost of Co-product B = Rs.32.5/Kg
    Cost of Co-product C = Rs.75/Kg
    Cost of FG B= cost of Co-product B+ further processing cost = 32.5+1= Rs.33.5/kg
    and Cost of FG C= cost of Co-product C+ further processing cost = 75+2= Rs.77/kg

 

V. SAP Perspective

SAP provides features to map such complex models. The pre-requisite is to have a very clear
understanding of the business process. The relevant SAP features applicable to map the above scenario are discussed briefly as follows:

  • Define Costing Variant: It is a pre-requisite for product costing. The rules governing the costing process have to be defined in the costing variant. It includes the strategy for material valuation, activity valuation, overhead calculations etc. The cost component structure maintained in the costing variant helps to generate the result of the costing as per the desired format. The costing sheet helps in determining the overhead for the product.
  • By-product costing and Recyclable materials: SAP provides the feature of “Without quantity structure” calculations to do a costing of products for which no BOM exists. Such materials are cost based on equations as discussed in the costing model section above. The “without quantity structure” feature in SAP works like a worksheet where the respective calculations can be done based on the SAP standards. The cost thus calculated can be then updated to the respective products. The cost of by-products and recyclable costs should credit back to the cost of leading co-product. These are maintained as negative quantities in BOM for leading co-product.
  • Co-product costing: SAP provides the following features to cost co-products

a) Equivalence numbers for Co-products have to be maintained in material master of the co-               products to help distribute the cost between the co-products (Ex:S.P. Ratio B:C:1.3:1.5).

          b) “With quantity structure” calculations feature of SAP is used to do the cost calculations.                  The “with quantity structure” process uses the BOM and routing of the material as per the                   rules of costing variant to do cost calculations. Joint product is also maintained as negative                 quantity in BOM of leading co-product to credit back its cost to the leading co-product.

  • Each cost calculation is followed by a cost update process in SAP. The update process assures that the latest cost gets updated in the respective material masters. The latest costs are then used to valuate inventory.
  • SAP provided numerous reports with extensive details on the costing process. This assures further analysis and audit trails

 

Conclusion / Summary
Product costing in SAP demands a detailed understanding of the business process and a strong integration with other modules. SAP provides elaborate process to map complex costing models. The key therefore is to understand the business process.

References
1) http://help.sap.com
2) Monograph on Joint and By-products Costing-ICAI Publications-2005
3) http://www.iasplus.com

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