You are the chair of the Network’s ad hoc task force. Your charge is to evaluate the two alternatives and to make a recommendation on which one to accept, if revenues would be identical for the two alternatives, and hence the decision can be made solely on the basis of costs. As part of the analysis, the costs of the two alternatives must be estimated on a per procedure basis and an annual basis. In addition, any relevant qualitative factors must be considered before the recommendation is made.
To keep the base case analysis manageable, the task force was instructed to assume that the operating costs remain constant over the useful life of the equipment. For comparative purposes, this assumption is not too egregious because the activities are roughly the same for both alternatives and, hence, inflation would have a somewhat neutral impact on the cost comparison.
In addition, the System CFO has asked the task force to perform some sensitivity (scenario) analyses. He is concerned about the accuracy of the cost detail inputs. Although he is confident about many of the estimates, he thinks others are more arbitrary. Those activity cost inputs considered to be most uncertain are supplies cost per unit; billing and collection cost per unit; general administration cost per unit; and transportation, setup, and breakdown cost per unit.
Thus, first, the task force must redo the analysis assuming that these inputs are higher than the base case values by 10 and 20 percent. Activity cost inputs less than the base case values could also be examined, but the critical issue here is not to underestimate the total costs involved in the two alternatives. Second, the task force must determine what would happen to the cost estimates if the useful life of the capital equipment were as short as three years or as long as seven years. Another concern was that the useful life of the equipment depended on the alternative chosen; that is, there would be less wear and tear under Alternative 1 than under Alternative 2. Finally, the task force must assess the impact of a purchase discount: Would the discount amount influence the ultimate decision?
You believe that performing a sensitivity analysis on the number of procedures would be helpful, but you realize this task would require recalculation of the per unit cost inputs, an effort thought to be too time-consuming to undertake at this point in the analysis.
NOTE: The student can make this as detailed as desired, that is, s/he can add as much financial information (spreadsheets) to match one’s comfort level with numbers and number crunching.