Direct materials quantity variance explanation, formula, reasons, example


The management therefore needs to assess performance while taking all these relevant factors into account. Direct material quantity variance is calculated to determine the efficiency of the production department in converting raw material to finished goods. In order to improve efficiency, wastage of raw material must be reduced. A negative value of direct material quantity variance is generally unfavorable and it implies that more quantity of direct material has been used in the production process than actually needed. A positive value of direct material quantity variance is favorable implying that raw material was efficiently converted to finished goods.

  • When a company makes a product and compares the actual materials cost to the standard materials cost, the result is the total direct materials cost variance.
  • Pam pays the rent of ​$500 a​ year, and her total revenue is ​$16,000 a year.
  • This means that an improperly high baseline will hide what may actually be an excessive amount of quantity usage.
  • If it’s not because of defective materials, look into how your factory workers are trained.
  • An unfavorable
    variance15 has a negative impact on operating

For example, the unfavorable price variance at Jerry’s Ice Cream might have been a result of purchasing high-quality materials, which in turn led to less waste in production and a favorable quantity variance. This also might have a positive impact on direct labor, as less time will be spent dealing with materials waste. Accountants determine whether a variance is favorable or unfavorable by reliance on reason or logic. If more materials were used than the standard quantity, or if a price greater than the standard price was paid, the variance is unfavorable. The following equations summarize the calculations for direct materials cost variance.

The producer must be aware that the difference between what it expects to happen and what actually happens will affect all of the goods produced using these particular materials. Therefore, the sooner management is aware of a problem, the sooner they can fix it. For that reason, the material price variance is computed at the time of purchase and not when the material is used in production. A favorable materials quantity variance indicates savings in the use of direct materials. An unfavorable variance, on the other hand, indicates that the amount of materials used exceeds the standard requirement.

The materials quantity variance calculation presented previously shows the actual quantity used in production of 399,000 pounds is lower than the expected (budgeted) quantity of 420,000 pounds. Clearly, this is favorable because the actual quantity used was lower than the expected (budgeted) quantity. The standard quantity of 420,000 pounds is the quantity of materials allowed given actual production. For Jerry’s Ice Cream, the standard quantity of materials per unit of production is 2 pounds per unit.

Material Price Variance Formula

In a multi-product company, the total quantity variance is divided over each of the products manufactured. This will result in a product usage variance for each unit produced. As raw materials move into production, you record a transfer from the raw materials stage to the WIP stage. You use estimated prices and quantities to show the movement on your books.

  • However, setting too high standard costs will impact our selling price.
  • Each bottle has a standard material cost of 8 ounces at $0.85 per ounce.
  • He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.
  • Actual and standard quantities and prices are given in the following table for direct materials to produce 1,000 units.

The direct material variance is comprised of two other variances, which are noted below. It is customary to calculate and report these two variances separately, so that management can determine if variances are caused by purchasing issues or manufacturing problems. With either of these formulas, the actual quantity used refers to the actual amount of materials used to create one unit of product. The actual price paid is the actual amount paid for materials per unit. If there is no difference between the standard price and the actual price paid, the outcome will be zero, and no price variance exists. In this case, the actual price per unit of materials is $6.00, the standard price per unit of materials is $7.00, and the actual quantity purchased is 20 pounds.

Total standard cost per unit $ 78.00

Factory workers who receive insufficient training won’t work at maximum efficiency, wasting more material than is necessary for production. Watch this video featuring a professor of accounting walking through the steps involved in calculating a material price variance and a material quantity variance to learn more. The material quantity variance in this example is favorable because the company manufactured the output using a lesser quantity of materials than what was planned in the budget. Note 10.26 «Business in Action 10.2» illustrates just how
important it is to track direct materials variances accurately.

Question Submitted

Through variance analysis, companies are able to
identify problem areas (material costs for Jerry’s) and consider
alternatives to controlling costs in the future. Abnormal spoilage increases the amount of raw material consumed in manufacturing, creating an unfavorable materials quantity variance. Low-quality raw materials, broken machinery, and inadequately trained workers may be to blame for abnormal spoilage.

How to calculate materials quantity variance

In the standard costing system, material costs are posted at the standard price. The actual quantity (1,200 sheets) of plastic is removed from the raw materials inventory at the standard price (4.00) giving a credit entry of 4,800 posted to the account. The standard quantity (1,000) which should have been used in production is transferred to work in process inventory at the standard price (4.00), giving a total debit entry of 4,000. The difference between the two postings is the variance of -800, which is posted to the direct materials variance account as a debit representing the unfavorable variance. These thin margins are the reason auto suppliers examine direct materials variances so carefully. Any unexpected increase in steel prices will likely cause significant unfavorable materials price variances, which will lead to lower profits.

A number of parties may be held responsible for an unfavorable quantity variance (or take credit for a favorable variance!). For example, the scrapping of a number of units in the production process may mean that the quality of incoming components was inadequate, which could be the problem of the purchasing department. Conversely, the same level of scrap may be caused by improper equipment setup, which is the responsibility of the industrial engineering staff. Or, the issue may be caused by improper training of the production staff, which is an issue for the production manager. Thus, some extra investigation is needed before the raw data represented by a quantity variance can be acted upon.

In business, inventory refers to the stock of goods or raw material held by the entity for further production or sales. Similarly, a favorable quantity variance may be based on a baseline that is too generous. This means that an improperly high baseline will hide what may actually be an excessive amount of quantity usage. Indirect materials include nails, screws, glue, and other small or immaterial items. GR Spring and Stamping, Inc., a
supplier of stampings to automotive companies, was generating
pretax profit margins of about 3 percent prior to the increase in
steel prices.

Clearly, this is unfavorable because the actual price was higher
than the expected (budgeted) price. In a manufacturing company, the purchasing and accounting departments usually set a standard price for materials meeting certain engineering specifications. When setting a standard price, they consider factors such as market conditions, vendors’ quoted prices, and the optimum size of a purchase order.

The difference column shows that 200 fewer pounds were used than expected (favorable). It also shows that the actual price per pound was $0.30 higher than standard cost (unfavorable). The direct materials used in production cost more than was anticipated, which is an unfavorable outcome. Angro Limited, a single product American company, employs a proper standard costing system.

If your business makes fancy bow ties, the direct material is silk, for instance. We actually paid $38,080 for materials we expected to pay $40,800 for. Our purchasing department was able to find materials for less than our standard, saving voting trust agreement definition us a significant amount of money, which in turn improves the bottom line, which means this is a favorable variance. We could interpret the negative number as “below expectations” which is possibly a good thing when it comes to cost.