Departmentalization of Factory Overhead

Departmentalization of factory overhead method dividing the plant into parts or sections called departments or cost centers to which expenses are charged. From the accounting point of view, the division of plant into separate part according to some logical form provides more accurate results and better control.

More accurate costing of jobs and products is possible because each department will be charged with overhead rates which are reasonable for that department. A job or product going by different departments will be charged with the predetermined rates of those departments not a single plant wide overhead rate. The overhead cost, depending upon the kind and number of departments by which a product passes, will be charged, and in this way it will be an easy job to calculate the cost of a product at any stage that may be the requirement of the organization.

As the cost records of the overhead are obtainable department wise, it is easy to control and to find out the reason or reasons of any variance.

There are two main types or class of departments. One is the producing department which is engaged in actual manufacturing of the products by changing the shape, form or character of the materials worked upon, or by just assembling the parts into a finished product. A few examples of producing departments are spinning departments, weaving departments, finishing departments cutting departments etc. The other one is the service department which produces nothing but helps in production indirectly by rendering sets to other departments. A few examples of sets departments are repairing department, purchasing departments, storage departments, cafeteria, inspection etc.

The number and kind of departments in which a manufacturing concern will be divided largely depends on the character of its business, size, and requirements. A small size of a manufacturing concern may be having only one department and big concern may have many departments. But the number of department should be such that should help for the smooth running of all operations instead of being a cause of the red tapeism.

There are no hard and fast rules for the formation of departments. The most shared approach is to divide the factory along lines of functional activities or group of activities composing a department. For proper control of factory overhead and accuracy in costing production, the division of factory into separate, interrelated and independently governed units is required, The following factors should be given due importance in deciding the types of departments required for establishing accurate departmental overhead rates for the purpose of controlling costs: (a) Similarity in the character of work and machinery; (b) Responsibilities for turnover and costs; (c) Location of operational activities and machinery; (d) Relation of manufacturing activities to flow of product; (e) Number of departments or cost centers required.

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