Western Pants, Inc. is one of America’s oldest clothing firms. Founded in the mid- nineteenth century, the firm successfully weathered lean years and the Great Depression largely as the result of the market durability of its dominant, and at times only, product— blue denim jeans. Until 1950, the firm had never seriously marketed other products or even additional types of trousers. A significant change in marketing strategy in the 1950s altered that course, which Western’s management had revered for 100 years. Aggressive new managers decided at that time that Western’s well- established name could and should be used to market other lines of pants. Consumers welcomed initial offerings in a men’s casual trouser. The company produced different patterns of this basic style and stylish, tailored variations of the same casual motif almost yearly.
Alert managerial planning in the early 1960s enabled Western to become the first pants manufacturer to establish itself in the revolutionary “wash and wear” field. Further refinement of this process broadened the weave and fabric types that could be tailored into fashionable trousers and still survive enough machine wash and dry cycles to satisfy Western’s rigid quality- control standards.
With the advent of “mod” clothing and the generally casual yet stylish garb that became acceptable attire at semiformal affairs, pants became fashion attire, rather than the mere clothing staples they had been in years past. Western quickly gained a foothold in the bell- bottom and flare market, and from there grew with the “leg look” to its present position as the free world’s largest clothing manufacturer.

1. Describe the steps and the process of developing cost budgets for operations within a plant at Western Pants?
2. For what purposes do managers at Western Pants use budgets?
3. With respect to plant operations, what decisions are made by headquarters and what decisions are made by plant managers? Do you regard plant managers as cost centers or profit centers?
4. What problems at the plants result from the budgeting system and why?
5. What changes in Western’s budgeting and responsibility accounting system would you recommend?

  • CreatedJanuary 15, 2015
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