Programming a Virginia packers's processed meats operation

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute


The processed meats operation of a typical Viiginia meat-packing firm was analyzed to investigate the possibilities of improving the operation. Linear programming was chosen as the analytical tool. Large firms in competing areas have adopted programming and found it profitable. Little information has been available relative to the usefulness of programming to the size of operations typical in Virginia.

Least-cost ingredient mixes were developed for the various processed products. Optimum product combinations were ascertained under various conditional restraints. The marginal value products of restrictive resources were estimated. The possibility of improving the pattern of production was investigated and an optimum array of prices portrayed for an established operation.

Regardless of the competitive situation faced by the firm, linear programming will be useful in decreasing the cost of the ingredient mixes and in directing the purchase of restrictive ingredients. The feasibility of adjusting an operation in accordance with an optimum product combination and/or an optimum array of prices will be determined largely by the competitive situation faced by a particular firm. Since no two firms operate under the same conditions or face the same competitive situation, the applicability of programming will therefore vary from firm to firm.

The results suggest that programming can be an extremely valuable management tool for Virginia packers when used to suggest ways of decreasing operating costs and to provide guidelines for the many decisions involved in the production and sale of processed meats.