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# Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's

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Math Expert
Joined: 02 Sep 2009
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Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2019, 01:44
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15% (low)

Question Stats:

91% (01:24) correct 9% (01:21) wrong based on 64 sessions

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Competition Mode Question

Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's Supply. Employee wages account for forty percent of the cost of manufacturing pencils at both factories. Harper's is seeking a competitive edge over Johnson's supply. Therefore, to promote this end, Harper's should lower employee wages.

Which of the following, if true, seriously weakens the argument above?

A. Because they make a small number of specialty artist's pencils, pencil manufacturers cannot receive volume discounts on raw materials.
B. Lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales.
C. Harper's Pencils has taken away twenty percent of Johnson's Supply business over the last year.
D. Johnson's Supply pays its employees, on average, ten percent more than does Harper's Pencils.
E. Many people who work for manufacturing plants live in areas in which the manufacturing plant they work for is the only industry.

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Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2019, 02:01
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Conclusion:Harper's is seeking a competitive edge over Johnson's supply. Therefore, to promote this end, Harper's should lower employee wages.
IMO B ; weakens the argument
Lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales.

Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's Supply. Employee wages account for forty percent of the cost of manufacturing pencils at both factories. Harper's is seeking a competitive edge over Johnson's supply. Therefore, to promote this end, Harper's should lower employee wages.

Which of the following, if true, seriously weakens the argument above?

A. Because they make a small number of specialty artist's pencils, pencil manufacturers cannot receive volume discounts on raw materials.
B. Lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales.
C. Harper's Pencils has taken away twenty percent of Johnson's Supply business over the last year.
D. Johnson's Supply pays its employees, on average, ten percent more than does Harper's Pencils.
E. Many people who work for manufacturing plants live in areas in which the manufacturing plant they work for is the only industry.
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Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2019, 02:53
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A. Because they make a small number of specialty artist's pencils, pencil manufacturers cannot receive volume discounts on raw materials.--> Irrelevant
B. Lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales.--> Correct.
C. Harper's Pencils has taken away twenty percent of Johnson's Supply business over the last year. --> Irrelevant
D. Johnson's Supply pays its employees, on average, ten percent more than does Harper's Pencils. --> Irrelevant
E. Many people who work for manufacturing plants live in areas in which the manufacturing plant they work for is the only industry. --> Irrelevant

IMO Option B

This option clearly explains that by lowering salaries, quality reduces and in turn affects sales and hence cuts into profits.
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Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2019, 04:52
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Quote:
Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's Supply. Employee wages account for forty percent of the cost of manufacturing pencils at both factories. Harper's is seeking a competitive edge over Johnson's supply. Therefore, to promote this end, Harper's should lower employee wages.

Which of the following, if true, seriously weakens the argument above?

A. Because they make a small number of specialty artist's pencils, pencil manufacturers cannot receive volume discounts on raw materials.
B. Lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales.
C. Harper's Pencils has taken away twenty percent of Johnson's Supply business over the last year.
D. Johnson's Supply pays its employees, on average, ten percent more than does Harper's Pencils.
E. Many people who work for manufacturing plants live in areas in which the manufacturing plant they work for is the only industry.

ARGUMENT
[con] H should lower wages to gain an edge against J;
[prem] H and J manufacturing costs are the same;
[prem] H and J sells the same pencils;

WEAKEN
A. this could strengthen;
C. irrelevant;
D. irrelevant;
E. irrelevant;

Ans (B) the plan to gain an edge could jeopardize the entire operation.
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Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2019, 09:24
1
The right answer is option B in my view.

Premise 1: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's Supply.
Premise 2: Employee wages account for forty percent of the cost of manufacturing pencils at both factories.
Premise 3: Harper's Pencils is seeking a competitive edge over Johnson's supply.

Conclusion: Therefore, to promote this end, Harper's should lower employee wages.

Assumption: Reduction in wages of employees will not negatively affect the operations of Harper's Pencils.

Negating the assumption: Some aspects of Harper's Pencils operations will be affected if employee's wages are lowered.
If this is true, the argument above is weakened as Harper's Pencils will not be able to get the competitive advantage it is seeking.

Option B says that lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales. If sales are lowered for Harper's Pencils, then sales for Johnson's supply will likely go up since both companies are into the manufacture and sales of similar goods. Hence, Johnson's supply will rather gain a competitive advantage over Harper's Pencils. Hence this option weakens the argument presented above. This is in line with the negated assumption presented above.

The right answer is, therefore, option B.
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Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2019, 10:20
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Posted from my mobile device

B. Lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales......by found so.... results in losses for Harper's.....which weakens the conclusion

OA:B
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Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2019, 20:46
1
Quote:
Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's Supply. Employee wages account for forty percent of the cost of manufacturing pencils at both factories. Harper's is seeking a competitive edge over Johnson's supply. Therefore, to promote this end, Harper's should lower employee wages.

Which of the following, if true, seriously weakens the argument above?

A. Because they make a small number of specialty artist's pencils, pencil manufacturers cannot receive volume discounts on raw materials.
B. Lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales.
C. Harper's Pencils has taken away twenty percent of Johnson's Supply business over the last year.
D. Johnson's Supply pays its employees, on average, ten percent more than does Harper's Pencils.
E. Many people who work for manufacturing plants live in areas in which the manufacturing plant they work for is the only industry.

A. Incorrect - out of scope. (A) states that volume discounts are not a possibility, but it does not consider whether reducing employee wages is a good idea.
B. Correct. If lower wages reduce sales, then the argument will be weakened because Harper's competitive edge could be lessened if its sales fall.
C. Incorrect - out of scope. The past experience of Harper's Pencils bears nothing on whether the decision to reduce employee wages will increase its competitive edge.
D. Incorrect - insufficient information. The difference in wages paid at Johnson's Supply versus Harper's Pencils does not indicate that Harper's Pencils will suffer from reducing wages. Johnson's Supply could be paying too much as-is or have a different manufacturing footprint in higher-cost areas, for example.
E. Incorrect. "Many people" is difficult to parse and it is not clear whether "many people" applies to those in pencil manufacturing zones, or whether Harper's Pencils operates in those locations.
D.
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Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2019, 00:27
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Harper is seeking a competitive edge over Johnsons ie to increase sales. In order to do so, it would like to lower its salaries. But by lowering salaries, it might reduce the quality of the product and therefore the sales and might not gain over Johnsons.
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Posts: 60772
Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's  [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2019, 00:48
Bunuel wrote:

Competition Mode Question

Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's Supply. Employee wages account for forty percent of the cost of manufacturing pencils at both factories. Harper's is seeking a competitive edge over Johnson's supply. Therefore, to promote this end, Harper's should lower employee wages.

Which of the following, if true, seriously weakens the argument above?

A. Because they make a small number of specialty artist's pencils, pencil manufacturers cannot receive volume discounts on raw materials.
B. Lowering wages would reduce the quality of employee work and this reduced quality would lead to lowered sales.
C. Harper's Pencils has taken away twenty percent of Johnson's Supply business over the last year.
D. Johnson's Supply pays its employees, on average, ten percent more than does Harper's Pencils.
E. Many people who work for manufacturing plants live in areas in which the manufacturing plant they work for is the only industry.

Official Explanation

The best answer is B. The effect of lowering wages is to reduce quality sufficiently to reduce sales. This is a good reason to doubt that wage cuts would give
Johnson any competitive edge.
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Re: Harper's Pencils manufactures and sells the same pencils as Johnson's   [#permalink] 19 Nov 2019, 00:48
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