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# While there is no fixed model for lowering costs

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Manager
Joined: 06 Jul 2014
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Concentration: Finance, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 660 Q48 V32
While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 08 Oct 2017, 18:56
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Question 1
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While there is no fixed model for lowering costs and increasing efficiency in different businesses, automation is one choice that has proved successful in the United States. In industries well suited for automation – ranging from retail and banking to semiconductor and auto manufacturing – the gains in efficiency from switching from traditional to automated manufacturing and automated processes have been remarkable. Consider the situation today for a bank dispersing cash: forty years ago it actually cost the bank to distribute money all day to customers; today those same banks reap millions in ATM fees from machines that cost very little to operate. Likewise, consider the time and cost to produce one Ford automobile before the implementation of robotic assembly lines compared to the time and cost today.

Automation has not only lowered operation costs through decreased labor expenses, but also increased efficiency in almost every aspect of production. At companies like Amazon, the handling time for packaging and shipping products has been reduced by over 40%. At GE Medical, which manufactures products that require high levels of precision, errors in manufacturing that were common in the days of mostly human production are now virtually non-existent. In industries that require work in dangerous environments, the time to complete a particular job has decreased by up to 60%, since time-consuming (and expensive) safety processes can be avoided. While most of this improved efficiency has come about because of gains from the actual robotic machinery, the employees themselves have accounted for some of this improvement. In tasks that require particularly difficult or monotonous work, robots free up workers to focus on higher-level oversight jobs for which they get greater satisfaction. This leads to a more productive and efficient workforce, adding to the gains from the automation itself.

Because of examples like these, some business analysts have suggested that widespread automation across all industries would provide a needed acceleration to the struggling productivity numbers in the U.S. Yet they miss the important wisdom of John Kenneth Galbraith: “it is a wise economist who recognizes the scope of his own generalizations.” While automation is the right solution for many businesses, there remains a necessity for human insight and flexible decision-making in many types of manufacturing businesses for which automation has been recommended. Automation is often the correct choice, but it might actually yield a further decline in productivity numbers if not implemented selectively and appropriately.
Q1. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about automation in manufacturing and other processes?

(A) It is an essential element for success in a majority of businesses.
(B) it fits in its most general form to John Kenneth Galbraith’s views for improving efficiency.
(C) It was first used in banking and automotive industries.
(D) It has been more successful than other methods for lowering costs and improving efficiency.
(E) It is taking place more slowly than some business analysts believe is necessary.

Spoiler: :: OA&OE

Q2. Which of the following best describes the role of the 2nd paragraph in the passage above?

a) To provide additional examples to support the main idea presented in the 1st paragraph
b) To present specific evidence to support the opinion outlined in the 3rd paragraph.
c) To give several examples that contradict the position presented in the 3rd paragraph.
d) To shift the direction of the passage by presenting evidence to support an alternative position
e) To exemplify the main position of the author with several particular cases.

Q3. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage above?

a) Automation is more likely to increase efficiency and lower costs in businesses that involve dangerous work environments than in those that do not.

b) Errors in manufacturing occur more frequently in businesses that require high levels of precision than in those that do not.

c) Some types of business will benefit more from automation of their manufacturing and processes than will other types.

d) Businesses involving packaging and shipping receive greater benefits in efficiency and lowered costs from automation than do other types of businesses.

e) Businesses involving high technology and complicated manufacturing are more suited to automation than those involving low-level technology and simple manufacturing.

Q4.The quote highlighted in the 3rd paragraph is most likely used to:

a) counter an opinion that the author believes is incorrect.
b) support the author’s belief in automation for increasing efficiency.
c) point out how poorly the author’s opponents have supported their position.
d) point out an inconsistency in a highly debatable viewpoint.
e) challenge the principle introduced in the 3rd paragraph.

Q5. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about errors in manufacturing?

(A) They are an unavoidable problem in traditional manufacturing systems.
(B) They are the most important problem to fix through automation.
(C) They are an essential element for success when switching to automation from traditional manufacturing.
(D) They are a phenomenon found more often in traditional manufacturing than in automated manufacturing.
(E) They are an obstacle to increased efficiency and lower costs in traditional production.

Spoiler: :: OA&OE
To answer this inference style question, you need to first take advantage of the specificity in the question stem: go find where errors in manufacturing were discussed. Perhaps you remember from your initial reading but otherwise you need to scan for those keywords and you will find this discussed in the 5th line of the 2nd paragraph: “At GE Medical, which manufactures products that require high levels of precision, errors in manufacturing that were common in the days of mostly human production are now virtually non-existent.” This sentence is being used as an example to support the topic sentence of the paragraph, which states: “Automation has not only lowered operation costs through decreased labor expenses, but also increased efficiency in almost every aspect of production.” Therefore, the author is using the disappearance of manufacturing errors as an example of lowered costs and increased efficiency – given this, manufacturing errors must represent an obstacle to increased efficiency and lower costs so (E) is the correct answer.

For (A) the word “unavoidable” is not supported by the passage. You know that errors in manufacturing were common in traditional manufacturing for a business that required high levels of precision, but they may have been easily avoidable in other types of traditional manufacturing. For (B), nothing is given in the passage to support which problems are most important to fix with automation. For (C), errors in manufacturing are something you are trying to remove with automation, so they are in no way elements for success. (D) is the trickiest of the incorrect answers as it is almost surely true, but there is no support for it in the passage. From the second paragraph, you learn that manufacturing errors were common in traditional manufacturing for businesses requiring a high level of precision. It could be that in other more common types of businesses, automation causes more errors in manufacturing than does traditional manufacturing. While it is easy to assume that this statement is true across all types of businesses, you simply do not know this from the passage and as a result it is not a proper inference. Correct answer is (E).

Originally posted by Bounce1987 on 14 Aug 2017, 07:35.
Last edited by hazelnut on 08 Oct 2017, 18:56, edited 4 times in total.
Reformatted question
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2017, 07:45
Top Contributor
Please format the post properly according to the rules here https://gmatclub.com/forum/rc-forum-rul ... 55874.html

Otherwise the post is locked. Thank you.

Regards
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2017, 19:35
I personally have trouble with finding the accredited answers, especially for Q1, Q3, Q4 and Q5.
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2017, 23:29
Explanations for Q1 and Q4 please.
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2017, 01:19
[align=][/align]Can experts explain Qs 2 and Qs 5. I see both A and E can be the answers in 2 and D in 5

GMATNinja, Mikemcgarry anyone?

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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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26 Aug 2017, 02:55
Q5: How it's not D and for Q4:why it's not D?
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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26 Aug 2017, 06:44
2
Official OE for Q1
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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26 Aug 2017, 23:10
1
Q4.The quote highlighted in the 3rd paragraph is most likely used to: (3rd para talks about use of automation and its selective role in the the industry such that it is efficiently applied thus not hampering productivity)

a) counter an opinion that the author believes is incorrect.....(the author is trying to point out the Business Analyst's suggestion (OPINION) that increased automation--->increased productivity....whereas author believes that automation needs to be used selectively and not everywhere)
b) support the author’s belief in automation for increasing efficiency ............( goes against what is implied in 3rd Para..)
c) point out how poorly the author’s opponents have supported their position.....(too extreme...also author doesn't have any opponents...he aint arguing)
d) point out an inconsistency in a highly debatable viewpoint....(again the words "highly debatable" are extremes...its no where mentioned that author is trying to debate on a viewpoint)
e) challenge the principle introduced in the 3rd paragraph.....(there is no mention of any principle....A principle is one that has been proved to be true where the first line in 3rd para is just a mere suggestion of a few Analyst)
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2017, 01:55
IMO,

Q5. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about errors in manufacturing?

a) They are an unavoidable problem in traditional manufacturing systems.
=> No given information in passage

b) They are the most important problem to fix through automation.
=> No given information in passage

c) They are an essential element for success when switching to automation from traditional manufacturing.
=> No given information in passage

d) They are a phenomenon found more often in traditional manufacturing than in automated manufacturing.
=> No given information in passage

e) They are an obstacle to increased efficiency and lower costs in traditional production.
=> "While most of this improved efficiency has come about because of gains from the actual robotic machinery, ..." => implies that by avoiding errors, automation increase efficiency => Correct
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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31 Dec 2017, 20:17
1
3)Which of the following can be inferred from the passage above?

a) Automation is more likely to increase efficiency and lower costs in businesses that involve dangerous work environments than in those that do not.

b) Errors in manufacturing occur more frequently in businesses that require high levels of precision than in those that do not.

c) Some types of business will benefit more from automation of their manufacturing and processes than will other types.

d) Businesses involving packaging and shipping receive greater benefits in efficiency and lowered costs from automation than do other types of businesses.

e) Businesses involving high technology and complicated manufacturing are more suited to automation than those involving low-level technology and simple manufacturing.

Official Solution

For this inference style question, all of the answer choices are making comparisons. You need to analyze each comparison to decide which one MUST BE TRUE based on the passage. For (A), you learn in the passage that there is a huge gain in efficiency for businesses with dangerous work environments. But you do NOT learn about the likelihood of increases in all of the other businesses to which they are being compared so you cannot make this inference. This type of error is repeated in most of the other incorrect answer choices. For (B), you learn errors in manufacturing were common in businesses like GE Medical that require a high level of precision, but you do not know how common these errors are in other types of businesses.

For (C), you should notice the broader language in this choice compared to others and the use of the word “some” – this makes it much easier to prove! In the last paragraph you learn: “While automation is the right solution for many businesses, there remains a necessity for human insight and flexible decision-making in many types of manufacturing businesses for which automation has been recommended.” In the first paragraph you also learn: “In industries well suited for automation – ranging from retail and banking to semiconductor and auto manufacturing – the gains in efficiency from switching from traditional to automated manufacturing and automated processes have been remarkable.” From both of these statements you can conclude that automation benefits certain types of businesses more than others so (C) is correct.(D) is a very similar answer to (A) and is incorrect for the same reason – you don’t know about all the business that do not involve shipping and packaging. (E) is broadly outside the scope of the passage as no information is given comparing high tech to low tech companies. Correct answer is (C).
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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31 Dec 2017, 20:27
Q4.The quote highlighted in the 3rd paragraph is most likely used to:

a) counter an opinion that the author believes is incorrect.
b) support the author’s belief in automation for increasing efficiency.
c) point out how poorly the author’s opponents have supported their position.
d) point out an inconsistency in a highly debatable viewpoint.
e) challenge the principle introduced in the 3rd paragraph.

Official Solution

For this type of function question, you need to look at the context around which you find the information asked about in the question. Generally speaking, you should look at the topic sentence of the paragraph and then see how the specific example (in this case a quotation) relates back to that “thesis” sentence. In the paragraph containing the quotation, the topic sentence states that several analysts believe that bringing automation to all industries could help struggling productivity numbers. However, immediately after that sentence, the author of the passages inserts his opinion by using the quote (and what follows) to show that the analysts are incorrect. As a result, answer choice (A) correctly describes how the quote is used.

For (B), the author clearly believes in using automation to improve efficiency, but he is not using the quote to support that. Rather, he is using it to show that you need to be selective in where automation is used. For (C), the quote does not relate to how the opponents have supported their positions, but rather contradicts it by saying that they are wrong to assume automation will work everywhere. For (D), no inconsistency is pointed out with the quote and it is unclear that the viewpoint is “highly debatable”. For (E), this description is very close to being correct, but the word “principle” is incorrect. The viewpoint of several business analysts is a “position” not a “principle.” This problem is a great example of the importance of precision in wording on CR and RC questions, and the need to play the game of “decision points” between two answers that both seem to be correct. Compare them until you find a difference that makes one answer correct and the other incorrect – here that is the difference between position and principle. Correct answer is (A).
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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31 Dec 2017, 20:33
Q1. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about automation in manufacturing and other processes?

(A) It is an essential element for success in a majority of businesses.
(B) it fits in its most general form to John Kenneth Galbraith’s views for improving efficiency.
(C) It was first used in banking and automotive industries.
(D) It has been more successful than other methods for lowering costs and improving efficiency.
(E) It is taking place more slowly than some business analysts believe is necessary.

Official Solution

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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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31 Dec 2017, 20:57
1
Q5. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about errors in manufacturing?

(A) They are an unavoidable problem in traditional manufacturing systems.
(B) They are the most important problem to fix through automation.
(C) They are an essential element for success when switching to automation from traditional manufacturing.
(D) They are a phenomenon found more often in traditional manufacturing than in automated manufacturing.
(E) They are an obstacle to increased efficiency and lower costs in traditional production.

Official Solution

To answer this inference style question, you need to first take advantage of the specificity in the question stem: go find where errors in manufacturing were discussed. Perhaps you remember from your initial reading but otherwise you need to scan for those keywords and you will find this discussed in the 5th line of the 2nd paragraph: “At GE Medical, which manufactures products that require high levels of precision, errors in manufacturing that were common in the days of mostly human production are now virtually non-existent.” This sentence is being used as an example to support the topic sentence of the paragraph, which states: “Automation has not only lowered operation costs through decreased labor expenses, but also increased efficiency in almost every aspect of production.” Therefore, the author is using the disappearance of manufacturing errors as an example of lowered costs and increased efficiency – given this, manufacturing errors must represent an obstacle to increased efficiency and lower costs so (E) is the correct answer.

For (A) the word “unavoidable” is not supported by the passage. You know that errors in manufacturing were common in traditional manufacturing for a business that required high levels of precision, but they may have been easily avoidable in other types of traditional manufacturing. For (B), nothing is given in the passage to support which problems are most important to fix with automation. For (C), errors in manufacturing are something you are trying to remove with automation, so they are in no way elements for success. (D) is the trickiest of the incorrect answers as it is almost surely true, but there is no support for it in the passage. From the second paragraph, you learn that manufacturing errors were common in traditional manufacturing for businesses requiring a high level of precision. It could be that in other more common types of businesses, automation causes more errors in manufacturing than does traditional manufacturing. While it is easy to assume that this statement is true across all types of businesses, you simply do not know this from the passage and as a result it is not a proper inference. Correct answer is (E).
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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30 Sep 2018, 23:27
I am not yet convinced with the the given answer to item 1. How could the sentence "Because of examples like these, some business analysts have suggested that widespread automation across all industries would provide a needed acceleration to the struggling productivity numbers in the U.S" imply that analysts believe automation is taking place more slowly? I believe this sentence just means that if automation occurs, it could enhance productivity. That is it.
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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26 Jan 2019, 06:14
Hey, guys.
I'm not convinced about the right answer for Q4, even after OA.

Q4.The quote highlighted in the 3rd paragraph is most likely used to:
a) counter an opinion that the author believes is incorrect.

How can I deduct from the passage that the author reckons the opinion of analysts ("widespread automation across all industries would provide a needed acceleration to the struggling productivity numbers in the U.S.") as "incorrect"? As I understand the line of reasoning, he implies that automation would provide an acceleration, but in order to provide a rigid result, we need to elaborate on the underlying factors of this process. "Incorrect" sounds to "aggressive" for GMAT, as I see it.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs  [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2019, 13:06
Q4 and Q5 are incorrect and a moderator needs to speak on this,

Q4: "it is a wise economist who recognizes the scope of his own generalizations.” automation is the right solution for many businesses, there remains a necessity for human insight and flexible decision-making in many types of manufacturing businesses for which automation has been recommended.

This is an excerpt out of the passage, Clearly the author agrees with the sentiment that automation may indeed be the right solution for many businesses. So the author DEFINITELY does not disagree, yet somehow the OA deduces that the author considers this opinion incorrect. That is conflicting right there with what the passage says. The author then, after agreeing that automation is a good solution for many businesses, says there is still a necessity for humans.

"Automation is often the correct choice, but it might actually yield a further decline in productivity numbers if not implemented selectively and appropriately."

Therefore in no way is the author disagreeing completely this is pointing out an inconsistency with automation is the best solution for every industry
Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs   [#permalink] 08 Jul 2019, 13:06
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