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While there is no fixed model for lowering costs

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

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New post 14 Aug 2017, 06:35
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Question 1
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22% (01:47) correct 78% (02:05) wrong based on 197

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Question 2
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70% (00:24) correct 30% (00:33) wrong based on 197

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71% (00:29) correct 29% (01:12) wrong based on 191

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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.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA&OE
Since the whole passage is about automation in manufacturing and other processes, you must go find each of the answer choices within the passage and decide if it is a proper inference. For (A), you know that automation has been beneficial in certain businesses, but you have no idea if it is an “essential” element, and you certainly do not know if this is true in a majority of businesses.(B) is a classic “sucker choice”! It is easy to find Galbraith’s quote and it is not an unreasonable statement so many students will pick it. However, you have no idea what Galbraith thinks about automation and improving efficiency – you only know that he believes economists should be careful about generalizing. You cannot make any inference about how Galbraith might view automation. For (C), examples from the banking and automotive industries are used in the passage, but you have no idea if they were the first businesses in which automation was used.For (D), no comparison is made in the passage to other potential ways to increase efficiency and lower costs so you cannot make this inference. For (E), in the first sentence of the last paragraph you learn that: “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.” Given this you know that automation is taking place more slowly than some analysts believe is necessary and (E) is thus the correct answer.


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.

[Reveal] 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).

[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #4 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #5 OA

Last edited by hazelnut on 08 Oct 2017, 17:56, 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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New post 14 Aug 2017, 06:45
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Re: While there is no fixed model for lowering costs [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2017, 18:35
Please provide explanations
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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New post 15 Aug 2017, 22:29
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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New post 16 Aug 2017, 00:19
[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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New post 26 Aug 2017, 01:55
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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New post 26 Aug 2017, 05:44
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Official OE for Q1
Since the whole passage is about automation in manufacturing and other processes, you must go find each of the answer choices within the passage and decide if it is a proper inference. For (A), you know that automation has been beneficial in certain businesses, but you have no idea if it is an “essential” element, and you certainly do not know if this is true in a majority of businesses.(B) is a classic “sucker choice”! It is easy to find Galbraith’s quote and it is not an unreasonable statement so many students will pick it. However, you have no idea what Galbraith thinks about automation and improving efficiency – you only know that he believes economists should be careful about generalizing. You cannot make any inference about how Galbraith might view automation. For (C), examples from the banking and automotive industries are used in the passage, but you have no idea if they were the first businesses in which automation was used.For (D), no comparison is made in the passage to other potential ways to increase efficiency and lower costs so you cannot make this inference. For (E), in the first sentence of the last paragraph you learn that: “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.” Given this you know that automation is taking place more slowly than some analysts believe is necessary and (E) is thus the correct answer.

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

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New post 26 Aug 2017, 22:10
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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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New post 28 Aug 2017, 00:55
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] 28 Aug 2017, 00:55
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