Labor efficiency variance definition

Following is information about the company’s direct labor and its cost. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

If there is no difference between the standard rate and the actual rate, the outcome will be zero, and no variance exists. The direct labor variance measures how efficiently the company uses labor as well as how effective it is at pricing labor. There are two components to a labor variance, the direct labor rate variance and the direct labor time variance. For example, the number of labor hours taken to manufacture a certain amount of product may differ significantly from the standard or budgeted number of hours. Variable overhead efficiency variance is one of the two components of total variable overhead variance, the other being variable overhead spending variance. According to the total direct labor variance, direct labor costs were $1,200 lower than expected, a favorable variance.

  1. According to the total direct labor variance, direct labor costs were $1,200 lower than expected, a favorable variance.
  2. This figure can vary considerably, based on assumptions regarding the setup time of a production run, the availability of materials and machine capacity, employee skill levels, the duration of a production run, and other factors.
  3. Because Band made 1,000 cases of books this year, employees should have worked 4,000 hours (1,000 cases x 4 hours per case).
  4. The standard overhead cost is usually expressed as the sum of its component parts, fixed and variable costs per unit.

Connie’s Candy also wants to understand what overhead cost outcomes will be at 90% capacity and 110% capacity. The following information is the flexible budget Connie’s Candy prepared to show expected overhead at each capacity level. An adverse labor efficiency variance suggests lower productivity of direct labor during a period compared with the standard. A favorable labor efficiency variance indicates better productivity of direct labor during a period. Improving labor efficiency can also have a spillover impact on other aspects of your organization. In this useful guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about calculating your worksite labor efficiency variance.

The standard number of hours represents the best estimate of a company’s industrial engineers regarding the optimal speed at which the production staff can manufacture goods. This figure can vary considerably, based on assumptions regarding the setup time of a production run, the availability of materials and machine capacity, employee skill levels, the duration of a production run, and other factors. Thus, the multitude of variables involved makes it especially difficult to create a standard that you can meaningfully compare to actual results. To arrive at the total cost per unit, we need to multiply the unit of material and labor with the standard rate. It is the estimated price of material and labor that a company need to pay to supplier and workers.


From the payroll records of Boulevard Blanks, we find that line workers (production employees) put in 2,325 hours to make 1,620 bodies, and we see that the total cost of direct labor was $46,500. Based on the time standard of 1.5 hours of labor per body, we expected labor hours to be 2,430 (1,620 bodies x 1.5 hours). Based on the standard cost, company spends 5 hours per unit of production. However, they spend 5.71 hours per unit (200,000 hours /35,000 units) on the actual production. Due to the unexpected increase in actual cost, the company’s profit will decrease. Management needs to investigate and solve the issue by reducing the actual time spend or revising the standard cost.

How Companies Use IoT Software to Track and Improve Labor Efficiency

It is likely that the amounts determined for standard overhead costs will differ from what actually occurs. To determine the overhead standard cost, companies prepare a flexible budget that gives estimated revenues and costs at varying levels of production. The standard overhead cost is usually expressed as the sum of its component parts, fixed and variable costs per unit. Note that at different levels of production, total fixed costs are the same, so the standard fixed cost per unit will change for each production level. However, the variable standard cost per unit is the same per unit for each level of production, but the total variable costs will change.

What is the Labor Efficiency Variance?

In this case, the actual hours worked per box are 0.20, the standard hours per box are 0.10, and the standard rate per hour is $8.00. This is an unfavorable outcome because the actual hours worked were more than the standard hours expected per box. As a result of this unfavorable outcome information, the company may consider retraining its workers, changing the production process to be more efficient, or increasing prices to cover labor costs. In this case, the actual rate per hour is $9.50, the standard rate per hour is $8.00, and the actual hours worked per box are 0.10 hours. This is an unfavorable outcome because the actual rate per hour was more than the standard rate per hour.

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The other variance computes whether or not actual production was above or below the expected production level. Labor yield variance arises when there is a variation in actual output from standard. Since this measures the performance of workers, it may be caused by worker deficiencies or by poor production methods. Labor mix variance is the difference between the actual mix of labor and standard mix, caused by hiring or training costs. If the outcome is unfavorable, the actual costs related to labor were more than the expected (standard) costs.

In a standard cost system, overhead is applied to the goods based on a standard overhead rate. The standard overhead rate is calculated by dividing budgeted overhead at a given level of production (known as normal capacity) by the level of activity required for that particular level of production. Unfavorable efficiency variance means that the actual labor hours are higher than expected for a certain amount of a unit’s production. Before production, the company needs to prepare the product standard cost. The standard cost usually includes variable costs such as direct material and direct labor. In order to make a proper estimate, management estimates the standard cost base on the unit of labor and material.

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This team of experts helps Finance Strategists maintain the highest level of accuracy and professionalism possible. At Finance Strategists, we partner with financial experts to ensure the accuracy of our financial content. On top of that, with the IoT wearable device like Spot-r Tag, employees can automatically clock in and out of the site without the hassle of filling out the time sheet. Management can also easily manage access control for restricted areas.

In terms of safety, the wearable device has free-fall detection capability and a push-button feature to alert the safety manager in case of emergencies. IoT software like Spot-r collects and analyzes comprehensive data from your worksite in real-time. From the dashboard, you can see the real-time snapshot of your entire worksite, your available workforce, their corresponding certifications, and the utilized equipment.

Labor efficiency variance arises when the actual hours worked vary from standard, resulting in a higher or lower standard time recorded for a given output. Direct Labor Efficiency Variance is the measure of difference between the standard cost of actual number of direct labor hours utilized during a period and the standard hours of direct labor for the level of output achieved. Labor backflush costing efficiency variance measures the efficiency of actual labor compared to expectations. The variance will highlight production processes that took up more time than originally anticipated. If the labor efficiency variance is very high, industrial engineers can review the process and see if they can tweak certain aspects of the production to achieve a more favorable variance.

For instance, industrial engineers decide that automation is the key to increasing efficiency. Or they could revise the workflow, simplify product design, or convey clearer instructions to workers to improve the labor efficiency variance. Even though the answer is a negative number, the variance is favorable because employees worked more efficiently, saving the organization money. What we have done is to isolate the cost savings from our employees working swiftly from the effects of paying them more or less than expected.

The purpose of calculating the direct labor efficiency variance is to measure the performance of the production department in utilizing the abilities of the workers. A positive value of direct labor efficiency variance is obtained when the standard direct labor hours allowed exceeds the actual direct labor hours used. A negative value of direct labor efficiency variance means that excess direct labor hours have been used in production, implying that the labor-force has under-performed. Like direct labor rate variance, this variance may be favorable or unfavorable. If workers manufacture a certain number of units in an amount of time that is less than the amount of time allowed by standards for that number of units, the variance is known as favorable direct labor efficiency variance.

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