Larger firms can save by buying in bulk. Image credit nfe-lifts.com
ZIMSEC O Level Business Studies Notes: Economies of Scale
As firms grow in size, they acquire certain advantages that are known as economies of scale.
In other words economies of scale are the benefits enjoyed by a firm because of large scale production.
These can be classified into five categories:
Purchasing economies: When business buys in large quantities, they are able to get discounts and special prices because of buying in bulk. This reduces the unit cost of raw materials and a firm gets an advantage over other smaller firms.
Marketing economies: The cost of advertising and distribution rises at a lower rate than rises in output and sales. In proportion to sales, large firms can advertise more cheaply and more effectively than their smaller rivals.
Financial economies: A larger company tends to present a more secure investment; they find it easier to raise finance. Banks and other lending institutions treat large firms more favorably and these firms are in a position to negotiate loans with preferential interest rates. Further, large companies can issue shares and raise additional capital.
Managerial economies: A large company benefits from the services of specialist functional managers. These firms can employ a number of highly specialized members on its management team, such as accountants, marketing managers which results in better decision being taken and reduction in overall unit costs.
Technical economies: In large scale plants there are advantages in terms of the availability and use of specialist, indivisible equipment which are not available to small firms. Large manufacturing firms often use flow production methods and apply the principle of the division of labour. This use of flow production and the latest equipment will reduce the average costs of the large manufacturing businesses.