## How much does a ‘penny’ worth?

Opportunity Cost

This phenomenon goes by the name of ‘opportunity cost,’ since by not investing in more equipment and a more rigid production flow, the company is forgoing the opportunity to earn increased profits. These costs are every bite as real as the payment of dollars out-of-pocket.

This notion _______ opportunity cost can be reinforced _________ a famous saying ______ Benjamin Franklin, no slouch himself _________ operations management. To make the point, however, we must make a brief excursion into logic. One truth of logic is the validity of the so-called contrapositive, which says simply that if the statement “If A, then B” is true, then it is also true that “If not B, then not A.” That is, of every time A occurs B follows, then we can be sure that if B does not occur, then A did not occur as well. Enough logic then, and back to Ben Franklin.

One of his Poor Richard sayings is that “A penny saved is a penny earned.” We have all recognized the truth of that since childhood, but I assert that by this saying Ben showed us he knows everything about opportunity cost. After all, what is the contrapositive of “A penny not earned is a penny not saved (i.e., a penny sent). All we are saying by this notion of opportunity cost is that “a penny not earned (an opportunity forgone) is a penny spent.” We shall often have occasion to consider opportunity costs, in analyzing and deciding various operations issues.

SCHMENNER, Roger W. Production/Operations Management. 5th
Edition. Prentice-Hall, 1993.