I have found a bug in how the "cost per unit" is calculated. I've been wondering how players have been able to downsize their industries, jack up their efficiencies, buy a bunch from the WM at higher prices and yet turn a profit.
In my game as Southern California in the US-California scenario my region has zero production for ore, coal, and uranium. It's also way short on water and timber production. The scenario starts 5/1/2010 and my data is from 4/20/2011, almost a whole year into the scenario. After almost a year of buying from the WM all of my ore, coal and uranium and a huge percentage of my timber and water I found my cost per units in complete error.
cost per unit.....187.75......33.82......16.21...........20.66...........268.81.....
The cost per unit is the 4/20/11 cost per unit as calculated by the game. The WM price is the price I'd been paying for all but the first 3 weeks as prices fluctuated, especially coal. I managed to find the sweet spot of buying about 22,500 units each day at that constant price of 67.89, the others I had to buy a bunch one day at my price and then wait until the WM price came back down before buying more at the same price, month after month for 11 months for the other 4 products.
Since I have no production for ore, coal, and uranium my cost per unit should be the cost I have been buying the stuff at. My inventory consists wholly of bought product and should reflect that price. My inventory of timber and water consists wholly of bought product and that higher price I paid for it is not being factored into my production costs. The stock being used is being calculated at my cost per unit for what I do manufacture and is not adding in that extra cost of the imports. Therefore profit margin is overstated, taxes get overstated, and a whole bunch of other related things get that benefit of false overstatement.
Just for grins I decided to further test cost per unit to see how buying a large quantity of ore would affect my c.p.u.. On 4/20/11 I had 284,000 units of ore at $187.75 and I offered to buy 531,000 units of ore at $269.47. I got about 338,000 units at that price. I didn't get any the next day as I forgot to jack up the price but on 4/23 I got about 10,000 around $291.00 and on the 3rd I got another 10,000 at 309.63. So I round that last 20,000 at 300.00.
start.........284k times $187.75 equals $53,321k.................................
bought.....338k times $269.47 equals $91,081k................................
bought.......20k times $300.00 equals $ 6,000k.................................
totals.......642k times $234.27 equals $150,402k...............................
On 4/24/11 when the dust settled from my little experiment I had 608,000 units which means I used about 34,000 units over the 4 days.
4/20/11 cost per unit .......... $187.75
4/24/11 cost per unit .......... $187.76
My 4/24/11 cost per unit should have been $234.27, give or take a few pennies. That it only raised a penny when I more than doubled my inventory from 284,000 units to 608,000 units my cost per unit should have soared $46.52 since I have no production of ore in the first place! That's moving average inventory costing and it's the only way to value inventory on hand.
The problem is that inventory gets valued at cost per unit, which in the case of items that must be imported completely or in large part will lead to false results as I have so clearly demonstrated. No wonder players are downsizing industries, jacking up efficiency and research and buying high, selling low and turning a profit.
The solution is to value inventory properly, seperately with movjng average costing. That way the proper production cost can be calculated for profit margin in the domestic sales/expense calculation. The proper cost per unit of production plus the cost per unit of the properly and seperately valued inventory that gets used should yield the proper budgeted annual production cost for domestic sales profit/loss calculation. Right now it is grossly understated for using up imported goods bought at higher prices over and above what is being produced. Players who build more facilities get hammered with more maintenance costs and end up getting screwed incorrectly for building up facilities for products they are short on.
Instead of Bill Estimate on my import screen I should see cost per unit for my inventory. I don't get a Bill Estimate for my exports so I don't need it for my imports. More importantly I need to see a proper cost per unit for my inventory. Even more importantly the game needs a proper cost per unit for inventory so it calculates a proper production cost to include the actual cost per unit for high-priced imports.
I also noticed another bug with the efficiency sliders for the three products that I had no production capability in. As I increased my efficiency and infrastructure investments in other products those sliders would rise, up to 87% at my zenith. Then as I wound down my investments in efficiency and infrastructure those sliders dropped as well, down to 79%. Then I started reinvesting in efficiency and infrastructure and it started to rise again to 80% but I only had restarted that last rise for a few weeks and slowly. The sliders were showing correctly that $0 dollars were being invested in those three items no matter the rise or fall of the slider percentage. I have no doubt that my cost per unit was fluctuating in tune to that rise and fall in infrastructure investment.
It looks like my infrastructure investment was having an effect on cost per unit for industries where I had no production capability at all. Ofcourse infrastructure investment should have zero effect upon industries with zero production capability. Hopefully this too will get fixed.
The problem with rewarding players with downsizing industries and then allowing them to jack up efficiency investment to makeup the shortfall in production is it does not take into account the Law of Diminishing Returns
! The more players pump into efficiency the less they should get back in return for their investment as efficiency rises. There are only so many people any particular, singular farm, mine, factory or plant can employ and product it can produce. Investing in new farms, mines, factories or plants do employ far more people and can produce far more product than investing in old because at the beginning you don't have that problem of diminishing returns.
Certainly players should be penalized for overbuilding industries where they produce far more than they use or import, but players should not be penalized so unfairly for investing in new facilities for products they are short on. As long as there's demand a player should get rewarded for fulfilling it himself. Please give production it's just due for creating jobs, fulfilling demand and making the proper profit it can. Heck if the WM can sell lower than a player can produce then by all means it should reward a player for importing when he should and creating employment elsewheres. However if the player can create jobs and make a product cheaper than the WM price he should be rewarded properly as well, as long as he doesn't get carried away. That darned Law of Diminishing Returns