Ncm Personal Computer Displays

8 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Phillip E. Pfeifer

Phillip E. Pfeifer

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


"Prior planning prevents poor performance" is the moral of this case about predicting bid prices on new personal computer display models based only on past vendors' bids. Students gain respect for a set of 71 data points that might be used to explore the relationships between bid price per unit and the specifications and quantities of previous displays. The case illustrates the importance of understanding the available data and circumstances surrounding its collection before using regression analysis to summarize relationships. See also UVA-QA-0522, the optional supplement to this note.



Rev. Apr. 19, 2013


Norman Draper glanced upward as another cloud moved across the sky, obscuring the sun. It was another typical, tough June day in Southern California, and Draper, as usual, was spending it on the beach. Sighing, he turned over on his blanket and began pondering the problem that had brought him to San Diego.

Draper had been working during the summer for the Consumer Products division of National Computing Machinery (NCM), one of the larger manufacturers of microcomputers. His manager, George Buffet, had asked him to develop a means of predicting costs for NCM's subcontracted microcomputer displays. Buffet wanted to be able to take a set of design specifications and determine the approximate cost NCM's vendors would submit without having to go through the long formal bidding process. Some type of mathematical model seemed appropriate, but Draper was puzzled as to the best way to arrive at such a model.

Draper glanced at his thermos and saw that it was empty. “Oh well,” he thought. “Time to go in; I'll wait and think about this more on Monday.”

. . .

Keywords: cost analysis, data regression, regression analysis

Suggested Citation

Pfeifer, Phillip E., Ncm Personal Computer Displays. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0515, Available at SSRN:

Phillip E. Pfeifer (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4803 (Phone)


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