Apple Supply Chain Management Essay Example

APPLE SUPPLY CHAIN AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Apple Company is a corporate name recognized worldwide for innovative and intuitive business and consumer orientated at high technology product. The company is equally synonymous for exceptional customer support that leads to customer satisfaction. The loyalty of customers toward the Company’s products and services make Apple one of the most competitive businesses in the industry. Apple Company designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of technological devices, such as personal computers, mobile communication and media devices, and portable music store. The company has adopted a mass production design so as to meet the increasing demand of its products. To remain competitive in the industry, the company has heavily relied on its effective supply and project management.

Main Factors Influencing the Choice of a Manufacturing Process Design at Apple

Through a mass production design, Apple Inc. has been able to dominate the technology industry. The company has offered some of the world class renowned products. Since the company’s products are considered to be high end products, the company’s product’s price is relatively higher than that of major competitors such as Samsung, which is a close rivalry to of Apple. The company’s products also come from a wide range of products. The company’s major products include; the IPhone, IPods, mac books and other electronic devices. The company has paid very close attention to innovation and technology in its products. In the IPhone production, each consecutive release is more superior to the predecessor.

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The company’s main product (such as the IPhone) has not only gained regional recognition, but also globally. The main focus of Apple Inc. is to show and produce a unique product with high end quality and carry various responsibilities. During inception, this was one of the main goals of the business. The company concentrated and focused on the quality of the iPhone, and this was depicted with the launch of iPhone 3, in 2008. In this version of IPhone, features such as navigation systems (GPS) are integrated with third generation networks and the ability to download application form the Apple Store.

With the launch of iPhone 3, Apple Inc. started plans to increase its market share and this has been noticeable from the later developments after the launch of iPhone 3. IPhone is thus no longer a regional product, but a global product and its sale in the global market reached 21 million. When iPhone 4 was launched, 72 million iPhone phones were sold globally. This shows that Apple has continued to command more and more global market. The increase in sale can be attributed to the continued developments being made to the IPhone. IPhone 4 had additional features like the siri. However, Apple does not enjoy the monopoly in the sale of smartphones in the global market. Samsung has also launched multiple versions of smartphones in the market, and this has confounded Apple in its strategy and tactics. Competition has brought some challenges to the company, and it pushed it to diversify its publications of iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Apple has a benefit from a lesson learned in that Samsung used the secrets of Apple Inc. as a main supplier of some IPhone parts to rival Apple products.

From this data, the company expects more growth in terms of market command and product acceptability. Supply of technological is not something that is subject to seasonal variations. Although economic conditions may influence consumers’ purchasing power, the demand for the companies continues to rise. The company’s products have become accepted in other countries, especially with middle income economies.

Apple position in the market be termed as a leader. It is indisputable that IPhone is still the best products in its category, despite the presence of other smart phones manufacturing companies such as Samsung. Apple Inc. is still the leading company in the world in the field of technology. It is the first sponsor of the renaissance of scientific development at the level of mobile and desktop computers and other products such as IPods. Still under the leadership of its late CEO, Steve Jobs, the company managed to come up with comprehensive mission and vision (Greasley 2006). This has made Apple Inc. not only a regional leader in the field of product design but also a gain a global reputation. Apple Inc. has caused a boom in the field of science mail, and some companies have imitated it so as to remain in the current competitive market. According to its last financial statements, the company earned over $ 400, 000 in profit per employee. This was more than the profits made by Google and Gold Sachs (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2013).

Through the integration of modern production and distribution systems manufacturing aspects, at present, fall under capital intensive expenditures. There is high usage of technology. The company continues to lead in the use of computerised systems in the manufacture and delivery of their high end products such as the IPhone. The company manufactures and distributes its products through Elk Grove Facility. The company has adopted a mass production formula. The production facilities have been designed to run 24 hours per day. Once the products are received from the manufacturing facility, they are automatically handled by the system through the case taper. Scanning of the different types of products and subsequent sorting is done by product type prior to palletizing (Projectinsight.net 2014).

When Apple began thinking about its production design, management efficiently considered all elements involved in project management and supply chain. Going by the IPhone which is one of the major products of the company, it can be noted that the iPhone is more than a model. Starting from the first release of iPhone 1 to the current I phone 5, each version of the iPhone is unique as compared to its predecessor. The corporation has been keen on the outlook and the firmware of the iPhone. This has made the company continue controlling domestic and even foreign markets.
During the entire production process, there are several sections in the company working on the analysis and evaluation (Greasley 2006). The production of Apple Inc. products involves many processes and many appliances being brought together. Analysis and evaluation of the production process is done on top of the process control. The operations management department at Apple Inc. plays an important role is ensuring the success of the company. The department is involved in the main line of action, production and implementation of the decision. It is also involved in purchasing along the supply, up to the final production line, sales and marketing (Beighley 2013). In the current competitive market with other companies (like HTC and Samsung), Apple Inc. faces stiff competition. This is especially because a company like Samsung was one of the main suppliers for some of the Apple products. The stiff competition forced Apple Inc. to focus on development and integration of modern technology in its production and production lines. This was in the form of staff, services to clients, safety factors and even the level of design and quality of manufacturing facility (Beighley 2013).

For Apple Inc., competition drives development, and this has been the reason behind the new inventions in the company’s products. The level of services offered to customers is an important element towards customer satisfaction, customer support and business sustainability. When Apple Inc. launched its first version of iPhone with an integrated system, subsequent versions came with additional features. The IOS system was added, as well as Wi-Fi connection capability and multi-touch screens, Bluetooth and longer battery life. IPhone 1 hit the market with a storm, one million phones were sold globally, and it was evident enough that iPhone had jumped qualitatively at this stage (Beighley 2013).

The company has capabilities and ability to achieve its targeted profits and goals. Apple has a strong reputation and sustainability in the market. The company has also a history of making use of science and continuous growth and development. This has ensured that the company possesses one of the best supply chain managements (Lashinsky 2012).

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Planning is considered an essential part of strategic management in the supply chain because of its immense contribution. Its main objective in supply chain is to achieve the client’s request of services or products (Stevenson 2005). Supplier selection process requires shipping or delivery of products and services necessary to produce another service or product. It involves determining the right price, shipping terms and payments of the supplier. It also entails creating arrays of management techniques necessary to control and improve relations with suppliers. At Apple Inc., the manufacturing department relies on the raw materials and components in the manufacturing process. This stage involves the scheduling of activities to enable production, testing, packaging and preparation for delivery (Lashinsky 2012). This entire process requires raw material and inputs scheduled on time and in the quantities and quality as required. It is called logistics supply systems, and it is intended to improve movement and storage of materials. It also entails effective coordination of receipts of orders from customers and developing business networks, database suppliers and arranging for transport so as to deliver the finished products to clients. Apple Inc. has developed an effective system capable of billing and receiving receipts from customers. The company has also developed reliable warranty and return of products which relates to the receipt of returns of defective products. It has also an elaborate system that receives the customer’s complaints regarding defective products and customer support (Stevenson 2005).

The key behind the accomplishment of the firm is its ability to depend on good planning. The company has also learnt from the market, competitors and both the internal and external influences of its products. Apple has mastered the art of management when to utilise its lines of productions or partially redesign in response to the marketing and promotion campaign (Srinivasan 2013). This has been the major secret of the company. In addition, the company has enhanced creativity, the ability to evolve competition and business sustainability between business strategies in general and supply chain operations. This has facilitated the company in building a base value chain taking into account the delivery deadlines, in order to achieve the required objective and creation of sustainable value for business process (Dornier 1998).

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Project management is ensured through the use of suitable application and incorporation of some project management processes. These processes have been grouped into five main groups, and they include (Dornier 1998)

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and controlling
  • Closing

Some Principles of Project Management and How They Aid the Operations of Managers at Apple Company

Utilising the principles of project management can be very challenging especially with the nature and complexity of the required changes in the processes of a company (Srinivasan 2013). Changes have to be made and implemented irrespective of the financial, political or economic conditions (Kumar & Suresh 2009). Some changes are also extremely demanding and require little time spans, and this makes difficulties for project managers at any level of the company. Implementing changes in line with the principles of project management also demand that project teams and management are within the same mind set, and this is often challenging (Bowen 2010). Controlling resources and allocation can also be challenging to the managers as a result of increasing competitions especially in the manufacturing of smartphones. However, proper utilisation of some of the fundamental principles of project management has ensured that managers at Apple Inc. continue to make valid and effective changes in the manufacture and supply of products to clients (Kumar & Suresh 2009).

From time to time, several attempts have been made by operations managers at Apple so as to enunciate the principles and practices of project management (Srinivasan 2013). Guided by the principle of success, managers at the company have aimed at producing successful products (Project Management Institute 2004). Without achieving a successful product in a company, there is no use of incurring the project management overhead costs. Instead of having many projects at the company operating on scheduled time and budget, this principle has helped managers at the company to focus on limited projects. The company is well distinguished on matters of technology, and this has remained its main success factor. The need to be successful has ensured that managers at the company introduce new changes in the IPhone versions so as to meet positive market feedback. Managers have made it clear to all teams involved about the essence of this principle. They have made it clear that there is a need to understand what success means both at a regional and global level, amidst increasing cost of production and competition (Bowen 2010).

Another principle that has guided the operations of managers at the company is the commitment principle. Under this principle, managers have been compelled to continue being committed to the needs of the customer. This is manifested from the different varieties of the IPhone phone. In every new release of the phone’s series, there is a new development. The current world is faced with evolving technology and failure by operations manager to remain committed may see the decline of the company. In an organisation, there are only two aspects that work or exist. These are the on-going operations and projects. Projects are the unique, temporary endeavours with a specific beginning and end. On the other hand, operations constitute a firm’s on-going, repetitive activities such as production or accounting. Since all effort or work within an organisation is characterised as projects or operations, they must be circulated to either projects or operations.

The strategy principle has also been essential for the managers at the company. Under this principle, managers aim at coming up with comprehensive planning and implementation techniques (Project Management Institute 2004). They also aim at introducing definite series of sequential activities such as the release of the different versions of the IPhone. Managers at the company practice the sequential periods of start, plan, execution and finish (Projectinsight.net 2014).

The control or the management principle has also shaped the implementation of changes in design and productions at Apple Inc. It is noteworthy that managers have learnt the importance of maintaining activities relevant to the projects. The production design and processes continue to be shaped by the expectations of stakeholders in the company and the benefits that the innovative products bring.

In conclusion, supply chain management entails the flow of products and services from the point of production to the customers. For Apple Inc., supply chain management has and will continue to be an essential element of the success of company (Project Management Institute 2004). The company has adopted a mass production design, and timely delivery of components of the products is essential. Poorly managed supply chains will cause instabilities. For Apple Inc., the key to maintaining successful supply chain management had been dependent on good planning and understanding of the needs of the customer. Project management principles will remain to be fundamental guides to operations managers in any company (Bowen 2010). Proper utilisation of these principles will ensure successful supply chains as depicted in the Apple Inc. case.

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