Apple Supply Chain Case Study
The increased use of IT by Apple has allowed for the increased integration of the supply chain. Firms in the chain are more interconnected and the supply process is sped up significantly due to the reduction in communication delays and the improved flow of information between firms.
An army of 300,000 employees work for Foxconn, assembling iPhones. In 2010, eighteen of their employees attempted suicide, with fourteen deaths. ‘The suicides introduced Foxconn to much of the world in the worst terms imaginable—as an industrial monster that treats its workers like machines, mainly 18-to-25-year-old, to make products like the iPhone at seemingly impossible prices.’ (Balfour and Culpan, 2010).
These events prompted Apple to dispatch an audit team to investigate the environment and nature of the plant. Apple found that it violated its code of conduct in many areas such as ‘including excessive overtime, an overly complicated wage structure, and unacceptable living conditions,’ (Balfour and Culpan). Even though Steve Jobs stated that he was ‘all over’ (2010) the incident, he would never cut off any ties with the factory or Terry Gou the owner, as Chang Tien-wen writes, "Steve Jobs' achievements wouldn't be possible without Terry," (Chang Tien-wen, The Tiger and The Fox: Terry Gou's Global Competitive