Apple Supply Chain Case Study

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Register to read the introduction… For a high profile company like Apple, a flawed product would be extremely damaging for its reputation and therefore high quality products and extensive testing is a necessity. However, with high quality often comes high prices, and to keep their products affordable enough for their target market Apple has to watch the other companies and their supply chain, always ensuring they have the best deal. However, while keeping an eye on the product and where it is coming from, Apple must also ensure that they deliver new products on the expected date. Any delays in release would result in distrust in the company and a loss of custom. Fortunately for Apple, supply chains based in the US have a number of strategic and operational advantages - the US is 'the world's largest consumer, producer, and trader' (Li, 2007) and as such companies based there enjoy the benefits of speaking the same language and using the same currency. There are also ideal transport links both internally and to other countries, making it easy to transport goods anywhere in the world. This does not make supply chain management in the US completely issue free, however, as much of the labour involved is more expensive than in developing …show more content…
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

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