Essays on Managing a Global Supply Chain Case Study

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The paper "Managing a Global Supply Chain" Is a wonderful example of a Management Case Study. Apple supply chain is considered one of the best in the world. The company has an integrated supply chain and accelerates its product development in order to meet with demands. Its supply chain is simpler compared to those of competitors and has made some pre-payment agreements with the suppliers in order to secure a constant supply of key complements. Apple supply chain has enjoyed the benefit of minimal inventory time, the reverse logistic system, effective control of the suppliers and focussed supply chain with only five main products.

Although the company has a reputable supply chain, there are a number of changes that need to be done in order to ensure future competitiveness. Future challenges that may face Apple include competition from players offering low price products and supply issues due to a limited number of suppliers among others.                                     Introduction Apple Computer was instituted in 1976 by three individuals; Steve Jobs, Mike Markkula as well as Steve Wozniak (Mark, 2014). The main of its establishment was to manufacture and distribute desktop computers.

The founders struck a deal to sell 50 computer units to local computer outlets. After a successful sale of its first phase of Apple computers, the founders decided to improve the design and establish Apple II (Wilson, 2012). The company became one of the biggest computer manufacturing companies in the United States in 198 after creating about 300 millionaires. Although Apple’ s operation was going on well, the entry of IBM into the market in 1981 created a competition in the industry (Mark, 2014).

Almost immediately, IBM’ s personal computers took over the market which affected the profitability of Apple Computer. In order to rise from its fall, Apple decided to license its Mac operating system to third-party manufacturers (Mark, 2014). However, this did not change the situation and Steve Job decided to stop the strategy in order to reassert control over its products. In 2004, the situation of Apple began to get better due to changes made in its supply chain. This case study will review Apple’ s supply chain for iPhone products and evaluate the key advantages of its supply chain operations.

It will also offer some challenges faced by Apple and recommendations for improvement of its supply chain. Apple’ s Supply Chain for its iPhone Product Apple’ s iPhone supply chain is considered global. It has its research and development division in the United States with about 156 suppliers, retail outlets across different countries, and assembly operations in China. Apple’ s iPhone supply chain from inception to delivery undergoes the outlined stages; New Product Development Apple’ s supply chain for the iPhone has a short product development cycle. This is different from many competitors who have a new product development cycle that cover a longer time of about four to five years (Mark, 2014).

For Apple, the new product development cycle spin for about one year. The new product development also incorporates a wide range of stakeholders such as hardware, software, and production. The company ensures that it has control of its entire new product and the entire supply chain by minimizing outsourcing (Maziliaskaite, 2014). Unlike the company, a competitor such as Samsung outsources its manufacturing to third-party providers. Some competitors such as Solectron and Flextronics prefer to outsource the entire production and management of the supply chain (Mark, 2014).

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Lu, C 2014, Apple Supply Chain- The Best Supply Chain in the World, Insights and Analysis. Retrieved 19th Dec 2016 from https://www.tradegecko.com/blog/apple-had-the-best-supply-chain-in-the-world-for-the-last-four-years-here-is-what-you-can-learn-from-it

Mark, K 2014, Apple Inc.: Managing A Global Supply Chain, Ivey Publishing, Ivey School of Business Foundation.

Maziliaskaite, K 2014, What can we Learn From Apple’s Supply Chain? Inventory & Supply Chain Optimization, Supply Chain Trends and Best Practices.

Mikkola, J.H & Skjoett-Larsen, T 2003, Early supplier involvement: implications for new product development outsourcing and supplier-buyer interdependence. Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, 4, pp. 31–41.

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Wilson, J 2012, Apple-The Global Supply Chain, Emerging Technologies and Innovation. Retrieved 19th Dec 2016 from http://jackmwilson.net/Entrepreneurship/Cases/Case-Apple-Supplychain.pdf

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