– Marc Puchol Ponce –
How have they succeeded? In this article we will see some of the changes and the approach to the distribution and supply chain of the company.
The answer is clear; Apple has invested in operations (manufacturing, purchasing, logistics) and has achieved total control of the entire supply chain, from product design to assembly and distribution. Strategies, segmentation, customer service, … the company has everything by hand and forms an ecosystem that gives it competitive advantage over the rest.
A key example was the launch of the iMac at Christmas 1998 with the return of Steve Jobs to the company. Although shipping was cheaper, Apple bought all the airspace available to ensure its computers would arrive just in time for those dates.
Similarly, with the iPod they also achieved efficiency in shipping the product with very short deadlines. They avoided having large quantities of stock, all thanks to the work in operations and close relations with suppliers.
These relationships are very important; Apple has very strict conditions (quantity, quality, costs) and knows that they must take good care of suppliers as if they were customers.
With that strategy, they can reach low prices and total availability, something that is key for the release of its products.
The Apple Stores also have a role within the supply chain, giving information about the daily production forecast in order to avoid stock break.
Apple has been able to integrate the supply chain and create a closed ecosystem that helps them to compete directly with companies as Amazon in logistics performance.