The fortune 500 ranks the most significant public and private corporations in the United States according to the total revenue in a particular, fiscal year. This paper evaluates Apple Inc., Examines and describes the process the company uses to manage its supplies and develops an improvement plan for supply chain management to improve the quality of products and services and increase customer satisfaction. In 2022, Apple Inc. ranked third in the fortune 500 lists. Fortune magazine further reported that apple was the most profitable company, with a profit of $95 billion in the 2021 fiscal year (Tian et al., 2022)
Founded in 1976, Apple Inc. has rapidly grown over the last three decades to become one of the largest American multinational corporations in the tech industry. The company is globally recognized for its innovative products and services, which has helped it build a powerful brand. According to 2021 data, Apple Inc. had grown to the most significant technology company by revenue, recording total revenue of $365.8 billion in the 2021 fiscal year (Horák & Kaisler, 2022).
Apple has extensive and diversified products and services in its portfolio. Among the products designed by Apple Inc. are laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets. The company has developed its technology and unique softwares, which are used in Apple devices which has helped the company achieve a high level of product differentiation. Apple’s online services, such as the iTunes store, App Store, and iCloud, enhance the user experience.
Apple has pioneered the development of remarkable tech innovations, which have seen tremendous transitions ad transformations in how the modern world operates in entertainment, data and information storage, and communication. Over time, Apple has built a reputable brand globally recognized and enjoys a broad customer base that accounts for impressive revenues. Apple’s business strategy involves diversification of its income portfolio from reliance on iPhone sales to service business and other divisions. Recent high-profile changes in divisional leadership within the company is evidence of the company transitioning to service and other divisions to reduce the company’s dependence on iPhone sales. This strategy has responded positively. For example, the service business division generated $53.77 billion in 2020, a 16% increase from 2019 revenues (Tian et al., 2022)
Tech industry overview
The technology industry in which Apple Inc. operates is of the largest and most competitive industries in the US. Rapid technological development over the last three decades has seen numerous impressive technological innovations. Every company constantly releases new, more innovative devices to remain relevant and competitive. Apple specifically operates in the consumer electronics and online services sub-sectors. Products and services in this sector are highly differentiated ad yet close substitutes.
For quite some time, there were few dominant companies in the industry. In the recent past, however, the industry has witnessed the massive entry of new companies with high-quality and cheap products. This has necessitated the need for more diversification in the industry to increase its competitiveness in the industry. Apple Inc., for instance, has continuously increased its investments in the service industry to reduce overreliance on iPhone sales which has been the primary source of revenue for a long time (Gereffi, 2019).
Advertising is a crucial marketing strategy in this industry. Every company is vying to recruit new customers for their online services while at the same time maintaining the existing customers. Apple has continuously invested in customer satisfaction to achieve a more significant market share. Apple has remained relevant to the ever-changing consumer demands and achieved a perfect market positioning in the industry.
Vertical integration has significantly strengthened Apple’s ecosystem and differentiated the product from other market competitors. The company has greatly benefited from designing and developing its software and hardware. Apple’s software is strictly controlled and in line with Apple’s policies. The software is highly compatible with the company’s hardware. Also, the software works on several Apple devices simultaneously with little differences in user Interface (Tian et al., 2022)
Apple Inc. supply chain
Apple Inc. has one of the best supply chain management and has been ranked top of Gartner’s supply chain list of top 25 supply chains for the last ten years. Apple purchases supply from suppliers and then ships them to China’s manufacturing factories. The output products from the factories are directly shipped to the market and customers worldwide. Apple runs a local and global online store through which customers can directly purchase Apple products. The company also has a strong network of distributors ad retail stores through which it sells its products.
According to a recent survey, Apple has a total of 785 suppliers in 31 countries. Of these suppliers, 349 are based in China. Maintaining a manageable number of suppliers is a company strategy to enhance better supplier relationships. Apple products extensive background checks to ensure that all their suppliers conform to the company code and standards. Apple’s supply chain strategy uses multiple suppliers for the sample material, which helps to mitigate the risk of supply chain disruptions and increase bargaining power over the suppliers (Choi et al., 2021).
The company CEO, Tim Cook, has been described as a supply chain specialist due to his achievements in streamlining inefficient functions in the Apple supply chain. Through the efforts of the CEO, Apple has progressively achieved a vertical integration supply chain that allows the company to control every stage in the manufacturing process and marketing of its products. The company controls every aspect of product development which allows extreme precautions to ensure the product conforms to the company quality standards. The company’s pool of developers, suppliers, and business partners gives Apple a robust competitive advantage.
Apple Supply Chain challenges
The company’s supply chain currently needs help. First, most of the firm’s manufacturing is contracted out, meaning it has less control over its supply chain than a company that creates its products would have if it did all of the manufacturing. Second, Apple’s supply chain could be more straightforward, which can result in various issues, including delays in introducing new products. Last but not least, Apple has been called out in the past for how it treats workers in its supply chain, which might be detrimental to the company’s reputation and result in increased expenses.
The difficulties Apple is experiencing signal that the business should reconsider its strategy regarding its supply chain. Apple, in particular, needs to focus more on bettering its manufacturing processes and its relationships with its many suppliers (Gereffi, 2019).
Apple Inc. needs to focus more on enhancing its production procedures. Because of this, Apple will need to invest in emerging technologies and collaborate more closely with its many suppliers. In addition, to avoid interruptions in its supply chain, Apple must ensure that it is ready to react rapidly to shifts in customer demand. Moreover, Apple needs to place more emphasis on enhancing the connections it has with its various suppliers. Because of this, Apple will need to collaborate more closely with its suppliers and give them more information.
Furthermore, the company must be ready to react rapidly to changes in demand to avoid disruptions in the supply chain. This is important since supply chain disruptions can harm sales. Because of this, Apple will need to invest in emerging technologies and collaborate more closely with its many suppliers.
How to improve Apple’s supply chain
To begin, Apple should invest in cutting-edge production technologies to give the company an excellent command over its supply chain. Second, strengthen Apple’s connections with its vendors by cooperating more closely with those vendors and offering them more information. Last, Apple should work to strengthen its communication and cooperation with its distributors and merchants. Its supply chain for Apple would benefit from these procedures, which would assist in improving it and making it more efficient.
Investing in new manufacturing technologies would give the business greater control over its supply chain. This would entail spending money on innovative tools that would let Apple monitor the flow of its products across the supply chain and spot any problems early on. In addition, this would make it possible for Apple to exercise a greater degree of control over the overall quality of its products.
Apple also needs to improve the company’s relationships with its suppliers by working more closely with them and making collaborative efforts to develop innovative production techniques and improve the overall quality of the supplier product. I would also Improve the company’s communication and coordination with its merchants and, in this context, “work with retailers and distributors” to develop new methods to track inventories and enhance how products are delivered to customers. This would positively impact customer satisfaction (Choi et al., 2021).
Implementation of the proposed supply improvement design would enhance the efficiency of Apple’s supply chain, which is a positive development. Moreover, implementing these actions would improve the overall quality of Apple’s products and services and lessen the possibility of disruptions to the supply chain
Choi, T. Y., Narayanan, S., Novak, D., Olhager, J., Sheu, J. B., & Wiengarten, F. (2021). Managing extended supply chains. Journal of Business Logistics, 42(2), 200-206.
Gereffi, G. (2019). Economic upgrading in global value chains. Handbook on global value chains.
Horák, J., & Kaisler, D. (2022). Evaluation of the development of Apple Inc. stock price time series. In SHS Web of Conferences (Vol. 132, p. 01012). EDP Sciences.
Tian, W., Wang, M., & Wang, Q. (2022, March). The Core Competentness of Apple Inc. In 2022 7th International Conference on Financial Innovation and Economic Development (ICFIED 2022) (pp. 718-725). Atlantis Press.