It seems that I’m constantly penning a Supply Chain Matters posting regarding the enviable results that Apple provides from both financial performance and supply chain capability perspectives. My last posting was at the end of July, Yet Again, Apple Sets the Benchmark

Earlier this week, Apple reported its latest quarterly and full-year financial and performance results, which were even better, and proves once again why Apple maintains its number one ranking in just about everyone’s top supply chain capabilities listing. While many companies continue to struggle or maintain some form of profitability in this challenging economic environment, Apple defies the economy. The company posted both a 47% jump in profits along with its second-highest quarterly revenue growth on record.

Apple’s earnings press release notes the following unit volumes for the latest quarter:

  • 7.4 million iPhones, a 7% unit growth from a year ago, and a 42% increase from the 5.2 million phones shipped in the June quarter.
  • 10.2 million iPods, an 8% unit decline from a year ago quarter, but the same volume as the prior quarter.
  • 3.05 million Macintosh computers, a 17% unit increase over a year ago quarter as well as last quarter.


The combined 20.65 million units sold represent an average of 229,000 units of daily sales output.  While still maintaining a pace of over a quarter million units sold per day, that figure is slightly down from the previous calendar quarter.  By my calculation, days inventory outstanding (DIO) came in a 4.48 days, which is 3 days less than last quarter. Apple actually increased its inventory investment by $55 million in the quarter, which most likely represents a need to replenish overall inventories prior to the upcoming holiday season.

In the earnings press release, Apple’s CFO notes that for the full year the company grew overall revenues by 12 percent and net income by 18 percent in extraordinarily challenging times. What an understatement! 

In this economic environment, most CFO’s, especially those residing in the consumer electronics sector, would be thrilled to be able to boast of such results.  Sadly, most consumer electronics companies, particularly those that reside in Japan, are continuing to struggle in this current global economy.

Apple once again proves that it sets the global benchmarks in value-chain capability.

Kudos to the entire Apple value-chain team for a job well done.

 The question still remains however, how long can this track record continue?

 Bob Ferrari