In a posting on Yahoo Finance, a representative from Apple was quoted as indicating that Apple is indeed experiencing more than expected demand for the iPhone, and is confirming that the company is experiencing shipment delays caused by supply shortages, not a ramping down of the product due to next model introduction.What is interesting to note in this article, is that much of the current demand is being fueled by grey market purchases in the U.S. Apple outlets, for phones being taken or shipped to emerging markets in China, Russia, Africa, and other countries. One commentator is quoted that Apple’s shortfall in predicting demand could be upwards of one million units, and estimates that 15,000- 20,000 iPhones per week are being re-routed out of the United States to other countries.
I’m sure there are a lot of companies in the blogsphere that would enjoy having Apple’s problem, especially in light of today’s business slowdown economy. But for Apple, this presents a rather difficult problem for insuring adequate customer fulfillment in the U.S., as well as satisfying international demand.
In many presentations I’ve made over the past few years, I often cite Apple as a great example of a manufacturer who demonstrates all the characteristics of an “agile” supply chain. Their ability to not only provide truly innovative products, outsource almost all design and production needs, and ramp to extraordinary high volumes in a short period of time, are an envy to any consumer electronics manufacturer. We should all look forward to how Apple responds to its current challenge.