The following commentary can also be viewed and commented on the Supply Chain Expert Community web site.
On the Tech Broiler blog featured on ZD Net, Jason Perlow penned a perceptive commentary, Apple’s secret iPad advantage: The supply chain, which amplifies the critical importance of having integrated supply chain procurement, business process and business intelligence capabilities.
In his commentary, Jason reviews the current landscape of so-called competitive offerings to Apple’s iPad tablet computer, and concludes that no competitor can currently match the iPad in terms of functionality and price attractiveness, primarily because of Apple’s supply chain prowess. He notes: “How is Apple able to do this where nobody can? It has to do with buying up the entire supply chain and being able to leverage quantity 10 Million+ manufacturing orders in advance with its partners in China like FoxConn and with semiconductor component suppliers such as LG, Samsung and Phillips.”
Besides Supply Chain Matters, many other bloggers and industry analysts have cited the world class supply chain capabilities of Apple. It is important however to again note that Apple’s current differentiating capabilities are not just from one singular dimension, either product innovation, strategic sourcing, or any other, but the entire compendium of global supply chain capabilities. That includes world class sales and operations planning, business intelligence and the ability to quickly re-synchronize the supply chain when extraordinary or unplanned events occur. Think back to the many product launches where millions of Apple’s products were sold on the very first day or weekend, and where the supply chain was able to quickly respond with new supply in a matter of days. It is like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier where operations run continuously, everyone understands their role in either command, control or coordination, and where arrays of planning and intelligence information are constantly being synchronized.
In the midst of these commentaries, Apple is also working with Verizon Wireless on tomorrow’s public launch of the iPhone 4 on Verizon. There is a lot of speculation as to whether Verizon will sell out in hours, but then again, Apple will surely respond with more phones. Yesterday and today,, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Apple’s next generation iPad 2 is already in production, with a thinner, lighter and faster processor. Since Apple’s supply chain has initiated iPad 2production, a new launch date may be a matter of weeks, which strikes another blow to Apple’s competitive landscape..
The sun never sets for Apple’s supply chain teams, and as we often note, Apple is probably one of the best examples of why agile, integrated and global wide supply chain capabilities will always matter as a key differentiator for sales and bottom line profits.