Much has been stated in traditional, social and other media regarding the life of Steve Jobs. The outpouring of praise for his professional accomplishments and the place his legacy rightfully deserves in the archives of corporate history are certainly obvious. He was a genius and a man for our times that had the ability to match art with technology. These past few days have been reflected in sadness, primarily because the life and contribution of Steve Jobs was cut too short.
Unlike too many CEO’s today, he managed to a long-term window, not this quarter’s stock price. He inspired people to do their best and chastise those who did not. He developed products that customers didn’t know they wanted, who then flocked in large numbers to be the first to own products that Steve Jobs was excited to describe.
Many of the individual tributes from Apple’s customers point to the fact that they do not buy an Apple product, rather they buy-in to an ‘Apple experience’.
Steve Job’s quest for excellence extended into Apple’s retail presence and its value-chain.
Various consumer electronics manufacturers had previously tested the waters of retail lacking any success. Apple has set the milestone on how to blend brand, customer and service experience into a retail capability which thousands of customers flock to each and every day. How many CEO’s concern themselves with the look, feel, and even the construction materials of their retail outlets.
Supply Chain Matters and other industry analyst firms have continually cited Apple as having the top-ranked supply chain in terms of business process and market-responsive capabilities. Not many companies could have sustained the high volume ramp-up capabilities of Apple’s value-chain, fulfilling ship volumes of literally hundreds of units per minute and not missing a beat during times of disruption. Apple’s sourcing and procurement processes are a benchmark, leveraging considerable buying power and influence with a keen eye to technology market capacity and technology trends.
The Steve Jobs quest for excellence extended to his belief in supply chain excellence and in his hiring of the best operational and supplier management team. Likewise for the capabilities of Apple’s suppliers and trading partners.
Some readers may quarrel with decisions to outsource so much capability and job growth to Asia. Similarly for supplier codes of conduct and worker safety. But now is not the time to do so.
Rather, we should all reflect on the legacy of what this man has brought to our time, and to future generations.
Rest in peace Steve Jobs. You did indeed followed your heart and intuition and your legacy will be so recorded.
Please join in extending our supply chain community praise to the contribution and legacy of this man of history.