Apple’s History of Supply Chain Excellence

For seven years running, Apple has claimed the top spot in Gartner Supply Chain Top 25.  Next month, the analyst will release the list for the eleventh time—and it's a good bet that Apple will retain its leadership position.

“It's hard to argue with operations that regularly generate more than $10 billion in cash flow each quarter for existing products, while predictably bringing the next set of innovations to market,” Gartner reported. “Apple's supply chain strategy has always centered on orchestrating the delivery of winning customer solutions.”

What leads to supply chain excellence? Gartner has identified some basic traits shared by the leaders:

  1. Top tier supply chain organizations start with customer needs and behaviors when creating go-to-market and operational support strategies.
  2. Winners focus on selling solutions rather than discrete products or services.
  3. Leaders understand that the supply chain function needs to be closely integrated into the organization. “Supply chain has a large part to play in enabling the business to compete for the future, concurrent with protecting existing business,” Gartner said.
  4. Frontrunners take corporate social responsibility (CSR) seriously. They understand that these initiative reach beyond good public relations and actually help to eliminate waste and increase profitability.

Next year, on April Fool's Day, the Apple brand will celebrate its 40th birthday—so clearly it's doing something right. Take a look at the infographic below from ShopOnLess for the ins and outs of the organizations history, from logos, to leadership, to products. Then let us know what you are doing to make your organization a world-class supply chain leader in the comments section below.

— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page Friend me on Facebook

2 comments on “Apple’s History of Supply Chain Excellence

  1. Susan Fourtané
    April 17, 2015

    Hailey, Very interesting and entertaining. 🙂 Why would it be so difficult to get a job at an Apple Store? -Susan

  2. luizcosta
    April 17, 2015

    Contrary to my obsolete expectations for the Post Cook Apple, I realiize that Apple's impact to the wolrd's industrial era is much deeper than one person could imagine! I guess I have been mourning, for several years already, Steve's passing. One comment about “Gartner has identified some basic traits shared by the leaders” is that the very points (many more than 4) that Gartner is proposing as ranking criteria are the same that has distinguished Job's own Apple from any other predecessor. Please, let me know if I suffer from a type of ADD, for I thought I read attentively Steve Job's wonderful biography (Walter Isaacson) from birth to about 2006, and didn't noticed any reference to any other names other than those of Job's and Wozniak's associated with Apple's initial ownership.

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