Let’s Call Apple’s Supply Chain What it Really Is
What makes one supply chain superior to another? That’s a question that I’veVolumetric Efficiency been mulling over since Apple Inc. announced that the launch of the Apple Watch has been delayed. Once again, Apple is missing a product release because of an alleged faulty component.
And once again, Apple tops Gartner’s Top 25 Supply Chain list.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
If you’re still waiting for your Apple Watch order to arrive, the Wall Street Journal has someone for you to blame: Taptic Engine components manufactured by AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. “started to break down over time,” a manufacturing defect that “people familiar with the matter” say caused Apple to throw out some watches that had already been built.
In case Apple’s rabid fan base has forgotten, Apple’s iPad Mini didn’t meet production expectations because of a shortfall in — and performance problems with – a component (displays). There was a similar problem with the iPhone 5 rollout. And the iPhone 6. And the iPad Pro. Yet year after year Apple tops the list of best supply chains in the world.
Granted, the standard for superior supply chains continues to evolve. Years ago, best-in-class companies practiced JIT and BTO; more recently, optimum supply chains were both flexible and resilient. The latest supply chain buzzword is “customer-centric,” which simply means the supply chain is modeled to serve the needs, wants and demands of the customer. In Apple’s case, these are customers who have been known to sleep on sidewalks to be first to the Apple Store, only to walk away empty-handed. I wouldn’t call that a customer-centric supply chain.