(1) To impact: To create change, to influence
My first boss had a big impact on me. He taught me how to work well.
(2) Raw Materials: Basic things like oil and wood
To make a house, you need many raw materials: wood, iron, and so on.
(3) COO: Chief Operating Officer
At our company the COO is the second most important person. She focuses on operations while the CEO is more strategy-focused.
1. What makes Apple a great company?
a. Their fast supply chain
b. Their amazing product design
c. Their impact on the world
2. What kinds of products does Apple make?
a. Simple to use and powerful
b. Beautifully designed and inexpensive
c. Fast to the market and doing something new
3. Why is it interesting that Tim Cook became CEO of Apple?
a. He’s not good at design
b. Jonathan Ive was more famous
c. He focused on supply chain management at Apple
By Jeremy Schaar
Today on the blog, I’m going to introduce a great company: Apple. You’ll learn what makes Apple great. In the process, you’ll learn some interesting ideas about product development and supply chain management. Next week, you’ll learn about Apple’s strategy and marketing.
But, first, what makes a company great? Is it amazing profits like Exxon? How about large sales volume like Amazon? A company that stays at the top for 100 years–like GE–is great. But new companies like American Giant and Tumblr are also great.
The answer is simple. Great companies have a significant impact on the world. They change the way other companies do business and people live their lives.
Apple is a perfect example. They’ve influenced the way companies around the world do business. Their products have made life easier, and cooler, for millions. How have they done it?
“Our goal is to try to bring a calm and simplicity to what are incredibly complex problems so that you’re not aware really of the solution, you’re not aware of how hard the problem was that was eventually solved.” -Jonathan Ive
Jonathan Ive is the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple. Basically, he’s the main designer of their products. In the quote, he’s saying that at Apple they try to make complex things very simple.
In this process, Apple has made products that do amazing things and are easy to use. Apple devices famously “just work”. These days, many competitors also make great products, but when you compared an Apple device in 2005 with a competitor, the difference was amazing. Apple was much better.
Supply Chain Management
Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs are famous for making amazing products. But Steve Jobs was replaced by Tim Cook, not Jonathan Ive. Tim Cook’s job before becoming CEO was not in design. He was the COO.
In truth, Apple is a supply chain company with a small design team. Apple’s industrial design team has just 16 people on it. There are also teams for product design, manufacturing, and many others. But Apple has 80,000 employees. Where do they all work?
They’re all part of the supply chain. And in supply chain management, Apple has been just as amazing as more famous companies like Toyota. To assemble a computer or an iPhone, Apple needs to find the fastest way to put together batteries from Taiwan, screens from Korea, gyroscopes from Europe, and so on. Everything is assembled in China and then shipped around the world.
What’s more, Apple coordinates not just with their suppliers, but with supplier’s suppliers to ensure that they’ll have the raw materials necessary for their microchips, screens, and so on.
Apple went another step further and, instead of putting their products in stores, created their own stores with amazing customer service. Around the world, they’ve established partnerships with authorized Apple dealers.
In the end, Apple manages their products from raw materials to sales. More than anything else, they do this to create speed. The faster they are, the more products they can sell, and the quicker they can adapt to a changing world.
Product development and supply chain management are just two of the things that make Apple great. Next week, you’ll learn about their corporate strategy and marketing.