Apple Inc.: Managing the global supply chain Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Apple Inc.: Managing the global supply chain Case Study Solution


The report discusses the key factor of sustaining the business which is the “competitive advantage”. Every business established in the market has certain competitive advantage over the other players which enables the company to stand out in the market and develop leadership position.In doing so, the company under analysis is Apple.Over the period of time, since after its initiation, Apple has developed its core competency on technology and innovation.It has successfully managed its innovative strategy with the organizational structure and system staffing techniques so to ensure the quality of service offered along with the level of customer satisfaction.This competitive advantage has also enabled Apple to become as one of the top consumer product company in the market with strong positioning and differentiation strategies.

Apple has always practiced the differentiation strategy. In doing so, apart from product side, the company has successfully managed its supply chain operations by incorporating forward and backward logistics in the system,along with the development of the supplier system to remain close with the supplier in order to ensure the quality of product and the ability to deal with the high demand.However, from 2012-2014, the stock price of apple is decreasing, making the share holders worry about the profits, however, under the new vision of Tim cook, Apple is working to bringing the suppliers together and control the production capabilities inorder to maintain the customer satisfaction as the key part of the business strategy.

Keywords:  Competitive advantage, Mckinsey 7S model, strategy


Competitive advantage:

The competitive advantage of the firm is defined as the unique characteristic or set of competencies that allows it to channel the resources in a way that is best for the business strategy and hence leads to effective and distinct market position. Usually competitive advantage is undermined fact in the organization, many businesses lack to identify the competitive advantage and hence lose the market easily. While on the other hand there are some companies that utilizes their core competencies to overshadow their weakness and develop a distinct value proposition in the market.

Apple Inc Managing the global supply chain Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

The particular competitive advantage distinguishes the company from its competitors and develops a strong position in the market and as well in customer mind. For example having a skilled staff is the competitive advantage to the Technological or any dynamic organization which works through prospector strategy. In addition, the business strategies are developed by keeping in mind the competitive advantage of the business, which again enables the organization to lead the market. The competitive advantage can be in any form for example, the effective operational management, cost leadership, supply chain management, Human resource or any technology can become the company’s competitive advantage in the market, distinguishing it from the competitors.

Apart from the common definition of the comparative advantage, the importance of competitive advantage to the businesses crucial.It is the competitive advantage that develops a certain position of the company in the market and offers the sustainability to run the operations in the long run, without losing the market share and customer attraction.Also, due to certain comparative advantage in the areas, the business can build a different strategy to tap the market, flanking or restricting the competition, gaining more market share due to exclusive advantage over the market. Since competitive advantage is exclusive set of expertise, talent or technology it allows the business to maximize its profits in the market with a strong market awareness and positioning the strategy. Also, apart from the business over-view, the competitive advantage or exclusive strength/competency of the company allows it to develop the business strategy that includes all sub strategies to hit the market.Hence strategy plays the role of sub-set of the competitive advantage of the business.

Apple Inc.

Apple. Inc. is the world’s number 1 consumer product and service company.Over the period of time, the company has technologically improved to offer the consumer the best innovative started the journey to tap the market by producing the apple computer.However,soon after the entry of IBM and Microsoft, the company is bearing the loss in sales, due to rising value of the IBM CUMPUTER. Later in later 90’s, the company developed its first iPhone.This again reestablished the share and market performance of the company and helped it to refrain the comparative advantage the market.

The competitive advantage of the Apple is its innovative techniques to offer the market along with the strong hold on the internal operation.The company integrates backward and forward both to ensure the customer satisfaction and quality assurance. Doing so, Apple has developed a strong control over its supply chain to maximize the value to the customer. In doing so, it outsources some of the technology and the hardware parts from China, Japan, Korea and other cities. However,in order to maintain the quality of the final product and the demand control. The company develops strong and closed relationship with the supplier. In doing so, the company acquires the production capability and capacity of the supplier to meet the demand of the market.It also uses the J-I-T Just In Time Technology to forecast and manage the demand accordingly.The accurate forecast and the effective market reach also offers the company the competitive advantage in reaching the market first, giving it the first mover advantage...............

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