Apple’s Supply Chain May Steal Developer’s Thunder

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Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco opened yesterday. This is generally a forum to announce new products, but the company is also likely to build upon its recent advances in supply chain visibility.

Apple has long been highly regarded for its innovative products, which combine advanced functionality, exceptional user experience and attention to detail in design. Cutting-edge products typically require innovative approaches to manufacturing, and Apple is widely considered an industry leader in this arena, a best-of-breed position reflected by its financial might.

At the same time, Apple has topped the rankings in the annual Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 survey - for the seventh year in a row. At the recently concluded “Supply Chain Summit,” Gartner noted that “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.”

The most surprising development of late, however, is the praise Apple has received from Greenpeace, which has lauded Apple’s record on the environment. Here’s just part of their ringing endorsement:

Apple’s increased transparency about its suppliers is becoming a hallmark of Tim Cook’s leadership at the company. Apple has flexed its muscles in the past to push suppliers to remove hazardous substances from products and provide more renewable energy for data centers, and it is proving the same model can work to reduce the use of conflict minerals.  Samsung and other consumer electronics companies should follow Apple’s example and map its suppliers, so the industry can exert its collective influence to build devices that are better for people and the planet.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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