Strategic Supply Chain Management and Logistics (Apple Inc.)
Using examples, explain the importance of effective supply chain management in achieving your chosen organization’s objectives.
The aspects of effective supply chain management are of utmost vitality in all organizations. This study shall examine the features of effective supply chain management in Apple Inc. An effective supply chain system is of much value to Apple Inc. in several ways. The first importance is that an effective supply chain is adaptable, and this will assist Apple Inc. to achieve its main objectives like cost minimization and business expansion and contraction (Chopra and Meindl 2010). Second, an effective SCM system will enhance the aspects of customer service and contentment, quality of products and services, and delivery accuracy. Furthermore, effective supply chain management helps in matching the aspects of supply and demand, which in turn enables the company to achieve the objectives that pertain to minimization of stock or the increased capacity which guards against shortages of stock supply. An effective supply chain management improves the operational efficiency of the organization, and in the end, the company attains the set objectives. The production processes are improved and the customer satisfaction levels increase (Batten 2008). The aspects of an effective supply chain system ascertain the success of a particular company. In addition, the sales volume increases, and as a result, higher profitability levels become evident.
Using examples, explain the link between supply chain management and business functions in your chosen organization.
Apple Inc. functions as a data innovation company and a computer manufacturing entity. The company requires efficient supply chain management, and this will determine the success of the company in its operations. The links between SCM and business functions are several. The first link pertains to human resources. Apple has recently launched training activities that aim to increase the efficiency levels of suppliers (Cimmorelli 2006). In addition, the company has imposed regulations and all suppliers have to comply. Second, the SCM system links with the finance function in Apple. Recently, the company has revamped its supply system and this made Apple have a more competitive edge in the market. More specifically, a good SCM system minimizes the costs incurred and the profitability levels increase. Third, supply chain management is associated with the purchasing function (Christopher 2010). An effective SCM system will improve the quality of inventory in Apple Inc. In addition, the purchasing department is able to predict the required quantities of inventory. Moreover, a good SCM system links with the transport function. Apple Inc. is able to determine the cheapest modes of transport and the company establishes an efficient distribution network. Furthermore, a good SCM system links with the sales and marketing function in Apple Inc.
Using examples, discuss the key drivers for achieving an integrated supply chain strategy in your organization
The drivers that pertain to achieving an integrated supply chain strategy in Apple Inc. are several. The first is the facilities. This refers to the designated places whereby inventory is stored, assembled, and fabricated. It also includes production and storage sites. The second driver is inventory, and it incorporates finished goods, work in progress, and raw materials in the supply chain (Gattorna 2008). It also entails the aspects of the inventory policy. Third, there is an aspect of transportation, and this includes moving inventory between specified points in the supply chain. In addition, Apple Inc. has to combine distinct transportation modes and routes. The fourth driver is information, and this entails examining data that relates to inventory. In addition, it involves the aspects of transport and facilities in the entire supply chain framework (Lambert 2008). The fifth driver of an integrated supply chain in Apple Inc. is sourcing. This entails the functions Apple Inc. performs and the functions the company outsources. Finally, the pricing is of much importance. This relates with the commodities provided by Apple Inc. to the supply chain. The six drivers link with each other and they all contribute to an integrated supply chain strategy in the company’s operations
Evaluate the effectiveness of current strategies used by your organization to maintain relationships with suppliers.
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the current strategies used by Apple Inc., it is necessary to evaluate certain elements. The first element is the focus, and this refers to a common vision for the relationship with agreed strategies and activities (Shah 2009). Apple Inc. has recently launched programs that aim to create a rapport with the various suppliers. The second element is trust, and this entails open communication and disclosure at all times. Apple Inc. has recently formulated a compliance statement, and suppliers have to meet the set criteria this improves trust levels. Third, the performance is of significant value. This entails improvements towards the set targets and KPIs. Apple evaluates the effectiveness of the various operations in the company at regular intervals. The fourth element is proactivity, and this is the ability to anticipate business requirements and creative solutions (Li 2007). The Apple management has taken steps to ensure the company is compliant with the current market trends in various locales. Furthermore, the aspect of profit at risk is very important. This involves establishing real metrics to drive behavior for both parties. Apple Inc. requires the suppliers to know about their market for raw materials, technological advancements, and the industry best practices.
Use different information technologies to create strategies to develop your chosen organization’s relationship with suppliers.
The strategic use attention turned inward reengineering business process. Apple can introduce the concept of enterprise resolution planning, and this will transform internal operations as it provides single sources of data at Apple Inc. Second, Apple management has to utilize the Internet. This will enable the company to gain a more competitive edge in the market. More intently, Apple Inc. has to launch internet frameworks in the company. The frameworks will improve the company will improve operational efficiency and there will be a significant improvement in the relationship with suppliers (Wincel 2004). In addition, Apple Inc. can implement inter-organizational systems (IOS) systems. These systems will increase the efficiency of supply chain operations. This is because Apple Inc. will be in constant communication with the involved suppliers. The other form of information technology pertains to electronic tenders. These will increase the levels of efficiency, and there will be minimal use of time in supply chain operations. Furthermore, Apple Inc. can implement electronic data interchange systems (EDI). This is transmission in the standard syntax of data for business transactions between computers of independent companies. The use of information technology facilitates a relationship with suppliers because the levels of efficiency in both businesses increases and this nurtures a strong relationship between Apple and its’ vendors.
Develop a range of systems to maintain your chosen organization’s relationship with suppliers.
Apple Inc. has to formulate various systems that will improve the relationship with the vendors of the company. These systems incorporate push and pull systems. The push system refers to systems whereby the work release depends on demand downstream projections. This is whereby the process begins with the vendor (Zuckerman 2002). The push systems enable Apple to keep the inventory to meet actual demand. Moreover, the system enables the company to act proactively. The pull systems are applicable whereby the work release depends on the actual demand or the actual status of the downstream customers. However, the pull systems may cause long delivery lead times and they may act reactively. In addition, there can be an execution of various procedures at Apple Inc. These procedures include customer relationship management, internal supply chain management, and supplier relationship management. More intently, the company has to develop supply chain systems like enterprise resource planning and decision support systems (DSS). The company has to develop logistics systems, and these systems incorporate network design applications, warehouse and transportation planning systems, and warehouse management and transport execution systems. All these features consolidate systems that ascertain the relationship between Apple Inc. and its suppliers. It is necessary for the management at Apple to nurture the supplier relationship at all times.
Assess how various information technologies could be used to integrate different parts of the supply chain of your chosen organization.
Information technology can be applicable in integrating different components of the supply chain at Apple in various ways. The first aspect is planning and controlling supply chain integration. This is whereby Apple Inc. integrates the functionalities of the planning and control department with the aspects of supply chain management. It is necessary to link the planning and control activities with the supply activities. The various examples of planning and control supply chain integration are supply chain planning, collaborative product development, product development, integrated demand, and supply management (Chopra and Meindl 2010). The second aspect is information integration, and this involves linking the aspects of the supply chain to data transmission procedures. Examples of information integration are inventory visibility, performance metrics, event monitoring, business intelligence, scorecards, and dashboards. The third aspect is business process integration, and this is whereby the Apple management coordinates the supply chain departments and the various business operations. Examples of business process integration include collaborative logistics, commerce websites, vendor-managed inventories, and private exchanges (Christopher 2010). It is imperative for Apple Inc. to implement a particular supply chain framework. The company has to make provisions for planning, sourcing, making, delivery, and return. These integration procedures will ensure that Apple’s supply chain system is effective at all times.
Evaluate how information technology has contributed to the management of the supply of your chosen organization
The Internet enriches communication through greater connectivity between Apple Inc. and the customers resulting in demand for online enterprise groups. Second, Information technology improves the aspects of cooperation and information sharing for all the involved stakeholders of the supply chain by reducing the variability and redundancy in the ordering procedures. This implies that the information processing capabilities of suppliers increase, and this nurtures a greater relationship between Apple and its suppliers. As a result, the levels of uncertainty drastically diminish (Batten 2008). Moreover, the transaction costs reduce between buyers and suppliers and a relational framework becomes evident. More intently, there is a closer buyer and supplier relationship. Third, Information technology decreases trust-based inter-organizational partnerships. Furthermore, information technology eliminates the trend of human participation in buyer and supplier interaction. This implies that information technology improves the levels of trust in conducting various supply chain activities. It is necessary for Apple Inc. to implement data innovation frameworks between the company and the company and the concerned vendors. This will ensure that the supply chain operations run smoothly, and in the end, the company will be able to achieve the set objectives (Cimorelli 2006). It is difficult for Apple to be successful without proper data innovation frameworks in all supply chain activities.
Assess the success of information technology in managing the supply chain of your chosen organization
The operational efficiencies of various departments at Apple have significantly improved. The first department is the procurement department. Massive improvements are evident in order of processing procedures, and this entails communication with vendors, checking price quotes, and order placement and status. In addition, the purchasing, receipts of questions, and vendor updating procedures have significantly flourished. Moreover, the features of negotiation have become favorable to Apple Inc. The operations department has become fruitful in various ways. These ways pertain to inventory management, and this involves communications of stocks between customers and vendors, implementation of electronic data interchange between various stakeholders (Christopher 2010). In addition, there is an improvement in production scheduling and the department has become proactive. The logistics department has become effective in various ways. These include transportation scheduling, vehicle tracking, and fulfillment procedures. Furthermore, IT has revamped the aspects of customer relationships in Apple Inc. The customers can contact Apple Inc. at any time and they offer information that is of much value to the company. There have been improvements in vendor relationships in various ways. These ways include information sharing, long-term commitment, and higher trust levels. Finally, improvements are evident in the firm operations at Apple Inc. The improvements in the firm entail increased levels of discipline, effective management procedures, and increased levels of flexibility in Apple Inc.
Explain the role of logistics in supply chain management in your chosen organization
Logistics enables Apple Inc. to execute cost minimization projects, such as just-in-time (JIT), electronic data interchange (EDI), and early supplier involvement (ESI). These procedures improve the operational efficiencies at Apple Inc. The customer satisfaction levels increase and the Apple is able to ascertain the distribution of various commodities in the market. More intently, Apple Inc. has in the past experienced distribution challenges (Gattorna 2008). The logistics procedures have enabled the company to expand the initial distribution frameworks. The movement of commodities from Apple Inc. has become a guarantee. This implies that there is materials management, or the prompt movement of materials, components, and various supplies. In addition, there have been improvements in physical distribution and the movement of the firm’s physical products to its customers. The logistics department is crucial in matters that pertain to supply chain management. Apple Inc. has to align its logistic procedures with the supply chain strategies (Lambert 2008). Logistics procedures enable Apple to deliver the required commodities to the customers at the right time and place. Moreover, the logistics procedures aid the systems that pertain to supply chain management. Logistics procedures determine whether the supply chain management will be effective or not. More specifically, the logistics department functions as the main link between Apple and the involved stakeholders.
Evaluate the current procurement practices in your chosen organization
Procurement encompasses distinct stages and particular individuals. In addition, it includes all stages that pertain to fulfilling a customer’s request. The current internal procurement practices at Apple Inc. pertain to distinct departments. The first section is product development. Apple Inc. manufactures various products including computers like iMac, eMac, and MacBook air. Apple manufactures digital devices and cellphones including iPod, Apple TV, iPod, iPhone, and iPhone4 (Shah 2009). All these pertain to, product development. Second, there is the aspect distribution. Apple Inc. uses two distribution channels they deliver the product to the customer directly, or they avail the products to various distributors who in turn link with retail stores. The procurement practices also entail marketing operations. Apple Inc. exhibits high levels of marketing efficiency. For example, the company implements personal selling, direct marketing, and it invests in advertisements (Li 2007). The aspects of finance and customer service are also part of procurement practices in the company. The external practices associated with procurement include the issues that pertain to vendors and distributors who seek to transform the various products so that the customer can utilize the particular commodities. Procurement procedures will determine the effectiveness of Apple’s supply chain management. It is necessary for Apple Inc. to implement procurement procedures that will revamp the supply chain practices.
Discuss the key factors that must be considered when improving logistics and procurement practices in your chosen organization
Apple Inc. needs to conduct an in-depth analysis of the factors that affect the improvement of logistics. The first factor that affects the improvement of logistics is competition via customer service. This entails the aspects of the order cycle, substitution, inventory effects, and transportation effects. Second, there is an aspect of product factors. Third, the exchange rates will also affect the logistics procedures (Chopra and Meindl 2010). This is because there might be significant upturns in warehousing and transportation costs. The density is of much vitality and the higher the density the higher the required transportation space. The security issues have much significance. Apple has to minimize damages in the process of improving its logistics practices. Moreover, the handling requirements, spatial relationships, and distance factors are of utmost vitality in the process of improving the logistics procedures. The key factors that affect the improvement of the procurement practices are several. These include the cost to performance, instantaneous-best-for-me decisions, sustainable suppliers, proactive remedies, and eradication of bribery and corruption (Christopher 2010). It is imperative for Apple to evaluate these factors before engaging in any procedures that aim to improve the logistics and procurement practices in the company. If the company reviews these factors, the success of the two departments will be an assurance
Plan an effective strategy to improve the supply chain of your chosen organization
Apple Inc. has to formulate programs that will train the various suppliers of the company. The training activities will enable the suppliers to perform their roles effectively and in the end, the supply chain management will improve massively. Second, Apple Inc. should formulate vendor contracts, and all the company’s suppliers have to comply with the requirements of this contract. Third, the company needs to implement a digitized system that pertains to supply chain management (Wincel 2004). Information technology is of much significance, and the company has to ensure that it integrates the features of information technology into all supply chain procedures. Information technology improves communication and caters to the needs of all the stakeholders involved. Apple Inc. should improve the logistics and procurement procedures, and this will increase the levels of efficiency that pertain to the supply chain. The supply chain is entirely dependent on logistics and procurement practices. It is necessary for Apple Inc. to revamp its prospective logistics and procurement procedures. More intently, the company has to ascertain the effective participation of all the stakeholders in the supply chain. These practices will guarantee improvements in Apple’s supply chain strategy, and the levels of operational efficiency will increase in a drastic manner.
Assess how a supply chain improvement strategy will benefit overall business performance in your chosen organization
The strategy that pertains to supply chain improvement will improve the profitability levels at Apple Inc. The stable supply of raw materials is of utmost importance, and the company cannot execute production procedures without raw materials (Zuckerman 2002). It is necessary for Apple to ascertain its supply of raw materials in all instances. Second, an improved supply chain strategy will improve communication between the various stakeholders. More intently, the use of information technology will ensure that the vendors, the customers, Apple Inc. are in constant touch at all times. In addition, the aspects of customer relationship management and supplier relationship management also improve massively. The strategy that pertains to the supply chain improvement will also increase the levels of operational efficiency in Apple Inc. The various departments in the company will be able to coordinate with each other and the set objectives of the company will be attainable in the required time (Batten 2008). In addition, the use of information technology will improve employee performance levels. As a result, the company’s productivity levels significantly improve. The operations of Apple Inc. are entirely dependent on the efficiency levels of the supply chain management, and the strategy will influence all the operations in the company. The Apple management must ensure that it fully executes the strategy.
Explain how barriers will be overcome in your chosen organization while implementing a supply chain improvement strategy
Barriers will tend to act as hindrances in all organizational practices. It is not pragmatic to assume that all procedures will always be successful. Some procedures might be unsuccessful, and in some cases, these particular procedures might adversely affect Apple Inc. Barriers can become extinct if collective decision-making processes are evident in Apple Inc. It is imperative to involve all the concerned stakeholders before launching a strategy that pertains to supply chain improvement (Cimorelli 2006). The suppliers, the customers, and most importantly the Apple employees have to be content with the proposed strategy. This will ensure that none of the stakeholders acts as a barrier to the execution of the strategy. Second, the Apple management has to formulate reward systems this will increase the motivation levels of suppliers and employees. Third, it is prudent to propose strategies that are in line with the set government and industry regulations. This will avoid barriers that originate from the government. In addition, it is important to formulate a supply chain budget, and this will ensure that the constraints that pertain to costs become extinct. The budget will also act as a performance indicator and the Apple will be able to execute corrective measures if required.
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