The production company I have selected to analyze is Apple Inc. Apple Inc. develops, produces, and distributes smartphones, laptops, tablets, wearable technology, accessories, and a variety of connected services. iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod, and other accessories are just a few of the company’s offerings. The Apple Company has emerged as one of the most cutting-edge tech companies in the past three decades (Lockamy, 2017). Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the company’s founders, are credited with the business’s early successes. They started and developed Apple Inc. into a company with over $700 billion in market value in 2014. (Bloomberg, 2014). Apple Inc. adopted a new product development approach, focusing on producing cutting-edge technology products with appealing aesthetics and fashionable designs (Lockamy, 2017). This paper will address the topics like product life cycle, supply chain management, quality management, and assurance in regards to Apple Inc.
Product Life Cycle Weaknesses
The first weakness in Apple’s product life cycle can be identified in the decline stage. The limited product lifespan of Apple products may put off potential buyers. Apple offers more than simply technology goods. It also promotes a way of living. Apple has successfully created dedicated customers for its high-end items over time. As a result, when a product is considered the previous year’s “hit product,” the adverse consumer reaction is perceived as strong. In the decline stage, when the consumers are no longer interested in the product, the price for the product should be cut. For instance, when iPhone 12 appears on the market, people become reluctant to pay a large sum of money to buy the iPhone 6.
The next weakness is that Apple’s operating system has trouble integrating with third-party devices. While Apple upholds its technical specifications and preserves internal design control, the software’s ability to run on other systems becomes seriously harmed. Even if it does not pose a problem in the growth stage, it might become a weakness in the maturity stage, where many competitors appear that can advantage by their high compatibility on the market.
New Product Design
Options for a new product design of Apple products, particularly of iPhone, can have various forms. For example, Apple can attempt to generate folding smartphones that look stylish, compact to keep, and comfortable to use. Samsung and Huawei, rivals of Apple, have both unveiled folding smartphones that could be available in 2019 (Terry, 2019). A novel approach to cellphones like folding smartphone innovation is precisely what the market requires to grow further.
The idea development for such a feature comes from customers, who prefer to stay with Apple products, but, at the same time, want to see the analogs of Galaxy Flip4. If Apple delays the production of foldable smartphones for a long time, customers might switch to Galaxy or Huawei as their tastes and preferences change. This new product design idea will also be helpful for business functions like Marketing, Finance, and Human Resources.
First, the release of foldable iPhones can be a significant resource and agenda for the Marketing area as it can drive customers’ attention by offering innovation and added value. Consequently, successful marketing can lead to an increase in revenue, which means higher financial profitability. Moreover, since the idea of foldable cellphones is relatively new for Apple Company, a need arises to hire more developers and other specialists.
In the preliminary design and testing step, just the prototype can be designed and produced utilizing the existing assets such as developers and materials. If the quality turns out to be below the standard and worse than that of competitors, external sources can be applied to rebuild the prototype. For the final design, the company can select the necessary equipment and materials by referring to the companies that have already realized the idea. For instance, Samsung can be a good option as a supplier.
New Process Selection
Regarding the types of facilities, microLEDs (LEDs) must be used in place of active-matrix organic LEDs (AMOLED) in folding screens to improve productivity, clarity, mobility, and longevity. The study points out that LED innovation can offer greater performance, a more comprehensive dynamic range, brightness output, and quicker reaction time. A seamless shift from the research and production stage to complete product commercialization becomes possible owing to flexible production techniques and the company’s efforts to mass-produce flexible, portable gadgets.
The worker skills needed to produce foldable phones will remain the same as they are while conventional iPhones are produced. Nevertheless, the developers and designers can go through specific courses to gain more profound knowledge to become qualified for the production of foldable iPhones. Moreover, Apple company can negotiate with research universities or companies like Samsung or Oppo to teach their workers about the process of production.
Strategies to Strengthen Operation
In order to strengthen the operation, the company can use the following strategies. First, the company’s goods can be developed and chosen with primary consideration of the customer experience. Since customers determine the success and livelihood of the new product, it is a valuable strategy to rely on their experience. The following strategy is to combine the work of engineers and designers. It is needed so that the members of the development and design teams work together to complement each other’s jobs. The third strategy is called a product design approach that is user-centered. This can be divided into five crucial steps that will be described below.
Understanding. This data collection phase attempts to give designers a thorough understanding of customer preferences and address the concerns of product consumers. This process gathers critical preliminary data. Thinking about. Here, designers come up with ideas for services they might provide to people. New understandings and conceptual advances are made at this phase. Indicating. Here, design and product engineering teams construct a design brief for the item they have all agreed to make. Putting into action. This includes each step in the production process that aims to give the consumer a high-quality product. Continuing. The items are frequently changed to accommodate customers’ shifting wants. As a result, during the product’s life cycle, the product design team plays a vital role in contributing continuously to revisions.
Key Components of Supply Chain Management
There are five main stages of Apple’s supply chain management. These include sourcing, production (China-based assembly), storage, delivery, and retailing. In short, Apple obtains resources and pieces from various providers and sends them to its Chinese assembling factory. Consumers who purchase the goods through the company’s online marketplace are then sent the goods. Apple employs alternative distribution channels, including retail locations, third distributors, and direct selling.
Issues and Solutions
While Apple’s supply chain appears well organized, there are still drawbacks. There are still many difficulties to overcome. Apple has recently been troubled by supply issues. The company has had late deliveries of some components, like Airpods, while early deliveries of others, like Apple TV, have occurred. These difficulties are brought on by incorrect demand projections or lower yields than anticipated. Sometimes it only involves alterations to manufacturing procedures made at the last minute. The company needs to address image issues that could harm sales and errors in its forecasting to achieve a tighter harmony with its supply network.
Essential components like compact disks, microchips, and liquid crystal screens are still purchased from only confined sources, even though the majority of components crucial to Apple’s production process are obtained from various suppliers. Because of the significant supply concerns, these components are prone to price volatility and shortages. The company should look into the possibilities of broadening its supply chain to address this issue and protect itself from the faults of its vendors.
A third issue relates to the fact that a new brand requires sourcing new components or materials. Suppliers, however, may not necessarily be familiar with that specific brand. As a result, suppliers could not have the elements Apple needs right away, which could cause a delay in production. To overcome this obstacle, the company should use supplier technology to monitor delivery, output and yield ratios, and compliance.
Total Quality Management Tool
In order to keep a targeted benchmark or level of excellence, quality control entails monitoring all operations throughout the production process. Quality management has traditionally focused on quality control, where goods were checked at the end of manufacturing and defective products were considered “waste” and sold for less or thrown away. Numerous methods and concepts have been developed over time to eradicate waste and guarantee that the top requirements are consistently met. Apple should use flowcharts, modeling diagrams, and the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology to improve complete quality management.
Analysis of JIT Philosophy Advantages
Apple can benefit from a Just-In-Time JIT concept in the following ways. The creation of a plan for a uniform workload. Apple can efficiently split its workload amongst various workstations to lessen supply chain delays. The company can control its inventory by estimating how much raw material will be needed to make the subsequent goods in the assembly line The Just-in-Time (JIT) philosophy, which improves cooperation between operational processes, can assist decrease the total production time and the timing of product delivery.
Evaluation of JIT Philosophy Impact on Quality Assurance
Another benefit of JIT is that it might drastically cut down on the setup time needed to modify an existing production chain to produce quality items as quickly as feasible. There is a connection between JIT and product quality, according to researchers. This is so that quality control is integrated into the operational process through JIT. Additionally, JIT allows the company to spot technical issues before the production phase, allowing them to fix the issue and raise the caliber of the finished goods. This is significant because it compels the production staff to apply their finest techniques. By doing this, the workers lower their error margin and significantly raise their output’s caliber.
Operation Forecasting Methods
The ability of Apple’s forecasting team to perform calculations that assist the company in generating projections relating to Apple’s efficient supply chain management is a critical component of quantitative forecasting. Comparatively, qualitative forecasting depends on the firm’s forecasting team’s capacity to develop informed and nuanced assumptions (Hassen et al., 2020). Market demand, customer purchasing patterns, and supply chain management performance can all be evaluated using quantitative forecasting.
On the other hand, qualitative forecasting is not particularly effective because the market is typically unpredictable, and no company can correctly estimate marketing direction. This is so because qualitative forecasting depends on dynamic client data about wishes and potential purchases. On the other hand, quantitative forecasting, which uses historical data to estimate future patterns, can be highly helpful in helping people make well-informed decisions. Qualitative forecasting may prove essential, particularly for seasoned forecasters who have gathered market expertise and can offer knowledgeable forecasts for their goods.
Design thinking and user-led product solutions should be combined in Apple Inc.’s new product design and process selection. In order to protect itself against the deficiencies of its suppliers, Apple Inc. should look into the idea of diversifying the types of suppliers it works with. It should also use supplier technology to monitor compliance, production and yield rates, and delivery performance. Therefore, by enhancing its operational procedures with the aid of the Total Quality Management Tool and Just in Time (JIT), Apple could minimize any concerns related to the product life cycle and increase market share by maturing its goods.
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Lockamy, A. (2017). An examination of external risk factors in Apple Inc.’s Supply Chain. Supply Chain Forum: An International Journal, 18(3), 177–188. Web.
Terry, B. (2019). Beginning of the new smartphone era. Marriott Student Review, 3(1), 10.