Case 1: Apple Inc.
A supply chain management is a process in which materials, finances, and information tend to move from the suppliers to the manufacturer and also from the wholesaler to a retailer who further distributes them to the consumers (Chopra and Meindl). Apple Inc. has been considered to be one of the companies that have the most efficient and fruitful supply-chain management systems. It makes them have a significant advantage over their competitors. A variety of factors contributes to it.
Apple has a large number of suppliers since it does not make all its devices. The providers make different commodities from each other. It is considered as a big company by its customers and also globally, Apple demands a high quality of goods from their suppliers, and also they have imposed terms on them that are strict. They have a large number of suppliers who are readily available and willing to work with their terms if another supplier is not ready. For example when the Chinese supplier for Taptic engines for the Apple watch proved unreliable Apple easily started acquiring them from Nidec Corp which is a Japanese firm.
The Apple supply chain allows them to be able to outsource their components and devices. It allows them to be in a better-placed position as compared to their competitors. After they have assembled the devices, they concentrate on designing their products in a way that they can be easily used and also offer a rich functionality to their users. Apple has a supply chain that advocates for accountability. It makes everyone involved in the supply chain from the management to the employees to pay keen attention to details. Decisions are made swiftly, and also communication is made clear from the top management this helps in ensuring that the end product that is made is of the expected standards and is of better quality as compared to those of their competitors.
Planning of the supply chain management at Apple is a good example of the development of a new product. It frequently involves an integration of marketing, R&D and other functions which are usually under the supply chain management. Creative design and engineering are often incorporated. Apple makes prepayments to their suppliers while acquiring their raw materials and this gives them a competitive advantage over other companies since they will always be having devices that are ready whenever their customers want hence they are in a position to settle the demands of their clients. After the raw materials are acquired, they are shipped to an assembling firm which is in China and the assembler then using the UPS or FedEx ships the products to the consumers.
In conclusion, Apple has set up 424 retail shops in 16 countries around the world this made its supply chain more efficient as compared to their competitors which were mainly established in an area where there was high-traffic this helped it acquire a high-quality buying experience. It also contributes towards attracting more customers to buy Apple Inc. goods and experience their services.
Case 2: Zara - Fast Fashion
The global apparel chain is a prototypical example of the buyer-driven global chain. Profits are gotten through unique combinations of research, design, marketing and also sales (Bair). Zara is a fast fashion company that deals with clothes and other fabrics. Zara competitors are The Gap, H&M, and Benetton
The Zara chain can be grown by ensuring that they market their products and not allowing the retailers, the branded manufacturers and retailers to act as their strategic brokers. They should have a direct link to their customers so as to ensure that the customers are not overcharged while they are buying their commodities. It will help Zara fashion to attract more customers and also they will be in a position to supply the goods to the customers whenever they are needed, unlike the brokers who will want to withhold the fabrics so as to create a monopolistic situation for themselves. Zara should ensure that they do most of their production they should employ qualified staff who are skilled. It will help them be creative and manufacture goods which are different from those of other companies this will help them have a better advantage in the marketplace. They should brand their commodities with their names so as they can get known even in a situation where their goods are outsourced.
Zara fashion can grow its chain by the creation of the large retail outlets. It will make them independent and also increase their total sales. They should set up their retail shops in some countries across the world at strategic places such as the malls. Zara fashion should improve its chain by partnering with other companies such as their suppliers. It will enable Zara fast fashion to enhance the quality of their products and also ensure that they do not run out of raw materials hence they will always be in a position to meet their customers demand. They should make sure they utilize their warehouse rather than eliminating it so as to get a place to store their fabrics and always have them readily stored. Zara chain can be grown by ensuring that shipment from the warehouse is done more than twice in a week and use a faster means of delivery rather than trucks so as to save on time. It will also in turn help change his merchandise which was on display more frequently rather than taking three to four weeks to change their display.
Considering the Italian market to be the largest single apparel market in Europe it could offer the Zara fast-fashion a significant growth hence a brighter prospect. It would also be an excellent idea as it would help boost the sale of the company since the Italians were considered to be people who loved fashion and would spend their money on apparel.
Zara should not only focus on suppliers who are based in Europe but should also concentrate on those far away this is because the company will be in a position to acquire different types of fabrics which other firms across the world make. They will have a broad range of the kind of material that they should choose. It will enable them to improve on customers satisfaction through meeting their preferences. The Zara fashion should also focus on a strategy that involves other regions and not only Europe since they could get a chance to sell the clothes that were not moving in Europe to the other areas. It will enable the company also to get international managers since all the managers who were operating in the European markets were all locals.
In conclusion, to improve the Zara fast-fashion chain, the top management needed to consider other questions such as the geographical scope of the business. The needed to pay attention to the non-Zara chains that were competing with their company so as to know the areas that required improvement so as to remain valuable in the market by their customers.
Bair, Jennifer. The Global Apparel Chain after the Mfa. Maney, 2008.
Chopra, Sunil, and Peter Meindl. Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation. Pearson, 2016.
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