First part

You are required to develop a case study for a company or product of your choice evaluating the supply chain. In the case study you will be required to describe (and/or illustrate) the current supply chain for the product and then analyze the supply chain and discuss whether the current supply chain support the business objectives of the company. In your analysis you can identify any weaknesses/or strengths and make recommendation to improve the supply chain.

The case study will be developed in three phases:
Brief general description of the product and company that you have selected for your case study. Include a brief description of the business objectives of the company as well. Typical questions to address:


A brief introduction of the product and the company you have selected for your case study (what?) and what you intend to do in your report (how?).


(name of company)
What core product/service does the company make/sell/distribute?
What is the main objective of the company (re shareholders)?
What strategies do the company employ (or plan to employ) to reach these objectives (e.g. extending markets; cost reduction; focusing on quality or service; innovation; ethical & sustainable issues; etc.)?


(name of product/service)
What are the current characteristics of the product/service offered by the company (e.g. hi-tech; consumable; low value/high value units; big/small; etc.)?
How do end-consumers experience the current product/service (re price, quality, availability, desirability, service)?
What are the requirements of end-users (and potential new customers) of the product that would increase customer satisfaction (re price, quality, availability, desirability, service)?
What is the state of the industry and how important is this product in the industry (e.g. market share; competitiveness; main competitors; future growth and relevance of the industry)?
What is the strategy used by the company to compete in the industry (e.g. focus on cost; differentiation (quality, service, innovation, etc.); markets (global; niche; specialty)?
Will the current strategy ensures that the company reaches its main objectives (Is it aligned with what the company wants to achieve)? If not, what other strategy should the company focus on to be competitive with its product/service?

Case Study Project


The Apple Company was founded by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak in 1976 and renamed to Apple Computer, Inc in 1977. Apple Inc. is a multinational company whose headquarter is based in Cupertino, California in the U.S.A. The company business involves the design, manufacture and sale of computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, services, peripherals, third-party applications and digital contents, and also provides networking solutions (Apple, 2013).

Among the most celebrated products of the company is the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 is an electronic product that combines an iPod, an internet communications device and a mobile phone in one handheld device. The iPhone uses a multi-touch user interface; it features web browsing, class emails, maps and searching. This case study is based on Apple and the objective is to explore the company’s supply chain involving one of its brands-the iPhone 4, and whether it meets the long term objectives of the company.

The Company

Among the hardware products that the company deals with include the iPod, Apple TV, the iPad, the iPhone and the Mac computers. Their software applications include the iOS operating system, the OS X, the iWork and iLife production suites, the Safari web browser and the iTune media browser. In the phone making industry, Apple comes third after Nokia and Samsung.

The iPad has spurred the music business, the same as the iPhone has redefined the cell phone world and the iPad to the media and entertainment world. As of November 2012, Apple had close to 400 retail stores in 14 countries. In terms of revenue, Apple ranks among the largest global technology companies. The company had a market capitalization of $623.52 billion as of August 2012 (Browning & Stephen, 2012).

The financial objectives of the company include constant product innovation with at least one product launch and two upgrades. The next financial objective is to achieve crucial performance index and fulfilling the expectation of the investors. The customer related objectives includes regular innovation and launch of new products to retain the loyal customers and to gain new ones. The other one is to develop strategic approaches to enter into new markets (Tiffany, 2012).

The internal business objectives include developing the right suppliers for its products and developing a research & development division to key out future innovations and development opportunities. The last set of objectives relates to employees and talent management; making sure that the middle to top management talent is retained because these are the people involved in classified product research and in making tactical decisions.

The Product

The iPhone 4 is a 3G smart phone with touch screen features. It is a fourth generation iPhone and was preceded by the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone supports video calling, general e-mail and web access, downloading and viewing of music, movies, books, games and periodicals.

Its dominance from its predecessors is in the new design; it is composed of a stainless steel frame which doubles up as an antenna. The price for the iPhone 4 ranges around $99 for the 8GB version; the iPhone is widely available in many stores and comes with a two-year warranty. Buyers have a choice between a black and a white colored iPhone (Joshua, 2010).

Upon its launch, the iPhone 4 received an overwhelming reception from the market but with time there have been some short comings that have been pointed by numerous iPhone 4 owners. Within a few days of its release, some users of the iPhone complained about the insensitivity of the proximity sensor and also a yellow discoloration of the screen which disappeared after several days, a factor that was blamed on the glass lamination glue which was used (Joshua, 2010).

There was also a reported problem about the signal reception of the antenna and the quality of the camera image. Apple’s response to these issues has been to create iOS 5 and 6 updates for the iPhone with lots of added features and the ultimate solution has been the creation of iPhone 5. Apple introduced the iPhone 5 in September 2012 which saw the company manage to sell 5 million units within 3 days of its release into the market.

The new iPhone addresses the shortcoming of iPhone 4; it has a larger and longer screen, a faster processor, is much lighter, slim and a sharp design. It also comes with new features. With a price of $150, it is a wise tactical strategy by the company to retain and get more customers which is a key objective of Apple (Joshua, 2010).


Apple, I. (2013) Apple Incorporated. Business Day. Retrieved from

Browning, E.S. & Steven, R.. (2012). Apple Now Biggest-Ever U.S. Company. The Wall Street          Journal.

Joshua, T. (2010). iPhone 4 review. Retrieved from

Tiffany, K. (2012). Apple Designer: Money isn’t Apple’s Main Objective. Retrieved from DailyTech

Second part:
Analyze the interactions between purchasing and suppliers. Typical questions to address:


What are the main activities (facilities, transportation, storage, etc.) followed to ensure the end-product reaches its end-consumer?
(Draw a diagram of the main activities indicating the location of all these activities. Illustrate the physical flow of the goods through all these activities (with lead times if provided). Add the current business processes (e.g. ordering, manufacturing, selling, etc.) that affect the flow of goods (with lead times if provided).)
Are there any obvious flaws/problems with any or parts of the supply chain (e.g. process too cumbersome; duplication of activities; complicated process; lengthy processes; very costly; wastage or redundancies; etc.)?
Does the current supply chain contribute (or align) to the achievement of the product strategy and overall company objectives?

SUPPLY MANAGEMENT of the product

What are the main raw material/components/services that are required for the ‘make’ part of the supply chain? Is this a critical or strategic component of the end-product?
Who are the main suppliers of the raw material/components/services to the supply chain?
Do the current raw materials/components sourced meet the objectives of effective supply management (in terms of uninterrupted flow (reliability); cost; quality; contribution to overall customer satisfaction)?
Are than any risk/opportunities presented by the current supplier used to deliver the raw materials (e.g. operational, financial, environmental or reputational)? How does the supplier measure up to key performance indicators (e.g. cost, reliability, quality, etc.)? Is this a strategic supplier that contributes directly to end-consumer satisfaction?
Is there ways to streamline the acquisition of the raw material from the supplier (e.g. ordering process, supply function; using IT systems) or should the company investigate redesigning the procurement process?
If the company needs to identify or source alternative suppliers, is it not better (e.g. cost, quality, strategically, etc.) to make it in-house than using outside suppliers?
If the company decides to source suitable new suppliers, do they follow a structured process to ensure a good-fit supplier is selected (e.g. start with internal need analysis of raw material (in terms of volume, quality, availability; cost, etc.), a thorough market assessment and analysis of the possible suppliers (in terms of financials, operations & capability, reputation (ethical and sustainability), quality, environment (especially if it involves different countries)), deciding on key performance indicators to assess and measure suppliers (in terms of cost, quality, reliability, ability,
ethical and sustainability
, etc.))?
How does the company envision collaborating with the selected supplier (e.g. forming of alliances or partnerships, early supplier involvement in design, vendor management inventory, etc.)?

Summary: Does the company or manage its suppliers effectively? Any recommendations to improve.

We should follow this:

Analyze existing supply chain processes

Develop high-level plan of SC


Network of plants, warehouses, etc.

· Define existing processes

· Identify existing IT/IS

· Identify organizational structure

· Identify any possible risk events

Assess and redesign SC by comparing
to objectives

· Simplify SC

· Reducing processes

· Improve link between activities

· Eliminate wasteful / repetition

· Reduce lead times and inventories

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