When I think about Apple Inc, two relatively recent events occur to me: the death of Steve Jobs late last year and the highly anticipated release of the iPhone 5. It was speculated that disaster would occur by correlating the two previously mentioned events. With the death of Jobs, many thought that Apple’s production quality and perfectionism would suffer, including the release of one of their big sellers after Job’s death: the iPhone 5.
Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ successor, has put people’s qualms and worries to rest following the release of the iPhone 5. Many attribute it to Tim Cook’s mastery of Apple’s supply chain. An article I read in the Huffington Post, highlighted the difference between Jobs’ revolution angle versus Cook’s evolution angle. Cook focused more on the product launch and its release as opposed to Jobs’ meticulous attention to the product itself. Cook has proven that focusing on the often burdensome task of Supply chain can in turn make or break a product’s reception and release, the company’s earnings and the company itself.
Cook’s attention to the supply chain aspect has sped up the global launch of the iPhone 5. His methods have prompted Wall Street to raise price targets for Apple stock due to economic optimism following the launch. Under Cook’s “production vision”, the iPhone 5 will be in 100 countries by the end of the year, 30 more than the iPhone 4S in a similar period. Cook introduced a dividend to pay out part of the more than $100 billion cash stockpile, raised salaries for the low-paid Apple workforce and sped up product rollouts. Cook has also invited business partners (investors, analysts and executives) into the “lions den” so to speak, an action not previously entertained under Steve Jobs, to have a more hands on look at the work that Apple was doing now.
Cook’s attention and focus on the supply chain management aspect of Apple, has clearly shown lucrative results. While Steve Jobs may have made Apple revolutionize the industry by focusing on the user experience, Cook has proven that dealing with all production aspects can yield loyalty, optimism and productivity from investors, partners and consumers.
I wholeheartedly think that Steve Jobs was brilliant in his tactic to surround Apple’s products with a mystique prior to their launch and releases, as well as perfecting theproducts for end users and from the user expereience. However, Cook has proven that attention to supply chain is equally as important to the company as whole, and inviting partners into the process strengthens their loyalty to the company.
Where do you stand on this matter? Do you think Jobs’ approach is superior to Cook’s? Do you think Cook’s approach can be maintained and will keep working for the years to come? Should product release come before product user experience?