How important is your supply chain? Recent examples show it can literally be the difference between life and death for a company. Efficient supply chain management can catapult a firm to spectacular profitability, or drive a competitor out of business.
One point that came out about Apple Corp. in the aftermath of Steve Job’s death was the extent to which the company has used control of critical components and their sources of supply to give itself an advantage in the marketplace. The New York Times said it was “clear that Apple’s management of its supply chain had become a ‘strategic weapon.’ ”
The Gartner Group has ranked Apple as the world’s number one supply chain for the last four years. Apple uses their clout and cash to lock up production, and relies on hour-by-hour feedback from their network of company-owned retail stores to gauge consumer demand, constantly monitoring each step in the process from production to sale.
On the other hand, and the other coast, discount retailer Syms, owner of Filene’s Basement, announced it will liquidate its stores. CEO Marcy Syms cited stepped-up competition from department stores and "a decline in buying opportunities as brand name labels have reduced overruns by improving their supply chain management." The company plans to cease operations in January.
Which model fits you? Get out of the basement, and take a bite of the apple.