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Minimal supply chain impact from Steve Jobs resignation

The news of Steve Jobs stepping down from Apples coveted CEO post rocked media outlets around the world on Wednesday afternoon, but what kind of supply...

Freddie Pierce
|Aug 24|magazine7 min read

The news of Steve Jobs stepping down from Apple’s coveted CEO post rocked media outlets around the world on Wednesday afternoon, but what kind of supply chain impact can we expect from Jobs’ departure.

The answer: not much. Jobs was voted as a chairman for Apple, and his replacement, Tim Cook, has held the CEO title on separate occasions while Jobs was recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery in 2004 and a liver transplant in 2009.

It’s certainly possible Jobs could return to his post in the near or distant future, but the company is in excellent hands from a supply chain point of view. Cook is a world-renowned supply chain expert who is credited with streamlining Apple’s supply chain, helping create the most powerful supply chain in the world.  

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Adding to Cook’s legacy, Kevin Langdon, CEO of Crywolf, an Apple Specialist reseller firm, said that Apple’s inventory on hand time went from weeks to as little as 16 hours once Cook arrived.

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According to a profile on one popular supply chain blog, “Cook helped perfect inventory management to the point that Apple, which regularly launches big new products, has few of the older ones left at the end of each cycle. It helps the company avoid the trap of having to significantly discount older products.”

Cook’s supply chain strategies have revolved around reducing inventory levels to dramatically increase margins. He’s been able to accomplish this by pulling Apple out of the manufacturing business, with the company instead choosing to invest its seemingly endless capital on manufacturing partners, who in turn give Apple exclusive deals for the best electronic components.

This could be construed as a heartless strategy, one that’s helping drive others out of business. You can’t argue with the results, however, as Cook has shown the ability time and time again to be one step ahead of Apple’s competitors in the supply chain world.

That ability should keep Apple’s supply chain at the top, ahead of its growing list of technology competitors.