Apple Inc. products

Apple Inc. products.

Apple Inc. products have capture share of the heart and mind of most consumers. There is word that people who hate Mac have not really had a moment of using their products to be able to discredit it. For example, when compared to Sony which has had a strategy of high price high end quality, Apple Inc can offer a very high end quality at a considerable cheaper price. The flow of the audit report of Apple Inc. The Baldrige Criteria for performance is an assessment plan applicable to firms on their strategic goals as they endeavour to delivery customer requirements in a competitive manner.
This criteria helps organizations like Apple Inc. to improve there product and service deliveries under the best business environment and industry practice. The criteria allow organizations to align their resources in a certain manner that will not only make economic sense but lead to their long time sustainability. The Baldrige Criteria for performance is used to assess the organizational operations then a scoring system is invoked at the end. Finally recommendations for improvement are passed with note of issue, what need to be done, time frame and responsibility. (Baldrige National Quality Program 1-57).
1. 0 Leadership

The current evaluation of Apple Inc. leadership is excellent. They have good vision of the organizations values and performance targets while focusing on their product consumers and suppliers. The consumers have been empowered to choose the products they prefer and when to seal purchase deals without coercion. The products are highly innovative and diversified. The work force and customer have a wonderful learning experience as they live alongside the firm’s goals. Apple Inc. has a good approach of addressing the public and the stakeholders contributions.
1. 1 Organizational Leadership
Apple Inc. set organizational values by focus group meeting and deliberations on the next stages of development. The values are communicated to the various workforce teams and individuals with clear definitions of the performance expectations such as application and design, quality and quantity of product. Apple Inc. follows up by deploying the organizational values by use of a master action plan. The deployment is done alongside the organizational structure with adequate consultation on step by step process of execution.
The employees receive the communications by regular meeting, trainings and other media such as e-mails and e-circulars that are available on their e-books. (Baldrige National Quality Program 2) Senior leaders at Apple Inc. establish and reinforce a conducive working environment by approach of empowering the staff to take part in the fun of innovation so that they can be proud of the end product that satisfies the customers. Through focus group, they encourage the staff to give their opinion that bolsters a learning environment and supportive ideas.
Senior leaders at Apple Inc set directions and future opportunities by scanning the current market situation and carrying out consumer preference and expectation research and survey. The feedback is used to shape the new opportunities for Apple Inc. (Baldrige National Quality Program 2) Senior leadership review the Apple Inc performance and capabilities by learning from the quarterly and annual financial reports to be informed of the viability, competitive status and opportunities in the firm. The outcomes of the Apple Inc. financial report are compared to the quarterly set target and these are changed in accordance with new firm needs.
The key performance measures are positive increase in net revenues, net product sales, and reduced customer complains, and market dominance index and surveys. (Baldrige National Quality Program 2)
The Apple Inc. management translates the latest performance reviews into priorities by deploying strategies that act as either corrective actions for failures or innovative actions where there are performance review gaps. The key recent review findings at Apple Inc. are an increase in net revenue. This has a priority for improvement as the technology market is not yet saturated.
The product review findings for Apple Inc. show that many customers are happy with the iPhone applications and utilities as well as the low costs of down loads. This has opportunities for improvement by doubling the current number of available downloads in multiple world languages so that more revenue can be realized. (Baldrige National Quality Program 2) The increase in revenue is deployed by rolling out more unit products and diversifying the markets geographically to reap economies of scale. The opportunites for innovation are being deployed by new product development and active software and hardware research.
Through active media advertisement and campaigns, the new opportunities are communicated to the suppliers and customers for a successful organizational strategic alignment. (Baldrige National Quality Program 2) The senior leaders at Apple Inc. use the general organizational review and workforce findings to prioritize and align input resources such as qualified workforce, financing suppliers and marketing. This is translated at all levels of the organizations. (Baldrige National Quality Program 2)
1. 2 Pubic Responsibility and Citizenship
Apple Inc.responds to public concerns and adheres to good practices by embracing recycling and conservation principles that promote good citizenship. Apple Inc. is conscious of the fact that some of their hardware products and operations have the potential of causing pollution in the environment. This is likely to have a negative impact on the society. As part of their wider corporate social responsibility, they encourage recycling of product parts to avoid pollution and save on production material costs. They are also adhering to legislation about waves and noise pollution standards so that the health and safety of the all stake holders can be upheld. (Baldrige National Quality Program 3)
Apple Inc. is an ardent practitioner of the OSHA regulations that ensure the workforce’s welfare is responsibly cared for. Apple Inc. adheres to Employee Equal Opportunities principles. Apple Inc. has a supplier code of conduct. Apple Inc. follows the ADA regulations that prescribe what employees need to do to avoid a potential discrimination suit. Above all Apple Inc. has maximum respect for the US Title VII and actions the law sufficiently. Apple is aware of potential risks associated with non conformance to operations regulations, product health and safety and services under deliveries.
These include but are not limited to legal suits, fines, plant closures, loss of market and general public goodwill. (Baldrige National Quality Program 3) Apple Inc. carries out internal and second party surveys to gather public concern information and opinion on existing products, services and operations. This feedback is used for future research and development in a proactive approach. Apple Inc. is a signatory of ethical business initiatives which is also reflected in the mission, and core values in relations to all the stakeholders. (Baldrige National Quality Program 3) Apple Inc.
workforce participates in many corporate social responsibility initiatives. The CSR audits for Apple Inc. are carried out by Calvert Social Index. The Apple Inc. areas for involvement and concentration in the CSR are human rights, product safety, workforce relations management, environmental matters, society relations and hazardous product assessments. Current success and results of Apple Inc. Leadership operations and strategic management is evident in their consistent rise in revenues, increase sales, achievement in regulation standards and general consumer satisfaction with their products and services. (Baldrige National Quality Program 3) Also read Apple corporate governance issues
2. 0 Strategic planning
Current Apple Inc. performance in strategic planning is good to excellent. Apple Inc. has a sound and sustainable strategic planning process which is coordinated from objectives, actions and responsibility assigned to the personnel. The strategy execution is also very systematic and well monitored.
2. 1 Strategy Development
The Apple Inc. organizational development strategy is keen on good performance and maintaining positive market leadership. The process is planned from an approach of the customer needs captured via research and surveys to product design and development then rolled out.
The customers are the key participants in the needed product survey; the Apple Inc. professionals are the key participants in the product design and development while the marketing team is the key participants in the role out phase. (Baldrige National Quality Program 4) The Apple Inc. customer needs such as iPhone are generated from proactive surveys while the expectations such as ability to integrate product with other software are generated from product / service assessments. (Baldrige National Quality Program 4)
The Apple Inc competitive environment and technology capabilities are considered by scanning the existing market using a SWOT analysis. The competitive environment is also scanned by use of the Porters Five forces model. The Apple Inc financial, societal and potential risks are scanned from the Stocks exchange market, which is NASDAQ where apple trades as APPL: NASDAQ and from the quarterly and annual financial reports. The Apple Inc. human resources and capability needs are scanned from internal appraisal by the HRM and the data gathered is analyzed individually or team wise where applicable. The Apple Inc.
operational capabilities and needs plus the potentials are scanned by internal operations audits to gather data departmentally, individually, regionally or organizational wide. The Apple Inc. suppliers and partners’ needs and potentials are assessed by supplier audits alongside the supplier code of conduct. (Baldrige National Quality Program 4)
Apple Inc. has various key strategic objectives such as customization of iPhones to accommodate more applications within the next 1 year. The options available are collaboration with other key industry players for compatibility efforts or in-house research and development. Read about Apple internal growth
The latter option would guarantee the best performance. Apple Inc. has got objectives of understanding the current iPhone market deeper so that they can maintain the leading market share. The option they have is to collaborate deeper with the customers on their needs and expectations. Apple Inc. has the objective of rapidly responding to the new customer requirements. The option they adopt lean management strategies from research to product roll out. (Baldrige National Quality Program 4) Apple Inc. has the objective priority of leveraging their stock market assets at NASAQ to remain most attractive and profitable.
The option they have is to keep high standards of products and services so that the investor confidence and general publicity remains positive including in the media. The other option they have is to have excellent enterprise management strategies. Finally, Apple Inc. has the objective of being the leading firm in Information technology by means and ends. The option they have is to lead in innovation. (Baldrige National Quality Program 4)
2. 2 Strategy Deployment
Apple Inc. has an elaborate strategy deployment process.
They have a master deployment plan that is tied to specific performance measures in a forecasted approach. The development of the action plan starts with communication from the organization leadership though meeting, e-mails and other circular modes. At these meeting the strategic objectives are highlighted for priority purposes on resources. Baldrige National Quality Program 4) Apple Inc. has short term market actions of keeping leadership of share of the mind to keep the sales high. The market changes will also include expansion of geographical scope and penetration with products by aggressive marketing. Apple Inc.
has long term product action plans of increasing the number of applications and downloads that customers can access with the existing products. The key change here will be advanced and innovative software application. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5) Apple Inc. key workforce requirements are re-training in technical know-how such as development in software applications and increase in workforce capacity to embrace expansion for market opportunities arising from economies of scale. Apple Inc. allocates resources such as advance payments to supplier based on operations priority and on scarcity of the resources.
The KPIs used by Apple Inc. to evaluate progress following action plan are timeliness, cost levels, quality standards and customer and supplier feedbacks. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5) Apple Inc. communicates and implements their strategic goals and objectives from top to bottom of the workforce. The senior management passes the action plan to the lower management then to lower staff as they monitor the performance. The performance measure indicators are deployed by involving the actual task executioners so that they own the process and become responsible during the outcomes.
Some of the performance and business measure that Apple Inc. communicates are new product development, new software creation, market diversification and new operations technology. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5) Apple Inc. has a two to five years financial projection of financial net revenue of $ 45-65 billion. The customer base with iPhone is projected to between 100 million to 300 million with download of software capacity at 50%. Additionally Apple Inc. is targeting to maintain market leadership in computer and applications technology over the next five years. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5)
As compared to the Apple competitor, these projections are realistic. Sony is one of the competitors and is sticking with the old strategy of high end product at high prices. Therefore, is Apple has the same objective of high end product at premium cost; they will likely win the customer meet their revenue projections. Google Android and Windows are keen on protecting their applications software 100% from their competitors. In the benchmark contrary, Apple Inc. is allowing some level of collaboration so that their products can become more users friendly.
Therefore, the issue of patenting as a basis of comparison will enable Apple Inc. to penetrate more in the customer areas and give the organization economies of scale. Current successes of the Apple Inc. progress in strategic deployment are evident in their successful and smooth operations with collaboration with the stake holders where appropriate. Overall the deployment strategies are timely, cost effective, and objective and action oriented. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5)
3. 0 Customer and market focus
The current Apple Inc. customer and market focus is good to excellent. Apple Inc.
is capable of determining qualitative requirements by use of research and surveys and quantitative requirements by use of sales forecast. Apple Inc. is capable of determining the customer expectations and preferences by use of the CRM feedbacks. Apple Inc. is capable of determining the markets buy demand and utility surveys. Apple Inc. has managed to build good customer relationship starting with their brand proposition to fulfilment of the customer need and expectation. The customers have reciprocated with their loyalty to the products and services. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5)
3. 1 Customer and Market knowledge
Apple Inc. determines short and long term requirements of the customer and market knowledge by demand forecasts. The short term requirements are specifically capture by customer usages, accounts and complain data. The long term requirements are specifically captured from the trends. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5) Apple Inc. determines the customer and market groups by carrying out satisfaction surveys. From these surveys, Apple Inc. segments the population needs, targets their specific requirements and positions the products and services.
Apple Inc. considers the customers of competitors as a great source of information on how products and services can be positioned so that these customers can switch their loyalty to Apple Inc. Apple Inc. considers that customers of the competitors’ preferences are the next step determinants of new or existing product development. (Baldrige National Quality Program 6) Apple Inc. listens to the voice of the customer through surveys, feedbacks and informal complaints to determine requirements and next steps on purchase objectives for existing, past and future customers.
This determination approach will differ for groups based on their demographics such as education level, gender and technology cultures. Apple Inc. determines major products and services and their value to the customer by evaluating factors like multiple usage , functionality and architectural designs so that they can plan on future resources such as workforce technical capabilities, manufacturing materials and marketing resources. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5) Apple Inc. uses customer information to improve on the current products offering and design. Apple Inc. uses customer retention information to gauge the customer loyalty. Apple Inc. uses customer information on won or lost analysis as opportunities for strategic management improvement. Apple Inc uses customer complaints information for continuous improvement. Apple Inc. keeps listening and learning current business trends and opportunities by benchmarking quarterly benchmarking with other industry players. (Baldrige National Quality Program 6)
3. 2 Customer Satisfaction and Relationships
Apple Inc. has a strategy for satisfying the current customers while developing new approaches for future customers’ opportunities.
Apple Inc. is able to determine how customers would like to access business product by review of their feedback and by timely actions to their complaints. Apple Inc. has a web postal where customer can communicate their satisfactions or complaints. Apple Inc. records customer contacts on a willing basis that can be used in case of responses on actions required or services desired. Apple Inc. has an efficient complains management process that records the issue, forwards the issue to the relevant Customer relations personnel and gives a timely feedback within a certain timeframe based on the customer concern.
These complaints are aggregated through a CRM process and data is analysed weekly and monthly for trends and next cause of action. Apple Inc. has managed to build good relationship with the customers by prompt response to their complaints, focus on their suggestions for product and service applications and buy satisfying their expectations. This in turn has earned Apple Inc. more positive customer referrals following the positive experience with products and services. Apple Inc. is in touch with the customer access and business needs by use of technology trends and survey of the competitors strategies.
(Baldrige National Quality Program 6) Apple Inc. uses a customer satisfaction index to determine levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The customer satisfaction survey index has provisions where customers suggest the kind of product or service applications that they would like to be developed on either the existing product or as a new product. This forms the basis for future business potential or purchase referrals. The customer satisfaction survey index is designed per product or service groups for attention to detail requirement. Apple Inc.
has a robust enterprise management chain that includes points of sale data, customer details, CRM data base, product and services categories that are used to follow up in cases of urgent feedback. Apple Inc. considers the number of complains they receive per 10,000 customers or per set period then compares these data with that of the other competitors as a benchmark. This information is also used for next action plans. Apple Inc. keeps a proactive survey and research approach to keep in trend current and future business needs. (Baldrige National Quality Program 5) Current success results of Apple Inc.
on customer focus and market focus is evident in their customer loyalty numbers, revenue earned, product sold and from comments made in various customer blogs.
4. 0 Information and analysis
Current Apple Inc. focus on information and analysis is good to excellent. Apple Inc. has a range of performance information that is used to make strategic plans for future business prospects. 4. 1 Measurement of Organizational Performance Apple Inc. uses information gathered from past performance for future improvement. The performance measures and indicators are used financial report.
These are used in deciding aspect like expenditures, pricing, promotions and remunerations. Therefore, a strong financial performance report such as increase in net revenue has implications that the various Apple Inc. business components can be expanded. The other component of performance is the total product sales. This performance measure is used to forecast demand and schedule production of products and services. Customer complaints and satisfaction performance information is used in daily product development and service delivery improvement. (Baldrige National Quality Program 7)
Apple Inc. uses the selected data and KPI to prioritize resources and to redesign processes for performance excellence. The effective use of the KPI is monitored by audits and appraisals at Apple Inc. The data and information reliability at Apple Inc. is done by comparison and benchmarking with other industry players or past experience. The financial performance data at Apple Inc. is further analyzed to various performance ratios to determine feasibility of costs and budgeted expenditures. Apple Inc.
uses the comparison data to plan for projects and for future planning. Apple Inc. compares their performance measurement with current industry trends by scanning the players’ annual reports and surveying their strategic operations. (Baldrige National Quality Program 9) 4. 2 Analysis of organizational Performance Apple Inc. performs analysis to help senior executives overall review for strategic management. The analysis are performed by competitive trends scanning, competitive products analysis and market forces model review. Apple Inc.
surveys opportunity for products, possibility of other competitors integrating in to the product port folio, entry barriers, exit barriers, potential of buyers, potential of sellers and price fluctuation over a study period. This approach helps the executive to plan for the commercial future of the organization. Apple Inc. analyzes HRM statistics including demographics, education levels, market rate benefits and compensations, retention at work and other metrics that on aggregate will enable the senior executives to plan for the human resource future. A similar analysis at Apple Inc.
is done for the customers. These analyses have benchmarks and targets that are use to interpret the overall health of the organization including the outcome and objectives. (Baldrige National Quality Program 9) At Apple Inc. , the results for the organizational level analysis are tied to the teams, groups and individual key performance indicators to be used for functional objectives and decision making. Additionally, these results that have been translated to new KPI are tied to a time frame and assigned specific responsibility of reporting the progress.
Thus the analysis helps the normal operations by availing data to be used to justify strategic management approach and operational alignment. The results of Apple Inc. organizational information and analysis are evident in their ability to manage various product portfolios under smooth operations process. (Baldrige National Quality Program 9)
5. 0 Human resource focus
Current Apple Inc. Human Resource Focus is good to excellent and enables the employees to produce to their best potential while keeping in line with the firm’s objectives. Apple Inc.
is striving to make the working environment conducive to all for sustainability, better workforce retention and high productivity.
5. 1 Work Systems
Apple Inc. has work systems that are designed around customer product and service needs. Apple Inc. has various departments of operations and staffs are organized as teams, group, regions or as focus teams to promote collaboration. The Apple Inc. work system is coordinated by information technology as one of the major avenues of communication, direction and flexibility. The information technology application at Apple Inc. helps the workforce to keep in touch with business needs and trends. (Baldrige National Quality Program 10)
The Apple Inc. management and supervision encourage and motivate the workforce by empowering the employees to exhibit their technological now how towards the customer product and service solutions. The management also uses reward systems to reinforce good practices emanating from the work force. The management and supervision recommends workforce to attend trainings as a formal career objective for learning. Workforces at Apple Inc. have a formal performance management system that is based on individual KPIs and deliverable targets to support high performance.
Workforces who attain the set objectives are rewarded by either promotions, monetary rewards, or by stock options. (Baldrige National Quality Program 10) Apple Inc. management and supervision has a good strategy for communication to staff to foster cooperation. There are departmental communications that come directly from the line management to teams, groups or focus groups. Similarly, there are individual communication strategies such as e-mails that come in handy when staffs are located at distant places. Additionally staffs attend training and meeting together so that they can share knowledge.
Effective communication is assured by assessment of the feedback from the communication target. (Baldrige National Quality Program 10) Apple Inc. carries out keen interview, recruitment and employment of persons who meet the task criteria of qualification. The recruitment starts from advertisement, short listing for interview, 1st actual interview, short listing for 2nd interview, then final interview for selection of the best candidate for job placement. The key performance requirements are set by the product or service specifications and timeliness of delivery on an Equal Employment Opportunity basis.
The diversity of the community is taken care of by affirmative action. Fair work force practices such as non discrimination follow the ADA regulation and the Title VII. The Health and Safety practices follow the OSHA regulations. Fair work force practices at Apple Inc. also follow CSR principles. (Baldrige National Quality Program 10)
5. 2 Employee Education, Training and Development
Apple Inc. has an active education and training systems that is geared towards meeting the organization objectives, creating a learning environment and improving the employee’s efficiency.
Apple Inc. education and training for short term needs are deployed whenever there are recommendations on urgent corrective actions such as quality complaints and application architecture. Long term educational needs are based on internal continuous training or external training that is sponsored by Apple Inc. for career progression. (Baldrige National Quality Program 11) Apple Inc. has designed the organizational training alongside upcoming technology. The training contents are updated regularly to keep in trend with industry needs.
Workforce outcome on periodic staff appraisal and evaluations are also used to identify the training needs for performance improvement. Apple Inc. taps the educational knowledge and skills from the employees to allocate challenging task in customer expectations and designs. (Baldrige National Quality Program 11) Apple Inc. has formal deliveries of workforce training that are done from internal sources or by inviting external sources. The evaluations for the trainings are done by final examinations at the end of the training sessions. Apple Inc. has informal learning that takes place in the form of team demonstrations, coaching and mentoring.
Informal learning is evaluated when staffs act in the capacity of the actual jobs holders during short period such as annual leaves. (Baldrige National Quality Program 11) Apple Inc. has good approach of addressing training requirements. For diversity, they encourage collaboration with other organizations where appropriate. For management and development, Apple Inc. encourages professional institutions such as Corporate Research Centre to take lead. New employee at Apple Inc. are trained initially by induction approach then later formally trained on the product or service operations. In the health and safety aspect, Apple Inc. engages key health and safety organizations such as OSHA to come and provide internal training. (Baldrige National Quality Program 11)
Apple Inc. trains staff on how to excel at work to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, timeliness and high quality standards. The Apple Inc. employees are trained on application of metrics such as output, quality, and deadlines by objective hands one experience. The Apple Inc. employee will then learn how to maintain high performance, exceed expectations, deploy their skill in challenging tasks, and keep high performance, delivery high quality and benchmark with other industry players.
Apple Inc. reinforces knowledge by evaluation of the training task. This takes the form of examination and observation as the staffs bring out what they have learnt. (Baldrige National Quality Program 12)
5. 3 Employee Well-Being and Satisfaction
Apple Inc. has the general employee welfare at heart. The work environment is kept safe and accident free in terms of ergonomics. The Apple Inc. employees take part in health and safety audits so that they can be part of identification of safety concerns. The Apple Inc. performance conforms to the Occupational Safety and Health Association regulations.
Workers have varied environmental experience as far as health and safety is concerned such as hardware and software locations. Hardware environmental factors of concern are physical pollutions and accidents. Software environmental concerns are noise, waves, light and irradiation pollution. (Baldrige National Quality Program 12) Apple Inc. support work climate by provision of health insurance benefits and work place accidents compensation schemes. These policies are tailored to the different needs of the employees’ bases on ranks and risk analysis.
Thus, the more an employee is exposed to risks, the more the workplace accidents compensation insurance. The work climate support the diverse work force by prescribing the kind of protective gear the staffs wear based on the vulnerability and susceptibility to risks. (Baldrige National Quality Program 12) Apple Inc. determines factors what affect the employee welfare and motivation by formal and informal assessments. Formal methods deployed by Apple Inc. evaluating the surveys and appraisal. Informal methods deployed are evaluation of output levels, absenteeism, attrition levels and level of industrial welfare union engagement.
These methods of observations are tailored to meet diversity need by encouraging freedom of expression when workers have concerns, setting up strategic systems that minimize grievance incidents, good communication at various categories and fairness in using the staff conduct code for staff discipline. Factors like high turnover, increased absenteeism, lowered productivity and high grievances indicate that the workers are not motivated or satisfied with the work environment and this is calling for Apple Inc. senior management to intervene with appropriate actions. (Baldrige National Quality Program 12)

Apple Inc. products

The Acquisition of Snapple by Quaker Oats

The Acquisition of Snapple by Quaker Oats.
In an effort to raise the company’s growth rate and avoid a takeover. Quaker Oats, acquired Snapple beverage corporation for $1,7 billion,a price considered by many to be valued a billion too much. Snapple captured a significant loyal following by being an innovator in the ready-to-drink tea. The RTD tea segment of the beverage market was a quick developing area with promising returns ,that’s why it attracted giants like coca cola and Pepsico, who entered the market through joint ventures with popular tea brands.
Quaker Oats has known success in the past in the beverage market with the widely popular Gatorade drink and thought it could do the same with Snapple. So in order to repeat the Gatorade success story Quaker officially acquired Snapple on December 6 of 1994. The c. e. o of quaker ,William Smithburg overcome with hubris resulting from his previous success overpaid for the company an estimate of a billion dollar premium despite warnings from Wall Street. By the time Quacker aquired Snapple the RTD tea industry was maturing and the competition was rising because of the new independent brands that entered the market.
Quacker believed that with its financial resources and experience, it could expand the Snapple brand and through the acquisition establish itself as a leading beverage producer competing with the likes of coca cola and pepsico. Quaker acquired the company by divesting profitable but slow growing pet food and candy businesses. Quaker thought it could create a Snapple/Gatorade combination and planned to exploit the synergies resulting from such combination while improving the efficiency of operations.

They wanted to achieve economies of scale by unifying the manufacturing and distribution of Snapple and Gatorade. What quacker failed to realize is what realy made the success of Snapple. The company ,didn’t operate like most beverage producers. Instead of having a company owned plant that handled the manufacturing,Snapple awarded co-pack contracts to independent manufactures and handled the distribution using independent distributors who were allowed to carry different brands of beverages, but had direct access to the stores, restaurants and vending machines in their region.
Due to distribution,structure problems and unrealistic optimism about the future of Snapple, quacker had a hard time integrating its new division and had yet to beneficiate from the synergies and economies of scale projected. During the first year as a part of quacker oats ,the Snapple division did not break even and lost an estimated $75 million in1995 sparking the resignation of the president and c. o. o who was in charge of the Snapple unit.
The loss in revenue was mainly driven by weaker-than-expected sales and an estimated $40 million dollars to buy back the contracts from the co-packers and other suppliers. During 1996, Snapple slipped to the second place in the ice tea market and despite positive projections by quacker. The unit failed to achieve any sales gain and sow it sales decline by 20%, resulting in operating losses exceeding the $120 million for that year. By 1997 snapple’s market share slipped to the 3rd place behind lipton and nestea.
The company was behind even in production methods and processes. On March 28, 1997 Quacker decided to take a $1. 4 billion write-off and sold the company it purchased 29 months before for $300 million. All this led to a loss in performance for Quacker oatas a company resulting in a takeover by Pepsico in December 2000 in a $13. 7 billion all stock bid. The mismatch of big corporate culture with the one of small entrepreneurial firms didn’t work and what quacker was trying to avoid by purchasing Snapple happened .

The Acquisition of Snapple by Quaker Oats

Marketing in Apple Inc

Marketing in Apple Inc.
Apple Inc. has had tremendous success in the domestic and international market. Its marketing strategies, superior products, imaginations and ability to develop ideas has transformed the markets in the United States and Europe. The great and exceptional designs and style of their products combined with great and innovative marketing strategies has kept Apple Inc. ahead of its competitors.

There is no doubt that the personal computer industry in the world markets is very competitive but Apple Inc.brands have been able to remain competitive in the domestic and international markets. Although the main reason for success of Apple Inc. personal computer and cellular brand has been their main focus on emotions and personality, their superior domestic and international marketing strategies have played an important role. There are however many environmental factors that have dictated the marketing strategies adopted by Apple Inc. According to Sliwinska et al (2008), Apple Inc. has succeeded in revolutionizing personal computer markets in America and Europe.

The reputation of Apple Inc. among its consumers around the world is not in doubt, thanks to its superior products and marketing strategies. The consumers especially in the United States are very loyal to Apple Inc. brand names forming an excellent consumer base. In terms or repurchase and product loyalty, Apple Inc. is way ahead of its competitors in the personal computer industries in the United States and Europe. Although the loyalty of the consumers to Apple Inc. products has been considered by analysts to be unusual, the company has created it.
The same trend has been observed in the online iTunes Music Stores run by the company which has evolved to the 3rd largest music shop in the world. The rate at which the iPod accessories markets are expanding around the world is also substantial. The launching of Apple iPhone has also shaken the mobile phone market threatening the dominance of Nokia and Motorola in the market. One of the most important strategies adopted by Apple Inc. to expand and retain its domestic and international markets has been technology and invasion.
Their new state of the art products, iPhone has been designed elegantly adopting the latest technology in information technology and design which has gained it a significant command in the cellular market. Its smart phone capabilities combined with easy to use graphical interface on a multi touch displays makes it a sophisticated communication device of the 21st century. Although the device was introduced at a high price of up to 599 dollars, it was an anticipated device of the decade and attracted a lot of customers. The great sales on the device has been due to Apple Inc.
’s main target clientele of people aged thirty years and below who are considered more technologically sophisticated. However, Apple Inc. products have had a good reception across the population especially among the early technology receptors such as professionals, scientist and those in entertainment and communication technology industry. The main marketing strategy problem that faces Apple Inc. is therefore expanding their markets beyond the technology loving young generating to maintain substantive growth in its domestic and international markets.
This is because the mainstream users are able to maintain the success although the role of the early adopters in the introduction of the product in the market is very important (Sliwinska et al, 2008). There is no doubt that Apple Inc. injects a lot of capital in developing state of the art products. Consequently, the company adopts skimming strategies to increase their profits and sacrifice high sale to reimburse their capital investment. This strategy is however applicable in products that are less sensitive to prices because of the value of the product or the targeted users and is only used for a short period of time.
Other than attracting health profits margins, Apple Inc. has used skimming strategies to increase its command of the domestic and international markets. This is because the high prices despite low volumes of sale protect the privacy of the products. For this reason, development of pirated versions of Apple Inc. products is relatively slow securing the brand name. Consequently, due to the snobbism associated with Apple Inc. products, individuals who want to be part of the Apple family have eventually bought the products despite the high prices.
Apple Inc. skimming strategies is always in two levels. The prices of products have been observed to decrease progressively with time especially when launching the next generation version. In the second level of the strategy, the next level of generation products are launched at a lower price compared to their predecessor. It is also important to note that no one can singly gain a company domestic and international market share. Other marketing strategies are therefore necessary (Sliwinska et al, 2008). The Apple Inc.
has also employed versioning also known as pricing discrimination to expand its market share in the world while maintaining the snobbism of its brand names. This is a strategy in which a company charges the consumers of the same product different prices. The company ensures that the consumers pay the maximum they are willing to pay for the particular product. However, it is important to note that pricing discrimination is not applicable in all situations. It is only applicable when the product market is in the short term, market segmentation – either directly or indirectly – is possible and arbitrage of products at varying prices is possible.
These conditions are fulfilled in the contests of Apple Inc. products which together with the nature of the market act as an incentive to pricing discrimination. Apple Inc. sells its products at the prices to the intended customers at a price they are willing and able to buy. At first, they sell at higher prices to increase their profit margins but later drop their prices significantly to increase volume and consumer base. These changes in price may involve a change of up to 200 dollars within two months.
Moreover, the company is also Apple to provide iPod for example for the wealthy and less wealthy at different prices (Sliwinska et al, 2008). In conclusion, Apple Inc. command in personal computers and cellular market is not in doubt. The company has been able to maintain and expand the market of its products in the domestic and international markets especially in Europe while maintaining the snobbism associated with its products. This has been due to its creativity and innovativeness in their designs and marketing strategies.
One of the most important marketing strategies adopted by Apple Inc. has been in the pricing which has enabled it maintain the command in the market. However, these strategies have not been without challenges such as customers’ complains which the company has been able to respond to effectively. Reference Sliwinska, D. , Ranasinghe, J. & Kardava, I. (2008). Apple’s Pricing Strategy, retrieved on August 13th 2010 from http://christophe. benavent. free. fr/IMG/pdf/AINI_2008_Apple_s_Pricing_Strategy. pdf.

Marketing in Apple Inc

Apple bee paper

Apple bee paper.
Case study proposal
1.      Case Study Proposal
This Case Study will be on Applebee’s International experience with management information systems to illustrate the importance of information systems for business operations, growth and prosperity. This is especially true when we are in the Information Age today, and enterprises are increasingly becoming global and borderless, spreading around the world. This requires that an accurate, reliable and timely information system to deal with the challenges posed by globalization and the “global village” phenomenon.

This research study will serve to illustrate how companies can utilize management information systems for strategic purposes as well as operational management. It will help to broaden our understanding of how operations management can contribute to an integrated business strategy, as well as the growing importance of timely and accurate information flows which are reliable all the time, and it’s impact on business practices and expansion in today’s globalized world, where competition is increasingly intense due to global competition, and competitive/strategic advantage is now an essential ingredient for corporate success, not merely a tool for greater profits.
Case study proposal
2.      Background Information
Applebee’s International. Inc, is a multinational food service corporation headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. It develops franchises and operates casual dining restaurants in 49 states and 14 international countries under the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar brand. Each Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar is designed as an attractive, friendly, neighborhood establishment featuring reasonably priced, high-quality food and beverage items, table service and a comfortable atmosphere appealing to all ages and people. Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar is the largest casual dining concept in America, both in terms of number of restaurants and market share. As of l)etc. 25, 2005, there were 1 .804 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants., of which I ,3 18 were operated by franchisees and 486 were operated by the company. ( www.Applebees.com)
2.1.   Financials
According to a recent analysis by Lockyer (2005), Applebee’s International Inc. reported a 1.3-percent increase in system-wide same-store sales for the four weeks ended Aug. 21, with that monthly result suppressed by a dip at the company’s restaurants for the fifth time in the past six months. Applebee’s also reduced its third-quarter and full-year earnings outlooks.
Same-store sales rose 2.2 percent at franchisee restaurants but fell 1.5 percent at corporate units, versus year-earlier levels. Applebee’s, which is operator or franchisor of 1,741 casual-dining restaurants, said guest traffic fell between 4 percent and 4.5 percent at its corporate units, which comprise about one-fourth of the chain. Applebee’s noted continued weakness in its Midwest and New England markets, as have other chains, such as PF. Chang’s China Bistro and Outback Steakhouse.
For the first eight weeks of Applebee’s third quarter, through Aug. 21, system wide same-store sales increased 1.4 percent, reflecting a 2.2-percent gain at franchised units and a 0.9-percent drop at corporate restaurants. Applebee’s said that “based on the current consumer environment” it anticipates same-store sales for the rest of the year to go down as much as 3 percent or rise only up to 1 percent at its restaurants, while franchisees see same-store sales staying flat or growing by up to 3 percent.
Applebee’s also reduced its third-quarter earnings-per-share forecast to a range of 32 cents to 35 cents, from a prior forecast of 37 cents to 39 cents. It also lowered its full-year earnings-per-share guidance to a range of $1.33 to $1.40 from a range of $1.44 to $1.47.
The latest financial reports by Applebee’s International, Inc. recorded comparable sales for the four-week period ended January 22, 2006. System-wide domestic comparable sales increased 6.3 percent for the January period, and comparable sales for domestic franchise restaurants increased 6.7 percent. Comparable sales for company restaurants increased 5.3 percent, reflecting an increase in guest traffic of approximately 1.0 percent, combined with a higher average check. System-wide comparable sales in the prior year were negatively impacted by approximately 2.0 percent due to severe winter weather.
2.2.   Market Strategy
According to Rosenfeld (2000), Applebee’s formula for growth, which it calls “conscious cannibalization”, is to flood a territory with stores in order to gain brand recognition and market dominance, rather that following the conventional wisdom of carefully spacing out restaurants so that the sales of one doesn’t eats into the sales of another. Rosenfeld documents how back in 1988, when Applebee’s franchisees Abe Gustin and John Hamra bought the chain from W.R Grace and Co, with the number of stores numbering 54. As of 2000, Applebee’s has nearly 1,200 restaurants (and nearly 1,700 today), with more than 240 million visitors passing through the doors of an Applebee’s in a single year (1990), pushing system wide revenues over the 2 million mark.
Applebee’s challenge conventional market wisdom in other ways, such as designing and building smaller spaces for its restaurants, which were cheaper and faster to build, as well as easier to fill on slow moving days, in contrast to the mainstream strategy of building bigger and bigger restaurants to handle fast growing crowds. The basic rationale behind this move, Rosenfeld writes, is that “Faster is better. Get to a neighborhood before the competition does. And keep things moving by providing customers with a convenient experience.”
Creating a great experience for customers is also central to Applebee’s strategy. Each Applebee’s is supposed to provide excellent service, and as Lloyd Hill, then president and CEO of Applebee’s say, “Our restaurants are about more than food, they’re about inclusiveness, value, comfort, trust, and relationships.”. Feedback, both orientated around and from the customer and employees, are also given high importance in Applebee’s strategy. Successful job applicants get developmental feedback from the moment they start work, in order to motivate and encourage them. Random customers are given a coupon that can be redeemed by calling a toll-free number and giving feedback on a series of service-related topics. The data collected helps the company to keep track of big-picture trends and to fix specific problems fast, by putting a live operator in touch on the line with a disgruntled or aggrieved customer, before connecting said customer to a customer representative or the manager of the restaurant, who is told by Hill to “do whatever it takes to regain a guest’s goodwill”. The philosophy behind this, as told by Hill, is that “When you please a guest in that way, that guest becomes more loyal than a guest who’s never had a problem.”
Gray (2004) wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding Applebee’s market strategy with regards to rural markets without a present operating restaurant. As USA’s ninth-largest restaurant chain, it’s basic strategy is to be “all things to all people”, with the Applebee menu offering all sort of food and cuisine ranging from Asian to Italian to Mexican to American and more. A reduced turn around time with regards to taking and delivering orders is also identified as a key point in Applebee strategy in targeting the time-pressed customer niche, and it is also the first restaurant ever to introduce meals approved by Weight Watchers meals, complete with comprehensive caloric information.
He further explores the expansion of Applebee’s into rural towns such as Hays, 300 miles from Denver and 300 miles from Kansas City in a region known as the middle of nowhere. He says that the biggest misperception about rural customers is that “they’re not interested in anything that can’t be bought at Wal-Mart or its restaurant equivalent”, and quotes a 21 year old single male on a Friday evening on the importance of full service, fancy meals and alcohol as saying that “If you want to take someone out on a date, you’re not going to take them to the Golden Corral,” an order-at-the- counter beef joint next door. And apparently this is what Applebee thinks too.
In Gray’s study, Applebee has opened 138 units in counties of 50,000 households or fewer, and estimates that at least 25% of its new restaurants are expected to open in such counties. This has huge potential, he notes, as the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 2,209 of the nation’s 3,141 counties have estimated populations of 50,000 households or less.
Such a strategy is attractive due to lower real-estate costs, which translates into fatter profit margins at these rural branches. Winning zoning approval for the construction of rural braches is also much easier in towns desperate for new business. But most importantly, Grey notes, the greatest virtue of such a strategy is that small markets such as that which these rural branches serve aren’t able to support two such restaurants (middle range eateries such as Applebee’s), so there is “no danger of Chili’s setting up shop across the street.”.
In 2002, the Restaurant Business (2002) reported that Applebee’s CEP Lloyd Hill told investors at the US Bancorp Piper Jaffray conference that “Applebee’s will undoubtedly acquire a second restaurant concept, but look for new ventures that play off the company’s core brand first.”. He then goes on to explains how Applebee’s generates enough cash from its causal dining business to mandate the growth of other business, with “brand extensions” being a high possibility. In particular the acquisition of a second restaurant was bandied around as being “a matter of time” by Hill, leaving little doubt that a second restaurant brand would be purchased, not created from scratch and then built up. However, Hill added that such an occurrence would not happen in the near future, as “we do not need a second concept to meet the chain’s growth targets in the next three to five years”.
3.      Information Technology
3.1.   Oscar
One of the first and most important implementation and application of Information Technology by Applebee’s was the 1996 introduction of OSCAR, or Operating Strategically Competitive Applebee’s Restaurants, a computerized management package designed to tie together Applebee’s proprietary point-of-sales systems with a full line of information-and-management packages for front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations. At that point of time, its proprietary point-of-sales systems were and still are a highly evolved version of the DOS-based POS system from Hospitality Solutions International Inc.
These integrated management packages includes modules to address sales forecasting, labor management, inventory control and food costing, according to Applebee’s then senior vice president of administration, Steven K. Lumpkin. OSCAR’s labor management program is expected to help reduce overtime costs by blocking or questioning early clock-ins, and make suggestions regarding more effective staffing patterns for handling peak traffic. A function that allows them to use a POS terminal to request shift changes, which will be presented to the manager when scheduling is done, will also be implemented. Procurement staff at the unit level will also be able to use OSCAR to order suppliers from major distributors 24 hours a day, similar to an early level e-procurement system. One of the more important and critical aspect of OSCAR is that it was designed to be scalable and extendable, with plenty of management functions that can be added to OSCAR in the future, extending it’s flexibility, usefulness and longevity.
This inventory ordering system was then expected to save buyers time by allowing them to adjust standing orders to meet current demand and needs, or to quickly reference a products database for the quick compilation of new orders. It will also be able to route portions of the order to the actual distribution centers handling the products involved, allowing buyers to get immediate confirmation on pricing, availability and the date of shipping. The instant feedback that results was expected to permit real-time order changes, and to effectively eliminate unexpected distributor substitutions or partial orders that can not be fulfilled effectively.
OSCAR is also able to link electronically to certain Applebee’s suppliers through their proprietary system, such as Kraft, which has agreed to modify their proprietary system in order to accept electronic messages that are used by OSCAR to connect with distributors. The purchase and use of OSCAR by franchisees has not been made compulsory, and the cost of development will be underwritten by Applebee’s International. Franchisees will have the option of using Applebee’s proprietary POS system or another of their choice.
3.2.   ERP and Plumtree
Applebee’s currently has an ERP system built around software from PeopleSoft which was rolled out without major customization, and provides the backbone for many of Applebee’s information technology systems and initiatives. The ERP system is integrated with Plumtree’s portal software, deciding that Plumtree’s functionality outclassed its rivals enough to make the challenges of working with multiple vendors worth handling. (Cowley, 2005) Applebee’s has been making use of Plumtree’s to conduct user analytics across it’s 1,800 odd restaurants.
3.3.   EatecNet
In 2000, Applebee’s selected EatecNet as a management tool for its then 250 odd company owned stores. The central EatecNet database runs on Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 at its Kansas City headquarters, and is linked to remote locations through six Citrix Application servers, with all figures and data being real time except for those from sales that poll up to the Kansas City headquarter nightly (Harler, 2001). The search by Applebee’s for a better inventory control and yield management system was started two years before, as Applebee’s had no good way to track waste management among other metrics, with the goal of knowing what was used and what ought to have been used in the preparation of food to control food quality and cost. Everything was based on historical data and food budgets from previous years, which was highly unsatisfactory and not very accurate. The initial rollout to company stores was completed on the 1st of May, 2000. New stores will be added and come online, using the EatecNet system with a browser-based interface.
Yield management using technology such as EatecNet can be expensive to run, and the cost would be prohibitive for a single unit or restaurant, but for a restaurant chain, especially for one as large as Applebee’s, the payoff can start to hit the books within the first quarter after installation. Yield management systems automates what used to be a manual process of financial reporting among other things, and being able to track purchasing information electronically is critical to food cost savings, as being able to track and store a purchasing history on each item at ay time makes a huge difference on purchasing costs. For example, in 2001, it was reported that the application of EatecNet software helped to cut the cost of French fries by $500,000. (Harler, 2001)
Restaurant employees are able to utilize Applebee’s corporate intranet through EatecNet, for real-time access to applications as well as the centralized database. The EatecNet system permits restaurant employees to perform daily management duties while the hosted-applications approach eliminates i) the need to download, upload and synchronize data shared by headquarters and restaurants, ii) the need for software updates individually out in the field, and iii) simplifies data backup and archiving.
At the store level, EatecNet can be used daily to handle purchase orders, physical inventory counts, recording of spoilage and loss, and the handling of receiving among other functions. Sales data are automatically and regularly posted to EatecNet by each Applebee’s point-of-sale system (OSCAR, which will be discussed later). EatecNet is also used to generate an assortment of financial and operations reports based on individual store, region and chain-wide performance. Furthermore, EatecNet can even export relevant data to Applebee’s enterprise accounting system. EatecNet also helps Applebee’s to calculate daily recipe requirements and food sales, assisting managers in making use of inventory figures to get a store-by-store comparison for business analysis and yield management purposes.
3.4.   EatecNet and Instill Integration
In 2002, Instill Corporation, a leading provider of supply chain solutions for the food service industry, seamlessly integrated and rolled out their respective systems at Applebee’s. Prior to this integration, Applebee’s corporate units had been using Instill Procurement as their ordering system for 9 months. This system allowed unit managers to efficiently place their procurement orders online, as well as facilitating Applebee’s in driving compliance through the control of unit level order guides. EatecNet enabled Applebee’s to reduce their food costs, effectively manage their inventory and improve on their operational efficiency.
According to Applebee’s Vice President of Information Technology, Ms. Tamy Duplantis, the real benefits, especially at the unit level, of the two systems occurred when the integration of the two systems was carried out. After the integration, whenever an order is placed on Instill’s systems, it electronically populates the EatecNet system so that the order can be received without any re-keying from the delivery document into the back-office system. This integration is saving Applebee’s unit managers three to four hours per week, with the elimination of the non-value added and redundant activity representing a significant savings, allowing unit managers to focus on serving customers better and more efficiently. (Eatec, 2002)
3.5.   CSI
Applebee also has a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place called CSI, which is designed to work through the point-of-sale system of each Appleebee’s restaurants, allowing staff to present a survey at the point-of-purchase and point-of-service, which a customer can take part in to get $3 off the bill, according to Lumpkin, Applebee’s chief development officer. (Waters, 2000) This feedback and customer input is taken seriously at Applebee’s as Seth Jensen, Senior Manager of Business Analysis within the Finance Group at Applebee’s says: “We want our guests to have a voice in saying what they prefer on our menu, Customer input serves as a valuable complement to the creativity of our culinary team, enhancing the team’s ability to develop menus that satisfy our guests’ preferences.”. (Teradata)
3.6.   Teradata Data Warehouse
As understanding customers’ preference is a key business strategy at Applebee’s, an efficient method to gather, collect, store and analyze all of its customer input data became critical, which led it to choose a data warehouse solution from Teradata. This data warehouse can be considered the nerve center of Applebee’s information technology systems, as well as it’s core strategic tool, as it collects information from all of the systems described above in use in company-owned stores, from OSCAR, EatecNet, CSI, as well as a financial system from J.D Edwards etc, all (data) of which can be retrieved and used for all sort of useful analysis, to achieve goals in sales and marketing, as well as to analyze strategic issues and to formulate business strategy.
An interview with Seth Jensen,Senior Manager of Business Analysis, and Dan Harkness, IT Project Manager (Schwartz), discusses how the use of the Teradata warehouse has helped in improving and increasing the efficiency of the organizational processes at Applebee’s, from labor management to business analysis to menu formulation to sales and marketing, among other things. For example, Jensen describes how the data warehouse system can be used to analyze the relevant data to determine what particular food product guests ordered in a certain region over the past two years, versus what guests ordered in other market, and then build an index using the results and a similar meteric. This index will then help Applebee’s to determine whether an item will be profitable enough for Applebee’s to offer the product in question. This sort of comparisons is made possible, and even easy, by having the necessary and massive amounts of data readily available, which is exactly what the data warehouse does. This also enables Applebee’s to design the most efficient and profitable menu item, which contributes the most to Applebee’s bottom line.
Furthermore, Harkness also illustrates how the data warehouse system can be used to analyze labor issues by monitoring how many people should be staffed for a particular restaurant, at a particular time period, on a particular day. This is done by projecting the expected human traffic through the data warehousing system, up to the point of forecasting optimal staffing volumes in 15 minute increments. This means that the general manager can now control his/her labour costs more effectively, as they will be able to run their labor at a cost-efficient level without hurting the guest experience or spilling costs. This also allows the general manager to predict from year to year what any particular day would look like in terms of customer volume, so that the restaurant can be staffed accordingly and be able to run at a maximum degree of efficiency from a labor standpoint.
Jensen also explains how the data warehouse helps in achieving sales and marketing goals, by making possible analysis which extends and assists the understanding and assessment of the marketing and sales campaigns that Applebee’s run, such as limited-time offers and themed menus. Before the implementation of the data warehouse, information was taken from campaign tests within a certain region and then projected onto their proprietary system. This approach meant that Applebee’s executives could project inaccurate purchasing figures, since region specific preferences were not similar throughout the nation, which meant that different preferences and tastes in different regions were not taken into account. The data warehousing solutions allows Applebee’s executives to compare indexes by region and purchase and distribute more intelligently, enabling Applebee’s to avoid product shortages and overruns. This gives Applebee’s the flexibility to focus on new campaigns, rather than worrying about how to utilize obsolete or excess inventory.
Finally, Jensen explores the possibility of using the data pulled from the CSI system and stored in the data warehouse system to learn more about customers. He however cautions that privacy issues are very real and such an approach needs to take into account these issues very carefully, but illuminates possibilities as devising a loyalty program and using Teradata’s capabilities to analyze customer data to mine and extract all sort of useful information such as spending habits, preferences and location. The main consideration should be making sure that the value proposition for such an approach or program is good for the customer, and yet does not violate their privacy.
3.7.   Teradata Data Warehouse Technical Aspects
Moving onto the technical aspects of the Teradata system adopted by Applebee, the Overland Park, Kansas headquarters is Applebee’s nerve center. It houses an Ethernet-based local area network (LAN) connecting the company’s main computing systems and platforms, with a two-node NCR WorldMark 4850 with 360 gigabytes of storage being the main analytical tool. It runs UNIX and houses the Teradata data warehouse, and Microstrategy 7.0, an online analytical processing tool that runs in Windows-based four-tier environment acts as the system’s query agent and reporting tool.
The Teradata and MicroStrategy systems is connected to a wide range of custom-developed and over-the-counter software systems via the LAN, most of which have been described above, extracting useful data that allows the staff to track and analyze sales, preferences and trends. A frame relay, wide area network provides point-of-sale information from individual Applebee’s restaurants to the Teradata data warehouse. Food-cost management information is stored into the data warehouse regularly. Teradata also collects data from several in-house applications, such as systems for sales auditing and labor management. In addition, the data warehouse receives data from a J.D. Edwards financial system residing on an IBM AS/400.
4.      Research Note
4.1.   Objectives of Case
The objectives of the case is to research, document, compile and then analyze the available literature, reports and previous analysis regarding Applebee’s utilization of information technology systems, and in particular, management information systems, to address key business issues, changing business circumstances, and to shape, follow and expand key business strategies and core areas of focus.
Of particular interest is the history of Applebee’s information technology strategy, and how it has successfully or unsuccessfully implemented organization wide systems with or without strategic value, and the benefits or losses that resulted from such endeavors. How such information technology and management information systems have changed the way Applebee’s International execute their business strategy and organization process is also explored and analyzed. Finally, the current state of its information technology infrastructure and strategy is discussed, with an eye of how it can be scaled, extended and modified with a view towards evolving business practices and new challenges arising from intense competition, globalization and changing business circumstances, among other things.
4.2.   Topical Coverage
Firstly, a short summary of the background of Applebee’s International is given. This includes the industry that Applebee’s International is in, what sort of business it does, it’s basic organizational structure, current status and health, and basic financials.
Next will be an extended treatment and coverage of its financial health and status. A variety of financial reports from reliable, verifiable and industry-used sources such as the Wall Street Journal is consulted, and the latest information extracted and then given.
Next comes a discussion and analysis of the market strategy adopted by Applebee’s International. Current literature which documents and analyze the various analyses conducted by Applebee’s, as well as interviews of key Applebee’s executives from a wide range of sources are consulted. Industry metrics are also used to give a relative idea of the value proposition and success/failure of certain strategies adopted by Applebee’s.
Finally, an extended treatment of the history of the major information systems and management information systems designed, implemented and then used to different degrees of impact is explored. This analysis is carried out chronologically, starting with Applebee’s launch of its first major integrated computerized management package, integrating many of its existing information systems with management packages to create a true management information systems.
Information and data are drawn from a wide variety of sources which describes, documents or discusses the nature of such systems, the technicalities involved, how these systems were designed and intended to work and how they eventually work, the benefits and gains and costs involved, as well as the influences of the adoption of these systems on Applebee’s business strategy and information technology strategy.
4.2.1.      Course
4.2.2.      Level
4.2.3.      Requisite Knowledge
The requisite knowledge to be able to undertake this case study effectively is an understanding of key management concepts; of basic information technology systems and what they imply and how they work, such as ERP systems, data warehousing systems, e-procurement systems, Intranets and customer relationship management systems; how the application of information technology can be and is used to achieve competitive (and sometimes comparative) advantage in an industry marked by intense competition; as well as a basic understanding of financial terms.
4.3.   Case Summary
Applebee’s International is a fast growing chain of casual dining restaurant franchisees. It currently numbers more than 1,800 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, with 486 being operated by the key company and 1,318 being operated by franchisees, as of 25th Dec 2005.
Applebee’s has an information technology strategy which supports it’s key business objectives and business strategic, and has implemented a wide range of flexible, independent and yet linked (through a data warehouse system and an ERP system) information technology systems that allows it to pursue unique business opportunities and strategies, when remaining scalable and flexible enough to expand together with the corporation expansion plans.
OSCAR is an integration of its existing point of sale systems with certain management packages which carries out different functions such as sales forecasting, labor management, inventory control and food costing. It was also designed to be scalable and flexible to allow further management packages to be added on to it.
EatecNet is a management tool commissioned by Applebee’s International for its company owned stores, and is used for inventory control and yield management, among other functions. It also allows employees to access the corporate Intranet and to utilize specific applications and tools to aid in the management of individual restaurants. It is also able to generate reports and export relevant data to Applebee’s financial software system. Recently, EatecNet was integrated successfully with Instill’s e-procurement system to achieve greater efficiency and results.
CSI is a customer relationship management system designed by Applebee’s International, and intended to capture customer feedback and input at point-of-sales and point-of-purchases, in order to support its business strategy of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Finally, the Teradata data warehousing system adopted by Applebee serves as the nerve center of it’s entire information technology infrastructure, extracting, collecting and storing data from all of it’s various information technology software and systems, allowing Applebee’s International to conduct extensive analysis and achieve various goals from sales and marketing to customer satisfaction and financial performance.
4.4.   Key Issues and Discussion Questions
Some key issues which should be addressed and considered in the case study:
·         How the application of information technology does supports, extends and expands the strategic business goals and aims of Applebee’s?
·         What new opportunities can the application of management information technology or systems offer to Applebee?
·         How should Applebee improve the sustainability and longevity of its current and existing information technology infrastructure?
·         How far should the integration of management information technology or systems be carried out? What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of an organizational wide, fully integrated and singular management information system which can and does perform every role and task necessary? What are the associated costs?
·         How can the application of management information systems help Applebee’s International to create a competitive advantage in its industry?
4.5.   Suggested Responses
Responses to the key issues and discussion questions listed above should take into account and consideration the changing nature of the business landscape around us due to the increasing globalization of the world. For example, how should information technology strategy and infrastructure change in order to cope with a global expansion by Applebee? How should existing or planned management information system be structured or design to take into account such a possibility? How can management information technology systems be scaled or extended to support a global business network?
Furthermore, current issues with technology should also be factored in. For example, new advances in technology should be explored as a strategic option for Applebee to upgrade or replace its existing management information systems or software as appropriate. The high cost of a new implementation versus that of an extension, revision or add on to an existing system or software should also be reviewed.
For Further Reading
Allen, T. J. & Morton, M. S. (Eds.). (1994). Information Technology and the Corporation of the 1990s: Research Studies. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bloomfield, B. P., Coombs, R., Knights, D., & Littler, D. (Eds.). (2000). Information Technology and Organizations: Strategies, Networks, and Integration. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Büchel, B. S. (2001). Using Communication Technology : Creating Knowledge Organizations /. New York: Palgrave.
Chan, P. S., & Heide, D. (1992). Information Technology and the New Environment: Developing and Sustaining Competitive Advantage. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 57(4), 4+.
Estabrooks, M. (1995). Electronic Technology, Corporate Strategy, and World Transformation. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
Luftman, J. N. (Ed.). (2003). Competing in the Information Age: Align in the Sand (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Mcginn, D., Kudyba, S., & Diwan, R. (2002). Information Technology, Corporate Productivity, and the New Economy. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
Peltu, M. & Dutton, W. H. (Eds.). (1996). Information and Communication Technologies: Visions and Realities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
 Pine, B. J. (1996, January). Serve Each Customer Efficiently and Uniquely. Business Communications Review, 26, 2+.
Tansey, S. D. (2002). Business, Information Technology and Society. New York: Routledge.
Watkins, J. (1998). Information Technology, Organisations, and People: Transformations in the UK Retail Financial Services Sector. London: Routledge.
References
Cowley, Stacy, ‘Plumtree preps new portal version’, Computerworld, 7th September 2005,
< http://www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/erp/story/0,10801,104438,00.html >
Eatec Corp, ‘Instill and Eatec Link Procurement and Back-Office Systems for Applebee’s International’, Press Releases, April 16 2002.
; http://www.eatec.com/news_events_pr_020416.htm ;
Grey, Steven , ‘How Applebee’s Is Making It Big In Small Towns’, Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition), New York, N.Y.: Aug 2, 2004. pg. B.1
Harler, Curt, ‘Profits Rock’, Hospitality Technology, April 2001
< http://htmagazine.com/archive/April2001/April2001_5.html >
Lockyer, Sarah E, ‘Applebee’s Aug. sales lag franchisees’ as it cuts EPS goal ‘, Nation’s Restaurant News. New York: Sep 5, 2005.Vol.39, Iss. 36;  pg. 11, 1 pgs
Restaurant Business. New York: Jul 15, 2002.Vol.101, Iss. 12;  pg. 17, 2 pgs
Rosenfeld, Jill ‘Down-Home Food, Cutting-Edge Business’, Fast Company, April 2000, Issue 33
; http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/33/applebees.html ;
Schwartz, Karen D, ‘From Bytes to Bites at Applebee’s’, Teradata Magazine Online
; http://www.teradata.com/t/page/115368/index.html ;
Teradata, ‘Applebee’s International’, Industry Solutions,
; http://www.teradatalibrary.com/pdf/eb3076.pdf ;
Waters, C.Dickinson, ‘Applebee’s tech chief handles a heaping plate of duties’, Nation’s Restaurant News, 30th October 2000
 

Apple bee paper

Apple’s Return To The Bond Market

Apple’s Return To The Bond Market.
Churner (2014) writes an interesting article portraying Apple’s return to the bond market in 2014. In April 2014 Apple completed its second blockbuster bond sale in a year. Apple sold a $ban of debt of varying maturities at interest rates that were mostly less than a percentage point above comparable U. S. Treasury debt (Churner, 2014). This sale goes a long way in highlighting the faith in the prospects of Apple. The offering was extremely tempting for investors who flocked to place more than $ban on orders (Churner, 2014).
The bonds sold Tuesday offered interest rates relative to Treasures that were similar to last year’s sale. For example, a 10-year bond from Apple on Tuesday was priced to yield 0. 77 percentage points more than comparable Treasuries. Last year, Apple priced 10-year bonds to yield 0. 75 percentage points more (Churner, 2014). In all, Apple sold fixed-rate bonds maturing in three, five, seven, 10 and 30 years, and was priced to yield 1. 068%, 2. 108%, 2. 889%, 3. 460% and 4. 483%, respectively (Churner, 2014).
Deutsche Bank GAG and Goldman Sacks Group Inc. Deed the sale. The head of ‘investment-grade credit at Invoices, Chuck Burger describes how “Apple’s bonds are an attractive alternative to Treasury bonds. ” He goes on to suggest that the reason they are so popular is due to their past strong performance, and the fact that everyone knows of Apple and has become very trustworthy of the brand name. Invoices spent $million on the new Apple bonds. The value of Apple’s bonds is determined through its supply and demand like any other economic good or service.

Demand for Apple’s bonds has been high for a few seasons, and therefore the value of the bonds is also high. They are highly sought after because they are rated as AAA+, the second-highest rating (Churner, 2014)- this in turn reflects a corporate-debt market that is putting in a strong performance this year. Bond prices are often inversely correlated to expectations about the future economy, and thus the stock market. In 2013 bond investments (demand) declined amid investor expectations that the U. S. Economy would pick up steam. However, this has turned around in 2014 as expectations have deteriorated.
Apple does have a lathe cash pile ($1 ban) but there is a range of investors that fear selling bonds to reward shareholders can ding the value of a company’s outstanding debt. In order for the value of Apple’s bonds to remain strong it must ensure that it keeps its products as industry leaders; as soon as this is not the case the demand to invest in Apple bonds will shrink and the price will fall. Worktables (2013) attempts to explain why a company like Apple with such high cash levels would want to issue bonds; fundamentally issued by companies to raise cash.
This essentially comes down to a irk in the tax regime: “According to analyst estimates, Apple has $Bonn of cash- but only $ban on hand in the U. S., and thus not enough to fully fund the share buyback program” (Worktables, 2013). Therefore although Apple has a vast amount of cash, it needs the ability to access more in order to make up for the less accessible cash they have stored abroad. References Churner, M., (2014). Apple Returns to Bond Market.

Apple’s Return To The Bond Market

Critical Thinking, Apple Inc.

Critical Thinking, Apple Inc..
APPLE INC 2 Voted as the most innovative company for three consecutive years during 2006-2008 and voted as America’s number 1 most Admired Company (McGregor, 2008), Apples faces a major challenge to continue growth at this level. Describe two factors you think Apple should consider as the company develops long-term strategy for growth. I think that as Apple continues to move forward with out the guiding force that was Steve Jobs, they have to consider the impact that competitors are going to have on their market share.
There are now several competing devices similar to the iPhone, iPod, and iPad in the market place now. Apple will have to continue the tradition of innovation, and homegrown product development to stay on top. With new leadership, comes new ways of doing things. Even though the new CEO of Apple inc, Tim Cook is a Steve Jobs protege, he will have his own style, and it remains to be seen how much of an impact that is going to have in the future. For the moment Apple seems to be doing just fine. Current earnings over this period a year ago are up. (Apple Inc. 2012)
If Apple were to build a balanced scorecard, what two objectives do you think should be included in the learning and growth perspective? “In a knowledge-worker organization, people — the only repository of knowledge — are the main resource. ”(Balanced Score Card Institute, 2012) Apple should continue to ensure the professional development of its managers and engineers. The talents of these people have brought Apple to where it is today. Product development should be another objective. Apple inc. has been doing things right (for them) for quite awhile now.

Their ability to innovate, and develop products that are simple to use has been one of the keys to their success. APPLE INC. 3 References: Balanced Score Card Institute. (2012),Balanced Score Card Institute- A Strategy Management Group Company Retrieved June 10, 2012 from: http://www. balancedscorecard. org/BSCResources/AbouttheBalancedScorecard/tabid/55/Default. aspx Apple Inc. (2012) Apple Inc. Retrieved June 10, 2012 from: http://www. apple. com/pr/library/2012/04/24Apple-Reports-Second-Quarter-Results. html

Critical Thinking, Apple Inc.

Apple Inc. Strategic Issues

Apple Inc. Strategic Issues.
The problems of Apple stemmed in the period 1985-1997 when Steve Jobs was not part of the company. Apple had a small markets share of PCs; its gross profits were decreasing; the Company’s CEO turnover was high; its share price was low (around USD 3); it was making losses and was on the verge of bankruptcy (Linzmayer 2004). Moreover, its work environment had become increasingly relaxed and it was losing its values of creativity and innovation. Moreover, its competitors were receiving great response for their products such as the Windows 95 and the IBM compatible PCs.
Hence the company had become from one of the high flying companies of the eighties to a lackluster performer on the verge of bankruptcy in the 90s (Clarton 1998). What were the Strategic Issues? The strategic issues were mainly those of a lack of leadership and an innovative culture. Moreover, some decisions taken by the management were not in the best interest of the company. For example, the company’s reliance on PDA’s was a drain on the company’s resources. Moreover, there was incontinency in the company’s policy.
For example, during the tenure of one CEO, Apple tried to move into the low priced market and during the time of a later one, the same policy was reversed (Grady 2008). Moreover, the management seemed to be too relaxed in its endeavors. For example, the launch of the Apple OS, which was supposed to be a competitor to Windows 95 was greatly behind schedule. All in all, there was a lack of leadership from the top which was the source of all the problems (Apple 1998).

There was also a lack of direction with regards the products the company would offer. For example, the company experimented with various items such as digital cameras, portable CD audio players, speakers, video consoles, and TV appliances. None of these items was a success and we hardly find them on store shelves today. Finally, enormous resources were spent on the product known as the Newton which was going to be Apple’s foray into the PDA market (Brewster 2009). Read also Challenges Facing By Ikea
Also, there seemed to be less consumer focus as Performa line was sold in configurations that confused customers. The company obviously lacked marketing leadership. Thus we find that the issues faced by the company were mainly related to lax management attitudes, lack of top leadership, and an unfocused product line with little link with the market (Grady 2009). Alternative solutions to Apple’s problems: A number of strategic solutions to Apple’s problems could be proposed. The company was of course facing great troubles financially.
Its stock price was low and it was making losses on the income statement. What it could do was sell itself to another company. That way, it could tap on to the resources of that company which could then be used to fuel development of Apple’s products. However, a merger with another company would mean that any of the innovative culture that might have been left at Apple would be diffused into the other company. Also, the brand name of Apple might get lost or just become a side-brand in the new company.
Hence due to the risk a merger would pose to the valuable brand of the company, this option can be sidelined. Apple continually faced problems with its product lines. The Newton brand consumed heavy resources and was no great success in the market. Also the company did not know what to do with its existing product lines. At one time, it tried to unbundle its products while reversing the decision sometime later. Also, the company experimented with various other products such as television sets, digital cameras and speaker sets. Read about Apple internal growth
All this makes it seem that Apple did not have good product development personnel who were innovative enough or could develop products that would be accepted by the market. Hence replacing the team could be a good option and bringing in new people would be viable. However it seems that this was only part of the problem and replacing the team would not solve Apple’s problems which were far more pervasive. There were problems with management which was lax and top leadership was also lacking. Hence simply changing the product development team could not work (Dalal). Also read Apple corporate governance issues

Apple Inc. Strategic Issues

Introduction to Apple Inc

Introduction to Apple Inc.
One company that defies herd mentality and walks out on its own is the Cupertino based Apple Inc. Founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple Inc is a typical example of the phrase common in business parlance, a garage start-up. The whole idea behind its conception and its propelling to the zenith of computer and entertainment industry is that of conviction: Jobs was convinced that his ideas would work, the company would work and it did, braving all the odds. Apple I was the first computer designed by them and its sales were not that impressive but enough to keep the confidence of the founders buoyed up.
The computer industry then was rapidly expanding with more and new players like IBM, Microsoft, Dell and Intel entering the market or introducing new products with higher technological capabilities. In 1981, when IBM launched their first PC, Apple Inc welcomed the move and hoped for a healthy rivalry and better products for the consumers. Such is the mettle of the company since the days of its inception. There is nothing ordinary or commonplace about Apple Inc. By the end of 1984, it had already launched its own versions of three computers: LISA, NEWTON and Macintosh.
Amongst the three, Macintosh garnered the most number of accolades and continues to be popular till date. Mac was faster than Lisa, had a Graphic User Interface based functionality and a mouse. It gave the computer users community their first experience with WYSIWIG and menu driven user interface and was an instant hit. By 1993, Macintosh had managed to create a niche, a differentiated segment of users who were driven more by brand loyalty than price. Apple Inc has historically been adamantly opposed any form of licensing, it had its own hardware and own operating system, thus a full fledge in-house PC design.

It had even refused to license Macintosh OS to Microsoft, thus providing the reason to Bill Gates to design his own Operating System and thus Windows was born. The downfall of the company had initiated back in 1985, when Steve Jobs had bowed out of the organisation’s affair and John Sculley had the commands of the company. Though, under him the company went on to register 8 billion USD in annual sales by the year 1993, but the success was owed to the increasing popularity of Macintosh and emergence of Apple computers as highly efficient desktop publishing tools.
By 1992, it had become very difficult to maintain competitive edge the Mac had because the profits of the company were already suffering because of the intense rivalry in the PC market. De-motivated by the dwindling figures, Sculley resigned from the office of CEO and by 1995, Apple was on the verge of a sale out, had it not been for the charismatic return of its Co-founder, Steve Jobs to the power in 1997. If the reasons for the downfall of the organisation are to be analysed, it can clearly noticed that concentrating only on marketing without paying due attention to innovation and technology upgradation was at the heart of the failure.
It took Apple a gap of good 17 years to come up with another advanced OS after the launch of Mac in 1984, while its core competitor Microsoft was coming up with a version every year. With the release of Windows 2005, Microsoft had hammered the penultimate aim in the coffin of Mac, but still there was hope. The re-entry of Jobs saw the revamping of business strategy. Both on the software and the hardware fronts, Jobs made some landmark policy shifts. For instance, Mac Os was ported to Intel architecture and switched to Intel processors.
This helped in bridging the gap between Mac and Wintel (which was becoming increasingly popular and was more cost efficient and faster than Mac). The compatibility problems between Windows and Mac Os were solved to a great extent by the switch to the Intel architecture as now most of the Windows based software could function on Mac as well. Still Microsoft Office applications remained to be a problem to be solved and in a breakthrough move, Apple Inc entered into an agreement with Microsoft to develop a Mac version for the popular Office suite of application.
But the biggest breakthrough for Apple Inc came in the winter of 2001, precisely in November 2001 when the first iPod was launched and it changed the way people listened to music the world over. It was a hard drive based music player, one that enabled people to keep their favourite songs on the disc and listen to them whenever they want to. iPod versions were launched in succession and soon people could view videos, podcast became the word of the year for 2006 and in 2003, iTunes was expanded into the official online music store selling downloads for the iPod.
There was no beating the sales of iPod as it accounts for 70% of portable music players’ sales in USA alone. Steve Jobs could see the demand for exclusive content as well and his nexus with Pixar and Disney assured regular and exclusive video and movies content for the iPod users. iPhone by Apple was another landmark product. It was a smart phone that combined the capabilities of iPod and a standard mobile phone that was capable of just more than talking and texting.
But the high price of iPhones accounted for low sales and quickly Apple took some concrete policy measures that led to a decrease in the price of the iPhone and an increase in their popularity and sales (Jie He et al, 2009). As said earlier, Apple’s products have become a style statement, a kind of status symbol. They are atrociously high prized, especially the PCs and Notebooks, and there are many low prized substitutes in the market available as far as performance and functionality is concerned.
But there is cult like devotion showed by Apple loyalists towards the company’s products and it is to them the company serves the best. The niche segment of its customers believe in maintaining a fashion statement, a style of their own and Apple gives them enough opportunities to do so while continuously optimizing on cost and functionality to cater to the mass needs as well. The launch of iPad and iPhone generation 4 have been welcomed by Apple loyalists the world over. The year saw the launch of these two great products and the sales of iPod continue to remain on the higher side till date.
The company has still to emulate the success of its iPod and iPhone in the Personal PC and Notebook market. It still occupies a meagre 8% of total PC and laptop sales in US and lesser than that in the world. IBM, Dell and Microsoft still rule the PC and laptop industry and Apple still has to break down their dominance in this industry. Vision Statement “Man is the creator of change in this world. As such he should be above the systems and structures and not subordinate to them. “ Mission Statement
“Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and internet offerings”. Indeed, Apple is the only player in the highly dynamic PC industry that manufactures its own Operating System, own hardware and peripherals and its own software applications to run on the system. It is the pioneering power in the field of plug and play as far as iPods were concerned; in the rest of the industries it uses works on the principle of reinvention and reengineering to even overshadow the original product.
Global Operations Strategy Global Operations Strategy of Apple Inc has been fairly simple and holistic. For any company, as far as operations are concerned, they can be defined on three categorical grounds: low cost strategy, differentiation strategy and cost of differentiation strategy. For Apple Inc, the strategy has been that of differentiation since its inception and continues to be so even today. The company has innovative product offerings to its customer base the world over and has a differentiated section of consumers buying its products.
The former CEO John Sculley paid adequate attention to marketing needs of the company but failed to look into operations aspect and as a result lots of wastage in the form of inventory and terminated R& D projects were generated that ate into the revenue as well as the capital of the company (Huzefa et al, 2008). In 1998, when Tim Cook joined Apple as the senior Vice President of Operations, amongst other things, he managed to reduce the inventory from 30 days to 6 days. Previously, components were being shipped from Asia to Ireland for the manufacturing of iMacs and later the iMacs were being shipped back into Asia for sale.
This was a costly affair and Cook revamped the policy. Except for customized build-to-order, manufacturing for all other orders was outsourced (Huzefa et al, 2008). One major factor that worked in the favour of Apple and helped it to reduce inventory seven-fold was that like other PC manufacturers, it did not assemble the end product. All the components that went into the manufacturing of PCs and Laptops were manufactured in-house and even if they were procured from outside, Cook talked with the supplier over the need of Just-in-time technology and its implementation in-house.
The externally procured components were of standard nature which allowed the company to hold them in the suppliers’ warehouse until and unless need for them was felt. Though the build-to-order customised products meant higher investment in the form of in-house manufacturing and need to hold the components in inventory, it provided the company the much needed idea about latest consumer requirements and improved their ability to forecast and plan better products. As far as sales and distribution are concerned, since its inception, the company sold its products through famous computer retailers in the country.
But after the peak season in the year 1996, the sales fell tremendously and by the start of the year 2000, it had terminated its on-going business contracts with four out five of its retail shelf providers. Later in the year new millennium, it decided to open its own distribution stores which were more like High Street Fashion stores around the world. But it wasn’t anything like overnight mushrooming of Apple iStores. They had strategically selected the venue and did thorough market research before opening a store.
To boost the sales of their iPhones and iPods, they contracted shelf space on major retailers like Wal-mart and other iconic departmental stores. When it comes to outsourcing of its major manufacturing activities, there are not a lot of companies to whom Apple has outsourced its operations. Flextronics, Hon Hai (Foxconn) and Sanmina-SCI are amongst the major outsourcing partners of Apple Inc but then again, they are not in a position to produce on a massive scale if the need be (West, 2009). The marketing strategy of Apple Inc has primarily been US centric.
This is in stark opposition to the aggressive marketing opportunities and outsourcing utilities being pursued by Nokia, the Finnish mobile giant. The major sales of Apple products including iPhones and iPads come from USA only. The sales fell flat in the Asian region of India and China due to their high prices. The company also succumbed to the flourishing sales of iPhones and iPods in the grey markets in these territories where they were sold at much lower prices. For Smartphone production Apple is completely dependent on its limited number of suppliers for components.
Though the components are standardized and suppliers are reputed companies, it doesn’t pay off well to outsource all the production activities (West, 2009). It opened its online store in the year 1997 after the shrinking shelf space for its products and not impressive success of its third party mail order catalogue mechanism. The online stores were a hit and more sales flowed in for the Cupertino PC giant. For its entertainment industry based products, such as iPhone and iPod, Apple entered into exclusive contracts with Disney and Pixar.
For video downloads on its iPods, it signed an agreement with YouTube. Nobody could anticipate consumer demand and expectation as did the charismatic CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs and a lot of people are becoming apprehensive about the future of the company once Jobs calls it a day off. Lean Manufacturing The origins of Lean Manufacturing system are still disputed. While the popular notion is that of it having been originated in the sanctum Santorum of Toyota’s workshops in Japan, many are of the view that the system is aesthetically American.
But undoubtedly, it was the Japanese who refined the system of Lean Manufacturing and used it to not only revolutionize its automobile sector, in particular the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, but also rebuild the nation devastated by nuclear catastrophe. The Americans have prided themselves on their ability to lower down the prices and cost of production through the system of mass production. But this system of traditional manufacturing had its own serious flaws that in future led to a greater increase in the cost than had been controlled by the administrators.
Taichi Ohno at Toyota was designated the task of designing a system that was more efficient than the American system of mass production and enabled them to design selected models in low quantities and yet at lower prices. Ohno and his colleagues learnt well the manufacturing system followed by Ford Motors and instead of imitating them point blank, they studied them thoroughly and analysed their pros and cons. Among various discrepancies found in the traditional system, the most important was that of increasing wastes and inventory redundancies.
Typically, the final product of earlier process was fed as input to the later process and this way the production cycle went on, creating the final product for sale. This was fine up to the point where each process worked just fine and produced only the amount required by the later process. But this was the ideal case scenario and it was very difficult to forecast the exact requirement. Moreover, breaking down of one process lead to impairment of the production process and inventory went on building up, tethering on the brink of wastage.
To prevent against this Just in Time, Total Quality Management, Self Directed Work Groups, Single Minute Exchange of Dies etc were amongst the few techniques used to optimise the production process and eliminate wastage, thereby reducing the overall cost of production. In fact, the much hailed specialisation and division of labour were also discouraged as the need of the hour was versatility or multitasking. A single labour or machine operator was trained to operate more than single machines and the machines themselves were automated with a dash of human intelligence.
This meant that as soon as anything went wrong with any machine, it stopped functioning and required human intervention to restart it. The process was aimed with a larger view to enhance the machines’ capability and to try to remove the defect or the cause of it forever. The operators were made to ask the Five Why’s to investigate into the root cause of the problem and as time proved it, the method actually worked (Ohno). Toyota Production System, as it was known in the earlier days was known by the Toyota employees as the Kanban system and was perfected at every step before it became known to the world.
After the Oil crisis of 1970s, the entire world economy was paralysed for the time being and it was then that the importance of Lean manufacturing system was realised better than ever before. In those times while every other enterprise reported negative growth, the growth at Toyota was monumental. It was at the centre of world spotlight and gave the world a few of its guiding principles. “Globalization is challenging and driving all manufacturing industries to improve their products, compete effectively, reduce manufacturing cost, and make a profit.
Lean manufacturing is becoming more and more attractive because various manufacturing techniques have been incorporated into the lean concept” (Manjoo and Caplan, 2010). Now the manufacturing is driven by consumer demand. Previously the notion was to produce and then create demand. But this system is followed only in the initial days as the business is trying to set itself up and establish its products in the market. Once that is done, it strictly follows the lean manufacturing system whereby it produces the required amount of goods using Just in Time methodologies.
The principles of lean manufacturing work just as fine for the Fortune 500 companies as it does small and medium scale enterprises. It gives everybody an equal opportunity to reduce cost of production through eliminating wastes and improving the process efficiency. Apple Inc has holistically followed the lean manufacturing principles, especially that of inventory control and Just in Time technology. Steve Jobs, the visionary he is, could foresee the need of doing away with the redundant parts of a typical computer set up as the technology progresses. This helps in reducing the cost of the product.
For example, it’s been long since Apple computers stopped having a floppy drive in them. Soon, the computers will do away with optical disks as well because even they are becoming redundant soon. This has immensely helped the organisation in keeping the cost of its offerings under control though they are still high by the current industry standards. It is not very easy to achieve smooth transition from conventional system of manufacturing to the Lean system of Manufacturing. It requires business process reengineering and a lot of learning and tolerance on the part of important position holders and the workers.
But it is still a better way to reduce cost than to lay off people from workforce or affect a cut in their salaries. It is a common business practise to increase sales by increasing expenditure on advertisement and leveraging it with downsizing or reduction in salary in order to prevent increase in costs. “Another important element of the lean concept is the empowerment of the worker to make decisions that are vital to the smooth running of operations within the company, The fact that workers are multi-skilled gives them the ability to undertake this important responsibility.
Their responsibilities however, must be within the limits of their skills, training, and workstation. This empowerment gives the workers a sense of accountability for errors that may occur in the production processes. ” (Manjoo and Caplan, 2010) At Apple, Jobs encourages his designers and creative professionals to ‘Think Differently’ but ultimately the decision to accept a design or reject it remains with him and he affirms it rather proudly that he doesn’t hesitate in saying no to a design because it saves a lot of money that would have been spent in materializing it without any success.
Another principle followed at Apple Inc is that of reinvention and not invention. Jobs takes up a successful product in the market and lends it the Apple touch, that is innovates it to be stylish and provide enhanced performance and be better than the original product. This he has worked out efficiently with portable music players, smart phones, PCs and iPad. Process Performance and Quality A typical designing process for a new product or enhancements to an existing product includes various stages and meetings between the creative professionals.
There are Mockups carried out that require the designers to come up with their own designs and ideas on a paper, in the form of a presentation or any other way. They have to think out the box, think of the things that will work and that work. In an informal meeting, these mock ups are presented and one by one the pros and cons of each design are enumerated. These are naturally time taking and it may happen that nothing worthwhile may come out of them, but at least the team has an idea of all that would not work. This reduces the chances of errors later on.
Then out of the mock ups prepared, the designers are asked to select any ten and continuing the filtering process eliminate 7 bad ones, and out of the remaining three, choose the one that best fits the requirements. This gives them enough space to design the best product they think that will work and will be in tune with the company’s principles. Then Paired Design Meetings are held twice a week. One is an informal one where the designers brainstorm with each other and come up with the design ideas to materialize the product design selected.
Some of the craziest ways of accomplishing end design are thought of in these meetings. But the second meeting that takes place is more on a serious note where the agenda is to nail down every requirement in order to materialize the product design. Then the ideas are presented to senior leadership at a formal meeting and if they are approved then the production process begins. This was about the designing process. When it comes to production process, Apple has its strategy outlined.
Any electronic giant who has done an in and out analysis of Apple iPod will confirm that the Apple Inc has just made revolutionary changes to the design. The components used still remain the same. In the production of iPod, keeping the basic requirements of a classy look, high sound quality, easy navigation and touch screen in mind, the best and standard components from the suppliers were procured or custom ordered in order to fit into the architecture of the iPod design.
There was a Sony battery, Wolfson Codec, Wolfson DAC, Toshiba Disk Drive, Firewire by Texas Instruments and Power Management devices by Linear Technology. So this is how the production process takes place principally. After the designing is done, the components that can be built in-house are manufactured in house, ones that can be procured from suppliers are procured or are custom built according to the requirements. Just in Time technology is followed as a part of the lean manufacturing technology. Very little is held in inventory and the production depends on the demand by the consumers.
Currently Apple invests a lot of money in the R & D facilities, probably more than any other PC manufacturer does. But it still doesn’t have a factory or plant of its own. In future, if there were to be conflicts between Asia and USA or to be Precise Taiwan/China and USA, Apple’s production would be severely hampered. When the speculations were ripe about Apple building its own manufacturing utility, it announced a new Production Process by the name of Brick for the production of its new MacBook and MacBook Pro.
The cutting edge technology enabled the company to build the entire system out of a single block of aluminium, making it thinner and sturdier and encasing various parts and components into it, including the LCD. It was a breakthrough design and production process and remains largely unparalleled in the industry. As it is said earlier, it is the only company that produces its own hardware, operating system and software applications. What it cannot produce, it outsources to the best manufacturing units or procures the components that are standardized.
Quality Jobs places a lot of impetus on the superior quality, design and functionality of Apple’s products. Apple follows Total Quality Management and though some people argue that increased production will lead to technical and quality flaws, the management at Apple Inc is dedicated to provide quality product to its consumers. This is how they even justify the high cost of their products in comparison to other similar products from other competitors in the industry. Quality has never been an issue for the products manufactured at Apple Inc.
The high clarity afforded by the laptop, desktop, iPad, iPod and iPhone screens are an example of this. The apps, the mini applications for iPhones and iPads are increasingly becoming popular. The software designed by Apple geniuses at Loop Infinity is free of any technological flaws. They have been tested time and again in more than 100 ways to remove any bugs or discrepancy. But of late some people have reported occurrence of bugs in the some software of apps and that can be owed to the fact that as number of people using Apple Products increases, a few bugs will indeed come to the surface.
No company can claim a product to be full-proof and moreover, increased numbers of users mean an increased number of ways of operating the device or using the software. This will inevitably lead to resurfacing of a couple of mild flaws. Overall, the company is striving hard to maintain the high quality of its products in order to maintain and further increase its sales in the market. Conclusion Apple’s success has not been one of a fairy tale kind but Steve Jobs does seem to possess a magic wand.
The man with the vision knows exactly what will work with the consumers and what won’t and has an obvious preference of elegant and fashionably designed high quality product, even if they come at a cost. In its 24 years journey, Apple Inc has gone from being the highest grosser in the computer industry to being the lowest and then rising from its own ashes like a phoenix, it went on to become a household name. It clearly dominates the portable music player industry and has created a niche segment of its high styled consumers which follow Apple as a religion.
It has become an iconic part of the digital lifestyle and allows convergence of computers, smart phones and music players in very smart way. Though its sales have increased in the past years, they are still not very impressive as compared to Dell or IBM. A part of it can be attributed to the fact that the company follows only US-centric marketing strategies and apart from iPod, all its other products do not generate high revenue across the world. But despite this, the company has remained to be the highest margin earner since the time it launched Macintosh.
The pressure right now is high on Apple Inc to allow licensing of its technology, if not it’s OS, at least its iOS for mobile phones so that platform issues for various applications are solved. This is one way its iPhone Sales can be increased. But if Jobs is convinced that this is not to be and will go on to get similar applications as offered by other smart phones manufacturers designed in-house, there is nothing that can stop him and 10 to 1, he will succeed in taking Apple inc a step higher in popularity and profitability.
Bibliography
Huzefa, Deepti, A. N. , Gaurav Dinesh, Singh, Harmanjeet. A Strategic Analysis of Apple Corporation. Thesis. Hyderbad: IIPM, 2008. Jie He, Tony Jia, Ji Young Lee, Andy Yen. “Apple Case Study. ” 2009.
Manjoo, Farhad and Jeremy Caplan. Apple Nation. 01 July 2010. Ohno, Taichii. Toyota Production System: Beyond Large Scale Manufacturing. New York: Productivity Press, 1988. sherman, eric. inside the apple iPod design triumph. 2002. 13 july 2010
Walters, Helen. Apple’s Design Process. 08 March 2008. 12 July 2010. West, Joel. Apple Computer: the iCEO Seizes the Internet. Irvine: Globalization of I. T. , Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations, UC Irvine, 2002.
West, Joel. Apple Computer: the iCEO Seizes the Internet. Irvine: Globalization of I. T. , Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations, UC Irvine, 2002.

Introduction to Apple Inc

Strategy of Apple Brand

Strategy of Apple Brand.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS STRATEGY OF PARENT COMPANY When a firm decides to go international with their business they must face many competitive decisions. Two of the most important decisions a company will face are the pressures for cost reduction and pressures for local responsiveness. The pressure of cost reduction forces a firm to lower their value of the cost of creation. Firms can outsource to places where costs of their products are much cheaper or they can mass-produce a standardized product in one location. A firm must have the feeling of local representation.
Every country has its own way of life. If a company does not adhere to each country’s differences in traditional business practices, distribution channels, and the demands from the host government, there will be no reason going international. Customers in different countries all hold to their own ways of doings things. It is important for a multinational firm to become aware of all traditions and rules in the countries of entry. There are four different strategies an international corporation can choose from. They are global standardization, localization, transnational and international.
Each strategy leads to the deciding factor that firms will use to determine the amount of pressures for cost reduction and local responsiveness. Global standardization is used to increase profitability by obtaining cost reductions through economies of scale. A firm whom wants to pursue a low-cost strategy on a global scale will normally offer a product that can be mass-produced at a low cost. A localization strategy offers a product that is custom to the host country. The product satisfies the countries preferences and taste. The third strategy is transnational.

It is used when the firm is faced with strong pressures for both reduction and localization. This strategy is hardly used when competitors are in the market because it is hard for a firm to please the local tastes and preferences of its customers at a low cost. The last strategy is international. This strategy is used when firms are confronted with low pressures for both cost reductions and local responsiveness. This strategy is scarcely used when competition enters the market. With each strategy, business can find which one works best for their organization.
Also Case Study will describe why Apple Inc. is a very successful company.
Companies will decide to go international depending on the country it chooses to enter and the amount of profit it can earn. In corporate strategy there are two types of diversification, linked and constrained. “Companies using linked diversification, enter new businesses when it relates in some way to another business they are already in but it does not necessarily have any connection to their other businesses. If they are using constrained diversification, they only enter a new business if it is based on their core resources or competencies.
Companies based on linked diversification have little coherence to their overall corporate strategy, while companies using constrained diversification tend to be more focused. Constrained diversification allows companies to maximize the effect of their resources because they are shared (100). ” Apple is a personal computer, hardware and software company, inherently leading to use constrained diversification because they utilize their competition and they share resources between businesses. For example iPods, iPads, iPhones, MacBooks and Apple TVs all run on the same operating system.
This intends customers to link their music with laptops, TVs, cell phones and other Apple products. This allows for a more appealing product to the customer. Apple is saving money by sharing resources throughout their multinational business. The product of Apple has such a distinct business that competitors have not been able to match their techniques. Each electronic device is unique, allowing for them to be used anywhere in the world and each is different from any of its competitors. Apple’s goal for a mobile business is to be fundamentally innovated and differentiable.
It does not concentrate on the size of its industry because it maintains strong profit margins that have high percentages in the industry’s profit share. Apple does not focus on the quantity of its products but the quality and relevance. “. Peter Drucker wrote that “What makes the future happen is always a business’s embodiment of an idea of a different economy, a different technology, a different society. It need not be a big idea; but it must be one that differs from the norm of today”. This means defining what the devices are (e. . , a pocket-sized device, or a tablet-sized device), and what they do. Apple must do this through constant innovation. ” Apple has secured itself as the industry innovator and a position of strength by constantly defining what their products are and what their products do. Since Apple is continuously redefining the industry, they do not need an overwhelming market share. Apple can dominate the market through their intelligence of inventing new electronics and the respect they have for their customers.
Apple’s basic business model is to sell hardware; every other product, iTunes, Apps, operating systems, is to make their hardware more valuable. The main goal of this strategy is to maximize the value of the firm. Customers are willing to pay high prices to obtain products of high value and high quality. Within an international business setting, firms are competing to receive the highest profit against one another. Apple is competing at a differentiation strategy. They increase the attractiveness of their products, making the products stand out so customers will purchase their products over another.
Apple’s strategic positioning choice is to have high valued electronics that all customers want. Apple products are unique compared to the rest of the world. This allows Apple to charge a higher price. Many people are willing to buy Apple products because they are well produced, have a high quality and are known as a luxury item to the customers of Apple. Apple’s main goal is to maximize all values for the firm. This includes increasing shareholder value in a legal, ethical and a socially responsible manner. Managers can increase the profitability of a firm by pursuing strategies that lower costs or by pursuing strategies that add value to the firm’s products. Managers can also increase the rate at which the firm’s profits grow over time by pursuing strategies to sell more products in existing markets or by pursuing strategies to enter new markets”. Apple is always looking at new ways to increase its value and shareholder profit. Our main strategy to increase profit is to add value, raise prices and to enter new markets.

Strategy of Apple Brand

The World Is an Apple

The World Is an Apple.
The play “The World is an Apple” is one of the most famous Filipino play by famed playwright, Alberto S. Florentino. In the story, it was shown how the main character Mario was forced to choose a path that he has long promised to not walk through again because of poverty. The story shows one sad reality of life that when an individual was backed up on a wall, he will do anything even if it’s not accepted in his society.
The scenario of the story is not far from what’s happening with members of our society now that due to limited educational attainment that would qualify them for a proper-paying job that would be adequate for their families’ needs. The sequence of the story and the technical aspect of the play should be commended. This has shown what Florentino is capable of. It’s as if that the fluidity of the dialogues used in the play could have no fault and it came freely out from the playwright’s mind into the sheets he spread out in front of him.
It’s no wonder that the play ” The World is an Apple” is still one of the most used plays in the Philippines. This is a story of how wrong decisions become greater burdens to a family. Mario’s family happens to be in the lower bracket of society. He cannot even provide for his family’s basic needs. Albeit all this hardships, his wife Gloria, still manages to keep her good virtuous. She insists that the way they are living is a much better than the one they will have if they do wrong acts. But Gloria’s entire constant reminder to Mario did not prosper.

Mario decided to come back to his old life of crime when he lost his job when he tried to steal an apple for his daughter. He keeps on insisting that his priority is to provide what his wife and daughter needs. He left with Pablo, his old crime buddy, even if Gloria pleaded very hard for him not to go with the man. This is a sad representation of what is happening in the society today. Due to lack of better opportunities to heighten one’s standard of living, some become entangled with the wrong crowd. By doing so, these individuals do not help their family at all; instead, they end up worsening their family’s problem.
It is man’s basic instinct that drives him towards his survival. But, no matter what, he should not forget that society expects him to conform to its norms. One’s action is weighed right or wrong and thus should be kept towards the proper action. Another User Said: “This is a story of how wrong decisions become greater burdens to a family. Mario’s family happens to be in the lower bracket of society. He cannot even provide for his family’s basic needs. Albeit all this hardships, his wife Gloria, still manages to keep her good virtuous.
She insists that the way they are living is a much better than the one they will have if they do wrong acts. But Gloria’s entire constant reminder to Mario did not prosper. Mario decided to come back to his old life of crime when he lost his job when he tried to steal an apple for his daughter. He keeps on insisting that his priority is to provide what his wife and daughter needs. He left with Pablo, his old crime buddy, even if Gloria pleaded very hard for him not to go with the man. This is a sad representation of what is happening in the society today.
Due to lack of better opportunities to heighten one’s standard of living, some become entangled with the wrong crowd. ” Another Users Summary: Mario’s family happens to be in the lower bracket of society. As Mario got home one night, Gloria, his wife, asked for money, which they needed to feed their daughter. Mario told her that he doesn’t have money. Gloria didn’t believe him, and asked him to tell the truth. Mario told his wife the truth – he was fired from his job. The reason is because of an apple. He stole an apple for his daughter because he thought that she would like it – this part shows his love for his daughter.
He left with Pablo, his old crime buddy, even if Gloria pleaded very hard for him not to go with the man. Another User Said: When Mario got home. Gloria saw Mario and she was asking for some money to feed there children to Mario. Mario said that he have no money because he did something. Gloria didn’t believe on what Mario said and said to tell the truth. When Mario answered it, Gloria was shocked on what she heard because Mario lost his job. Gloria asked Mario if how he lost his job and Mario answered it and Gloria was shocked again because Mario said that he lost his job because of an apple.
Gloria said that how can he loose his job by just taking one not a dozen not a crate but one apple and Mario answered that he just saw it rolling and he found himself putting it in his bag because Tita would love to have it, and Mario told Gloria that there’s no need to worry because he found a new job. Suddenly Pablo was there ruining the whole conversation and asked them if how is there daughter doing and he’ll loan a few pesos to help there daughter and Gloria said that no thank you because Mario stopped depending on Pablo.
Pablo said that Mario’s new job was with Pablo and when Gloria heard it he told Mario that it’s a bad doing and risky. But Mario didn’t listen and walks away with Pablo and told Gloria not to worry because he will come back early morning and don’t wait for him. Gloria cries and shouting Mario, while Tita was crying also because he heard the conversation. This story is written by a Filipino author Alberto Florentino and has many morals, but one major point stands out: no matter what circumstances you are facing in life (failed marriage, infidelity, illness, poverty) you have a role… responsibility and you have the power to choose to do the right thing; In the end we all have the power of choice. Plot Summary: An apple factory worker is fired from work after stealing an apple. He claims that he stole it to feed his sick daughter, what he left out is that he actually had been using his salary to pay for prostitutes, hence, the money that was intended for the family was diverted to satisfy his selfish desire for sex.

The World Is an Apple