IPhone 5: Operation Management and Supply Chain

Executive Summary

Apple Inc is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products globally. Besides the production of computers and other electronic products, this firm is also known for the production of phones. iPhone 5 is one of the newest series of phones that this firm has produced in the market. The phone is one of the Apple’s products that have been very successful in the market. This firm was able to sell 2 million pieces of iPhone within 24 hours after the launch. On the third day after launching this product, the sale of this product hit five million. The purchase of this new product within the initial stages was in the United States markets. There is a need to take this product to other parts of the world. It has been a success in the home market. It must be taken to the global market. The management must therefore come up with a supply chain strategy that will ensure that this product reaches the world market. The supply chain strategy that this firm should apply must enable the firm to distribute its products efficiently and at the least cost possible. The management should try to predict, and determine the markets where these products are popular. The management should then assess the purchasing power of the market before determining the volume of the products that should be taken to the market. This will ensure that iPhone is distributed successfully in the global market.

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Introduction

Apple Inc. is one of the most prosperous electronic firms in the world. Two scientists, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, started this firm on 1 April 1976. These individuals were electronic enthusiasts. They were interested in turning their skills in electronics into a large business unit. Steve Wozniak, popularly known as Woz, was an astute electrician with a keen interest in computers. It was during this time that computers were started. Steve Jobs on the other hand was a shrewd businessperson. Although Woz was more knowledgeable than Jobs in the art of designing computer hardware, Jobs was smatter in entrepreneurship. While Woz considered his skills in making computers as a hobby, Jobs saw a huge potential of stating a computer firm that would rival the then leading computer firm, the IBM. Jobs managed to convince Woz of the importance of commercializing their skills, and together, they started this company.

They later incorporated Ronald Wayne, a rich businessperson who came in to help the two financially. The trio formed a formidable force, which culminated into a company that is prosperous and very profitable. Although this company had various challenges that saw it eliminate its Chief Executive Officer, who was one of the founder members, in 1985, the firm was able to overcome these challenges using a number of strategies. Steve Jobs, having been forced out of the firm in 1985 as the chief executive, made a came-back in 1997 with strategies that transformed this firm to what it is currently. Evans (2012) says that Apple is one of the firms that were able to overcome the wave of.com crisis of the early twentieth century that brought down many firm, especially those that were computer based.

iPhone 5 is one of the most recent products that this firm has introduced into the market. This product has received a huge success in the American market. Within the first three days that this product was introduced into the market, the firm was able to sell 5 million pieces majorly in the American market. The management had to find the best approach of making this product reach other parts of the world. It has to develop a strategy would make it possible to distribute the product globally using the least cost possible, and at the fastest speed ever. The management must determine the market size and purchasing power before releasing the products. It must also determine other factors that may hinder successful operations in all the markets it targets before releasing the products.

Apple’s Strategy and its Importance

It is very important for a firm to understand clearly its strategies. The first step is always strategy formulation. The firm should then move to the implementation strategy before coming up with evaluation and control procedures. Apple is one of the current success stories in a group of companies that have managed to be successful in the face of increasingly competitive environment. This is attributed to its strategies that have helped it manage the competition in the electronic market. The world is being transformed with the emerging technologies. One of the defining technologies that are transforming the world into a global village is the communication technology. The phones and the internet have made communication very easy. This part of the current technology has transformed over the recent past, with new firms coming into play. The new supply chain strategy must consider this fact. Change is one of the most important factors that an organization must take into consideration when drawing its strategic goals and objectives.

Change is constant because it occurs continuously. This statement is intriguing yet it is the best definition of change based on a philosophical point of view. However, from an analytical perspective, change is constant. Apple must develop communication strategies that will ensure that the logistical process can be managed appropriately by the top management. Apple has managed to come up with new Smartphone, iPhone 5. This item has a huge market in the world. This product has received approval in the American market. Although it had some hitches, the market for this product is still very large. The world market for this product is also growing. This firm must make its move very fast and supply the product in the world market before its competitors can come up with a similar product. Chaston (2009) observes that the current world market is very competitive. This scholar notes that this competition is not only created by the fact that there are several firms producing the same product, but also the fact that customers are informed. The current customers are very knowledgeable and know exactly what they want. They have the knowledge of where to get that which they need and at what price. They know the available alternatives and this makes them more demanding. As such, turning these individuals into loyal customers of a firm is not easy. It forces a firm to develop a strategy that would enable it remain relevant in the market and even to suppliers. The supply chain team must therefore put this product at an advantaged position.

The Vision, Mission, and Objectives of Apple

The vision, mission, and objectives of a firm are the basic elements of strategic management. Bissoondoyal (2006) says that the main difference between a vision and a mission is that while the vision focuses on what the firm plans to achieve in future, mission statement is concerned with what the firm is doing now in order to achieve its objectives. The vision of a firm is always very important in charting the path to be taken by the firm. Apple’s vision statement clearly demonstrates the far this firm sees in the competitive electronic market. The vision statement of Apple came from a statement made by its founder and former chief executive, Steve Jobs. He argued that man is the creator of change in the world. As such, he should be above structures and systems, and not subordinate to them (Ferrell, 2011). This vision has seen this firm become very competitive. This has been its driving force in innovations and creativity. Based on this, the firm has ensured that it remains relevant in the market by introducing new products with advanced features.

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The mission statement of Apple may not pass as a standard mission statement. The mission statement represents a list of products that this firm produces. Moreover, it shows the strategies employed in ensuring that the firm remains competitive. However, by the close of this statement, another statement explains its commitment to students, educators, professionals, and general consumers in providing them with desirable products that are able to meet their desires.

Evaluation of the Company’s External Environment

In order to have a proper understanding of how to develop a proper supply chain strategy, it is important to understand the company’s external environment by scanning it. Environmental scanning is one of the best ways through which an individual can assess the potential of a market. There are three variables in the environment, which are the natural environment, societal environment and task environment. The natural environment variables include the climate, wildlife, and physical resources. Societal environment entails economic, political, technological, and socio-cultural forces. Task environment include the government, customers, employees, unions, creditors, suppliers, local community and competitors.

Environmental scanning can be done using STEEP Analysis. This involves the analysis of socio-cultural, technological, economic, ecological, and political environments.

The socio-cultural environment of Apple is diversified. This is because this firm operates in the global market. There are those countries that cherish equality, and women have equal economic strength just as men. In such countries, the firm does not segment the market based on sex, but age. The United States is one such country. However, other countries like Saudi Arabia have women as subordinates to men. It forces this firm to target the male members of the society because they have bigger purchasing power. The technological environment of this firm is very dynamic. Technology in mobile telephony and in computers has been the main challenge and strength of this firm at the same time. While this firm is left with nightmares of trying to guess what its competitors like the Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and Tecno among others are going to come up with overnight, it has used this technology to emerge as the leader in Smartphone market. Its recent introduction of iPhones 5 found other firms unawares. The dynamism of technology in this sector has made this firm be seen as the most innovative.

Economically, this firm has had both difficulties and opportunities. The firm has been faced with economic recession that hit various countries in the world, especially the US economy that makes its main market. This had serious negative effects on the firm’s revenues as many of the customers considered the products as non-basic. However, other seasons why the firm has experienced economic boom in various markets exist. This has increased its revenues. Currently, the United States, and many other countries making up the market of this firm are experiencing steady economic growth, making it have a favorable economic environment.

Politically, this firm has not met challenges in various countries that it operates. The United States of America, where its headquarters are located, is the leading democracy in the world. It has a very stable government that is supportive of business operations. China, where the firm does most of its productions, had some small political strife, but not enough to have significant negative impact to the firm. This has seen the firm prosper in most of its undertakings.

Legally, the firm has faced some major challenges. It is currently facing a litigation following the lawsuit filed by Samsung over copyright infringement on its iPhone 5. The laws that govern trade in the US, China and many other countries in the world have been very favorable to this firm. This is one of the few cases where this firm is facing serious litigation over infringement of a copyright. In most of its markets, especially in the emerging markets in Africa, parts of Asia and South America, this firm has met very friendly markets with laws that are conducive to foreign technological firms like it.

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Evaluation of the Company’s Internal Environment and Resources

Another very important aspect of a company is the internal environment. The internal environment of Apple can be approached by analyzing the core and distinct competencies. Taking this approach, there are five variables that can be analyzed.

The first approach is the analysis of the firm’s tangible and intangible resources. Apple has various tangle asserts. The firm has its headquarters in California, US. In its headquarters, the firm has a huge building called Apple Campus where many of its offices are housed. The firm has other facilities in China where part of its production is done. As at October 2011, this firm had a record 364 stores spread across the world. Within that year, this company had 60400 people employed directly in its facilities, and hundreds of thousands others employed indirectly in various locations in the world. The firm has various products like phones and personal computers, which they sell in various markets around the world (Gerber, 2008). By the end of 2011, the total asserts base of this firm was estimated to be US$ 116.371 billion. Of the intangible assert, its most expensive assert is the brand name of the company. In 2011, Apple brand was ranked second, after Google, with a net worth of US$ 39301, beating some of the world’s giant firms like Microsoft, the Coca Cola, the General Electric, Wal-Mart and even IBM.

Other than the resources, another factor that is important to note when assessing the internal environment is the ability to exploit fully the resources it has. This firm moved most of its production units to China where there is cheap labor compared to the United States. It has been in a position to exploit this labor fully. The firm has also been able to exploit the non-human resources to make some of the most admired products in the world. It has also managed to control its supplies of the products they get. This firm also has advantage in this industry because it has both explicit and tactic knowledge in the productions of the phones and personal computers.

The Five Competitive Strategies Used by this Company

This firm uses various competitive strategies in the market in order to manage competition that is very rife in this industry. First, the firm has employed two of the porter’s competitive strategy of low cost and differentiation. The firm moved its production from US to China in order to cut the cost of production. China, unlike the US, has cheap labor that would eventually translate to lower cost of production. This makes it easy for this firm to sell its products at lower prices but still make profits (Gountas, & Mavudo, 2008). Other than the cost strategy, the other strategy that this firm has employed is the differentiation strategy. This firm has made their products unique. Some of its present products are differentiated from other conventional products in the market, making it acquire a special niche within the industry. The iPhone 5 is a product that is yet to find its rival in its special niche.

The timing tactic of this firm in launching new products has also been superb. This firm always come with a new product at such times that the market feels that they need a better product to serve their current needs. It introduced the iPhone when the market needed a better phone with so many integrated features. This has seen their new products receive huge acceptance in various markets when introduced. The firm has also been keen to employ cooperation strategy whenever needed. During its early years, it formed a joint venture with Microsoft when it realized that its computer languages were not efficient enough to make competitive products in the market. This strategic alliance saw it gain market share both in the home markets and abroad. It also enhanced its distribution process.

This firm has also been able to implement Porters five forces. To tackle the threat of new competition, the firm has been keen on producing new products to rival those of new competitors. To manage the threat of substitute products, Apple has developed different lines of products to satisfy different markets so that it may not be adversely affected if substitute products invade one line. To increase its bargaining power with the buyers, it has continued to produce high-end products with qualities that make it easy for the customers to appreciate their high prices (Handlechner, 2008). To increase their bargaining power with the suppliers, it has created a scenario where it is a single buyer with various sellers. This makes it able to dictate the terms of buying the products. To counter the intensity of competition, it has been able to acquire a special niche in this market, rendering its competitors irrelevant as their products are turned into mere substitutes of this company’s products.

How the Company Strengthens its Competitive Position: the Strategic Moves

In the current competitive market, Apple has employed a series of strategies that would ensure that it remains relevantly competitive in this market. The first strategy it has used is the marketing strategy. In this strategy, this firm has tried to sell its products at prices that would bring in as many of the customers as possible. Although the company has some of its products sold at premium prices, it has a number of its products sold at fair prices that can be afforded by the middle class members of the society. Under this strategy, this firm has ensured that its distribution of the products is efficient and effective to cut down further the cost of delivering the products to the customer.

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Another strategy used by this firm to manage competition is market development strategy. In this strategy, the firm has struggled to ensure that it increases its market share in the world market. This has been done through market penetration in the new markets where this firm had not made entries. The firm has also developed new markets and new users for its products. It created new users by developing the machines that could be used in the airports and other sensitive places for security check-ups. It also developed new markets by developing cheaper products that could be afforded by new markets at the lower niche of the market.

Taking the product strategy, this firm has ensured that most of their products are up to the market expected standards. This firm has been keen to ensure that most of its products are not only of good quality but also of the right specifications in terms of size.

In its research and extension unit, this firm has been very creative. It has been voted as one of the most innovative firms in the world for a number of years. It has been keen to introduce new products into the market at regular intervals.

Strategies Used by Apple to Compete in International and Domestics Markets

Understanding Apple’s strategies in the domestic and international market can help define the best supply chain strategy to use in each market. The domestic market of Apple is the United States. This market is also home market for other giant computer manufactures like the IBM (Hill, & Jones, 2010). For this reason, the level of competition is very high. The world market is also very competitive for there are numerous firms that have mastered the art of producing the computers and phones around the world. Various Chinese firms have been able to mimic the technologies used by this firm to produce phones with similar features but at very cheap prices because they use simpler technology with cheaper resources. This therefore forces this firm to develop competitive procedures both at the local and international markets to ensure that it remains competitive in the market.

Strategically sweet sport is one of the avenues that this firm has embraced both locally and internationally. It has taken advantage that its new products are able to satisfy its customers in a way that other rival firms cannot. This has attracted it a sea of loyal customers.

Strategic windows make another strategy that this firm has employed. Through innovative minds, this firm has been in a position to develop new products in the world market to serve different new markets. An instance is the security gadget they develop to help in detecting weaponry at the airport. This strategic window has earned it a lot of revenue in not only the local market, but also the international markets.

Corporate Strategy Used by Apple for Diversification and Multi-business

Hooley (2008) says that it is risky for a large business unit to specialize in a single area of production and a single supply chain strategy. It is important that a firm develop different lines of products that can cushion it in case one of the lines is experiencing a dry spell. Apple stated out as a computer-manufacturing firm. However, as time went by, this firm realized the importance of diversification of its products. Taking research and development as one of the important aspects of the firm, Apple has managed to develop new products to the market, extending its line of production. The firm currently has a series of products targeting various markets. Some of these products include the iPod, iMac, iPhone, iCloud, Apple TV and a series of software. This has enabled this firm to operate as a multi-business firm. This way, it is able to reap maximally from one line in case the other experiences a low season. In its early year, it entered into a partnership with Microsoft to ensure diversification of its products. This resulted in huge profits, though this partnership later collapsed. This firm has also been committed to coming up with new supply chain strategies in the market to ensure that its products reaches the market within the required time.

Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environment Sustainability Used by Apple

In order to have a wide market coverage, Apple should develop a positive relationship with societies in which it operates. It is after developing a positive relationship with customers that this firm would be in the best position to develop supply chain strategy in this market. Ethics, morality, and law are some of the ingredients in a business set up that a firm cannot assume its importance. A business unit has responsibilities that it has to fulfill in order to be seen as a moral firm. McLaughlin and Aaker (2010) reports on Carroll’s four responsibilities. These include economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary measures. The firm has economic responsibility to its owners. Apple has been very responsible to its shareholders. The firm has been paying regular dividends to the shareholders, making them have good value for their investment in the firm. Legally, this firm has respected laws and regulations that are put in place to protect such asserts as patents. It has been keen to ensure that it adheres to the set laws on patent and copyrights.

Apple is one of the most ethical electronic firms in the world. There has been a clarion call for the world’s major manufacturers to cut down on their emission of greenhouse gases into the environment. It is only a few firms, Apple being among them, that have taken a positive reaction to this call. It recently launched a corporate social responsibility to help clean the environment in selected cities around the world. It has also sponsored planting of trees in various countries around the world, especially in emerging nations in Africa, Asia and other parts of South America. It has also endeavored to employ the locals in various locations where it operates. This is to ensure that it is responsible to the locals as much as possible. The firm has also maintained morality and ethics among its employees. It has encouraged ethical behavior among its workforce by defining specific code of conduct for all its employees. This way, its employees are able to asses themselves and determine if they are on the right path as far as their behavior is concerned.

The company has also respected the whistleblowers’ role. When one of the mid management employee reported on the inapplicability of Steve Jobs policies and his excessive pressure on employee when he was the chief executive, the board of directors sent the C.E.O packing, an act that not many firms may attempt. This was a utilitarian approach to ethics where actions are judged by their consequences. The firm also respects individual’s rights in the firm irrespective of the position held. Justice and fairness is one other guiding principle in the firm that has been relevant to the firm’s current success.

Building a Good Strategy Execution, People, and Capability Structure

Strategy can only be beneficial if it is implemented properly. Some of the pertinent issues that must be determined in the implementation process include determination of what is to be done, who to do which task, and how the entire team would work as a unit in the process of achieving its goals. In its mission statement, Apple is very clear on what is to be done (Montiel, 2011). It says that the firm is determined to customer satisfaction by availing products that meets and exceeds customer expectations. On who should be responsible for the implementation, the firm has its workforce specialized in various duties, ensuring that none of the units overlaps its duties to the other’s and no given task remains unallocated. This has ensured that the firm runs in a very smooth manner. In its mission to ensure that all its employees work as a team, the firm has ensured that all the employees, master the vision of the firm so that in their respective tasks, they know where the firm aims to be at in the near future. They will appreciate the fact that they are working as a team towards the same direction, with each member of the team having a specific role to play.

Managing Internal Operations for Good Strategy Execution

Internal operations should be managed if a firm expects to have a good strategy execution. One aspect of managing internal operations is through integration of managers. Apple has been able to create a pool of flexible managers who not only have deep knowledge of the firm, but also the ability to work with cross-functional teams, are willing to work independently, and have sufficient knowledge on cultural and emotional diversity within the environment. This team has seen Apple attract talented employees for they know that the company will take care of them. Another important issue is the staffing strategy.

This industry is very competitive. As such, it requires employees who are dynamic, creative, and very knowledgeable in their respective postings. In the current competitive world, this firm can only afford to hire the best if it hopes to beat its rivals like the IBM and HP who are giving it stiff competition in this industry. The employees have also been made to appreciate corporate culture as one of the most important qualities of success in the corporate world. Under very rare occasions, Apple has considered downsizing their employee base to cut the cost of production.

Managing Good Corporate Culture and Leadership for Excellent Strategy Execution

Apple is an international firm that operates in many countries. It encounters different corporate cultures in different countries where it operates. In order to ensure harmony in its operations, it has employed assimilation of different cultures into its system. Some of the cultures have also been integrated into its system just to ensure that it has a rich cultural background that can be implemented by every member of the organization. The culture of this firm is that integration starts with the management (Viardot, 2004). The management should develop a deep understanding of each culture to be integrated into the system so that they are able to lead other employees in understanding and implementing it.

Market Review

According to Evans (2012), the market for Smartphone has been on a constant rise in the world market. Emerging technologies are changing the social structure of societies around the world. Communication has become very important in the lives of different individuals in the world. In the office, people currently use Smartphone as an easy way of data storage. It is also useful in preparing various documents within the office. Back at home, Smartphone are very useful for entertainment, especially as a form of social networking. To a student, Smartphone will be useful in performing various tasks that are related to their studies, including research.

With this massive growth of the market for this product, various firms have come out with various brands of Smartphone to tap on the growing opportunity for this product. Apple has been one of the leading firms that have been considered as the leading manufacturers of Smartphone. Apple is facing a serious market competition from Samsung in the manufacture and sale of Smartphone in the United States and other overseas countries. Samsung has proven to be the main threat of Apple in this industry for a number of reasons. The United States still remains that most attractive market for the iPhones. The market is large enough, and the purchasing power is strong enough to support the industry Gountas and Mavudo (2008).

Both Apple and Samsung are attracted to the American market. They have both received acceptance in this market. They therefore enjoy the same privileges in this market. The second reason that makes Samsung a serious challenger of Apple in the market is the niche it has acquired. Samsung has also positioned its products as high end products. When Samsung introduced its laptops in the market, they were marketed as high end products, and their prices reflected the same. However, this firm is changing its tact in the market. It is spreading its target to other segments. It is now targeting the middle class consumers with products having fair prices, but still holding to its initial market proposition. This was after realization that this class has the majority of consumers of personal computers.

Apple has been keen with its supply chain strategy. According to Ferrell (2011), one of the most powerful tools that this firm has in the market is the ability to reach out for the customers with the desired product in the best way possible. The management of Apple has come to realize that this is one of the strongest tools as a way of developing competitive advantage in the market. The following pie chart shows the market share of different lap top brands in the market today.

Market Share for Different Brands of Laptop

Smartphone Market Share
Figure 1. Smartphone Market Share

From the chart above, it is clear that Apple is the leading manufacturer of Smartphone in the world. However, recent reports indicate that Apple is dropping its position and new brands like Samsung are set to take the lead in the market. With a market share of about 24%, this firm is the largest manufacturer of laptops in the current market. However, the recent incidents are poised to change these figures. The emerging trends are favouring this firm while hurting others. Apple is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the emerging technologies in the current market (Gountas, & Mavudo, 2008). It has become very popular, especially among the college students.

New Supply Chain Strategy for iPhone 5

The trend shown in the above diagram clearly indicates that Apple is increasingly becoming popular in the world market, especially the youths in various parts of the world. Youths make the largest markets for iPhones. In Europe, over 60 percent of the youths use Smartphone. The percentage is slightly higher in the United States. However, this percentage is rising on a yearly basis. Such emerging markets like parts of Asia and in Africa have also seen a rise in the use of Smartphone such as iPhones among youths. The graph above shows that Apple is the most preferred Smartphone brands, such as the iPhones. Samsung is one of the strongest competitors of Apple, especially its recent slim design. This makes Samsung the strongest competitor of Apple in the laptop market (Bissoondoyal, 2006). Apple must ensure that it distributes its products to all the markets around the world. The products must reach the world market fast enough when it is still cherished.

The supply chain strategy would emphasize on speed. The iPhone must reach the market in the fastest speed possible. This is one of the ways of beating competition. The possibility that the competitor like Samsung will come up with a similar product is very high. In order to thwart such a possibility, it would be important for this firm to realize that the market for such products can easily be swayed. The management has the responsibility of ensuring that this product reaches all the intended market within the shortest period and in the best shape. According to Hill and Jones (2010), Apple is considered one of the best brands of Smartphone in the market today. However, the firm lacks a clear strategy to distribute its products in the emerging markets. Although the firm has clear supply chain strategy in the American markets and some selected markets in Europe, it lacks a clear strategy on how to handle the emerging markets.

In this new strategy, Apple Inc will open up branches in various markets around the world. The firm will be releasing its products from the manufacturing plants in China and the United States direct to these selected stores around the world. The stores will have the responsibility of ensuring that the product reaches the final retailers (Hill, & Jones, 2010). These outlets will be managed by employees of Apple Inc. They will be directly responsible to the top management of this firm. However, they will be controlling all the operational activities of Apple Inc in the various regions. They will act as the correspondence of the head office of this firm. In this new strategy, Apple will try to integrate all the units of production to ensure that the process of developing and delivering products to the customers is well coordinated. The diagram below shows the structure of this new supply chain.

Supply Chain Management for Apple’s iPhone in the World Market

Supply Chain Management for Apple’s iPhone in the World Market
Figure 2. Supply Chain Management for Apple’s iPhone in the World Market

The above supply chain activities will be integrated so that the management can be in a position to satisfy the needs of the markets where it sells its products. Before any purchase can be done, the production unit must be well informed of the products that the market needs. In this case, a product (iPhone 5) is already manufactured ready for sale. The inventory will have to be properly managed. The new regions around the world where will receive orders for the product and determine how the product will reach customers. These new branches will have the full mandate of ensuring that all the necessary transaction are done to ensure that iPhone 5 is sold off to the customers. The following are some of the activities that involve this new strategy.

Inventory Management

It is important that the movement of this product be well managed within this firm in order to achieve the desired results. The following model shows the chain of distribution for this product.

Inventory Management
Figure 3. Inventory Management

Once the iPhone 5 is released from the manufacturing plant, it will be dispatched to various regional stores around the world. These regional stores will be responsible for warehousing the product once it is delivered. According to Viardot (2004), this would need these stores to have proper facilities that can ensure that this process is successful. McLaughlin and Aaker (2010) observe that it is important for the management to ensure that products reach the market in time when the customers are still attracted to the product. The firm should try to incorporate three strategies to ensure that this is a success. The three strategies include personal selling, direct marketing, and public relations.

Personal Selling

Personal selling is will be important when the product is first introduced into the market. Hill and Jones (2010) define personal selling as a strategy where a firm engages sales agents to sell its products to the consumers. Personal selling is very reliable when selling highly involving goods. Some products may require the seller to explain to the buyer how the product is used. Sales agents are therefore, required for this task. Although it may be considered expensive, explains that personal selling is very important because it allows for a personal relationship with the customer. A customer can easily be convinced to buy this product because of this personal relationship. Computer firms such as Apple have not considered using personal selling as the best strategy of reaching out for the customers, especially due to the size of the market. This strategy is very efficient when the size of the market is relatively small. Both firms operate in a global market. Applying this strategy in a global market can be very challenging.

Public Relations

According to Hooley (2008), it is always important to maintain a positive relationship with the public. Public relations help a firm in maintaining a positive image in the market. This scholar says that firms (irrespective of their size), needs to maintain a positive relationship with the public in order to operate in the market successfully. One of the factors that make public relation very important is the need to manage negative propaganda that may be leveled against the firm. The market has gotten so competitive that firms are using every available strategy to win the competition. This involves spreading wrong message to the public about the firm. Montiel (2011) recalls the incident that forced Steve Jobs to quite working at Apple before he was recalled to head the firm. It was alleged that he was careless when working with the employees. This did not only make him lose favor with the employees. It also resulted in a negative public image of the firm. This message was highly distorted in the face of the public. Apple was considered as an oppressive firm by the local market. The only solution that could save the firm from this was to force Steve Jobs to quite working with the firm (Gerber, 2008). Public relation department also had to convince the public that this firm had implemented policies that are meant to improve working conditions of its employees.

Direct Marketing

Apple may need to employ direct marketing in some selected markets in Europe and United States. Direct marketing is important in the current competitive market. However, this strategy is not very easy when a firm produces in mass. Direct marketing, just like personal selling, involves sending specific individuals to the market to engage consumers directly. In this case however, the individual sent to the market must be an employee of the firm. As Ferrell (2011) puts it, it is a situation where a firm bypasses all the intermediaries to sell its products directly to the customers. A firm like Dell or Apple may not find this strategy very relevant. Although the strategy may be useful when test marketing some products, the strategy will be limited to just that: test marketing. It may not go beyond this. ChastonI (2009) says that Dell has global market coverage. This makes it very complex to apply direct marketing because it may be challenging to open their facility in every city where their product is sold. However, the strategy can be very appropriate for firms selling high end products, and have exclusive outlets in various cities around the world where their products can be sold.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Apple has come out as a very strong firm and brand in the Smartphone market. It has created a huge impact among the youths who currently consider it as the best brand for the iPhones. Although Samsung and other brands have put a spirited fight in this market, it is evident that it is yet to match the strategy applied by Apple. With the current rate of competition in the market, Apple has to re-strategize in order to retain its market share. It has to come up with a unique supply chain plan that will enable it deliver its iPhones to the market in the best way possible. It must create a scenario where this product is always readily available to its customers in the market. It must clearly zone the market, and then determine how each zone can best be satisfied. It should embrace diversified strategies in the market in order to ensure that it remains a step ahead of its competitors in the market. The following are some of the recommendations it should take into consideration.

  • Market segmentation: Apple should conduct a massive market research and then segment its market according to various demographical factors.
  • After a successful segmentation of the market, this firm should then consider market segments that it can meet its needs in the best way. It should then target them with appropriate products.
  • The firm should then determine the distance between the manufacturing plant and the market. This would be the basis upon which the firm would determine the best way to transport the products.
  • The firm should then use the best means of transport depending on the distance from the manufacturing plant.
  • The regional offices should make an effort to ensure that the process of ferrying the product from the manufacturing plant to their warehouses is enhanced. This should be made as easy as possible to enable quick distribution of goods. Products should reach consumers at the convenient time. They should then ensure that these products reach the outlets within the expected time.

References

Bissoondoyal, U. (2006). Total quality management: a practical approach. London: New Age International.

Chaston, I. (2009). New Marketing Strategies: Evolving Flexible Processes to Fit Market Circumstance. London: Sage Publications.

Evans, D. (2012). Social media marketing an hour a day. Indianapolis: Wiley.

Ferrell, C. (2011). Marketing Strategy. New York: Cengage Learning.

Gerber, K. (2008). Marketing communication. Cape Town: Pearson Education.

Gountas, J., & Mavudo, F. (2008). Marketing Strategy: A Decision-Focused Approach. North Ryde: McGraw-Hill.

Handlechner, M. (2008). Marketing Strategy. Munich: GRIN Verla.

Hill, C., & Jones, G. (2010). Strategic management theory: an integrated approach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Hooley, G. (2008). Marketing Strategy and Competitive Positioning. Harlow: Prentice Hall.

McLaughlin, D., & Aaker, D. (2010). Strategic market management: global perspective. Chichester: Wiley.

Montiel, P. (2011). Macroeconomics in emerging markets. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Viardot, E. (2004). Successful Marketing Strategy for High-Tech Firms. Boston: Artech House.

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