Apple's Supply Chain Meltdown - Global Trade Magazine
  April 10th, 2015 | Written by

Apple’s Supply Chain Meltdown

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  • Apple Watch debuted Friday.
  • Customers can order but won't receive the Watch until summer.
  • Apple supply chain seems to have failed the Watch, but customers don't seem to mind.
  • Executive confirms Apple Watch not available until June

[UPDATE] As originally reported here, Apple executives confirmed Thursday that the Apple Watch will not be available to customers until June. No specific date in June was given. In an email to retail employees, Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales, referenced the positive response to the product while glossing over the fact that it will not be in customers’ hands for at least two months after the originally announced April 24 delivery date.

Apple Watch Watch … History, according to Mel Brooks, teaches us that it’s good to be the king. That certainly is true in business where, one could argue, the crown is affixed firmly atop the folks at Apple given that by some metrics it is the most profitable company in the history of money. That kind of success owes much to customer loyalty bordering on cult-like devotion and that devotion is due to such cutting edge, beautifully designed devices as Apple Watch which hit stores Friday.

Customers with an appointment could try on various models of the Apple Watch which range in price from $350 to $17,000. They couldn’t actually buy the watch, no, they were told to take it for a spin, then put it back, go home, order it online and then sit tight until June, maybe July, for the object of their desire to show up. News outlets, which seem about as gaga over Apple as its customers, explained that there was just so much demand. Nary one of them thought to mention that for practically any other company, the idea of announcing a product and then telling customers they can look, even touch, but not buy would be the height of hubris, incompetence or something else.

Supply Chain Management Meltdown

We’re guessing it’s the latter and that is a chink in the Apple Watch’s supply chain.  Consider that the watch was announced last year, before Christmas, but wasn’t ready in time for the holidays. It was then announced to debut in March, and then it didn’t. It was then given its April 10 drop date with customers told they could get the actual watch two weeks later. Two weeks has turned into two months, maybe three.

And please don’t say that any company would have a hard time keeping up with the demand. That’s what companies do. McDonald’s made a pretty popular burger for a few decades and never seemed to run out; Henry Ford always managed to keep Model Ts available.

iWatch?

And this is the first bit of what appears to be mismanagement or just poor planning in regards to the Apple Watch. Ever wonder why the device isn’t called iWatch? That’s because as recently as the summer of 2012, the trademark for iWatch was available and would be scooped up by the California-based OMG Electronics  which intended to crowd source funding to develop a mobile device that one could wear on their wrist.

Ultimately, OMG raised less than $1,500 (omg!) but one has to wonder how the company of the iPod, iPad and iPhone, would ever let the name get away in the first place?

Of course, none of this will matter. Apple Watch will have huge sales and so no one will pay any attention to the fact that Apple seems to be doing a lot of things wrong, not when they ultimately turn out so right.


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