Operations and Supply Chain Management Assignment Requirements
Operations and Supply Chain Management
In the current throat cutting competitive environment, organizations are finding it extremely challenging to maintain their competitive advantage over others. This also includes your organization (choose any organization and one of its product/service, e.g. Apple’s Iphone 6). Your competitors are able to offer product/service with identical features and at a very competitive price. Your CEO is concerned about the future of the company and has called a meeting to discuss about the future plan of action.
You are working in the Operations and Supply Chain Management Group/Function in your company. You have been nominated by your Line Manager to prepare a report by analysing the current trends, operations and supply chain capabilities of the company, current and future operations strategy, and potential opportunities to sustain and grow the business.
Your responsibility as the Operations and Supply Chain Manager is to prepare a report for the meeting by applying your critical thinking and analysis, considering the current difficulties and future opportunities for the company.
Your report shall emphasise the following from an Operations and Supply Chain perspective:
1) Analyse the process dimensions of your product/service and compare to the process dimensions of a competing product/ service (For example, Samsung’s Note 4). (30 marks)
2) Identify the key Quality Characteristics of your product/ service and compare it to the Quality Characteristics of the competing product/service. (30 marks)
3) Evaluate your current position in the supply chain. Also evaluate the options of moving upstream, downstream, vertical integration in the supply chain. List the factors that will hinder and/or facilitate the proposed move. (40 marks)
Overall word limit, 2500 words maximum.
Supply Chain Management: Analyzing Business Competition in the Current World
The current business world features cut-throat competition at all
levels. More so, the utterly competitive business environment extends across
all industrial sectors across the world. That is, from processing and
manufacturing business sectors all the way to service and agriculture business
sectors. In light of the above, the intention of the report below is to analyze
some of the major elements in the current competitive that an executive in one
company must understand to efficiently handle the competition and help his
company to survive the cut throat competition in the company’s particular
business sector. Specifically, the report analyses the process dimensions of
one our products, the iPhone 6, with a close competing product, the Samsung
Galaxy S6 by Samsung Company from Korea. The report also identifies the key
quality characteristics in both products. Most importantly, the evaluation of
the position in the supply chain for both products features as well.
Our company, Apple Inc, is a leading multinational technology company that has been in the global limelight for over four decades. Concerning the essentials of this report, the primary focus is on the Smartphone sector. Our company’s signature Smartphone product is the iPhone. The iPhone, right from the first model at the beginning of the new millennium, has competed rather successfully amongst other products from various other multinationals that manufacture and retail Smartphones as well. Amongst all the competitors of our company, Samsung Electronics, a South Korean multinational electronics giant, is the closest. It is from the above that this report features its product as the best specimen to apply in the analysis, evaluation and determination of the current and the projected future of our company’s Smartphone competitive position. The most recent Smartphones from our business as well as from Samsung Electronics are the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6, respectively. Consequently, the content of this report finds its basis upon these two products.
Process Dimension Analysis
In every business operation across all industrial sectors, there are various factors that affect the way consumers choose one product over a similar product by a competing product. In light of the above, the process dimensions are one of the very essential aspects that come to play when buyers decide to buy the iPhone 6 or the Samsung Galaxy S6. Essentially, there are quite some significant distinctions between the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 regarding the process dimensions (Parker, 2015).
One of the main process dimension aspects utterly necessary to Smartphone consumers is the design. Design wise, the iPhone 6 features a slim 6.9mm thickness. It weighs 129g and is available in the following colors: silver, gold, anodized aluminum black, as well as space grey. Right to the cut-throat competition, the Samsung Galaxy S6s features a similar thickness of 6.9mm. It adds to the variety of colors featuring more colors such as white, sapphire, platinum, as well as topaz. However, it is relatively heavier at 138g (Parker, 2015). For the first time, Samsung Electronics has made a phone that is truly a match for our iPhone Smartphones about the design philosophies.
Another very critical element of process dimensions concerning Smartphones is the screen. The rationale of the above finds its basis in the fact that most delivery of the services from the Smartphones to their users happens though their screens (Spoonauer, 2015). In light of the above, the iPhone 6’s screen stands at 4.7 inches and displays 326 pixels per inch at the brightness of 504 units. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S6 features a 5.1-inch screen size with 577 pixels per unit that display at 536 units of brightness. In light of the above, the Samsung Galaxy S6 offers an excellent resolution and a relatively larger screen suitable for better browsing of the web as well as in the display of videos. However, the iPhone 6 uses LCD screens while the Samsung Galaxy opts for the OLED (Parker, 2015). Consequently, the iPhone 6 delivers stronger viewing angle and a higher color accuracy.
The performance also features as an essential process dimension element that affects the choice of consumers of Smartphones. In light of the above, the competition between the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 has a sound basis resulting from the performance details in each o the above two products. The iPhone 6 operates under the punchy A8 CPU designed and manufactured by our company, featuring a 64-bit dual-core chip. Additionally, it has a pretty fast GPU that is perfectly backed-up by 1 gigabyte of RAM. The Samsung Galaxy S6 uses the powerful Snapdragon 810 processor found in other competitors such as LG and HTC. The above processor features a 64-bit chip as well. However, the Samsung Galaxy has three times more the RAM of the iPhone 6, at 3 gigabytes. More so, the Samsung Galaxy uses DDR4 memory compared to the DDR3 in the iPhone 6, making its RAM 80% faster than that of the iPhone 6 (Spoonauer, 2015). Figure 1 below compares the speed of the Samsung Galaxy S6, the iPhone and other Smartphone RAM speeds.
Another important element of the process dimensions in the Smartphone industry is the storage. In light of the above, the iPhone 6 features products with either16, 64 or 128 gigabytes storage capacity. Closely related, the Samsung Galaxy S6 offers products starting 32 and including the 64 and 128-gigabyte storage capacity. Notably, both the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 do not support the micro SD card external storage possibility. Ideally, the development in the storage dimension worked in the opposite since the iPhone dropped the 32-gigabyte starter product and replaced it with the 16 gigabytes while Samsung Galaxy dropped its 16-gigabyte starter product and replaced it with the 32 gigabytes (Parker, 2015).
Last but not least, an essential element of process dimension that determines the choice of products by Smartphone users is the software incorporated into the competing products (Parker, 2015). In light of the above, the iPhone 6 sticks to the proprietary software by our company and uses the iOS 8.4 operating software. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S6 sticks to the open source software and uses the Android Lollipop 5.0.2 operating system – enhanced with the TouchWiz user interface (Spoonauer, 2015).
Ideally, there are quite some elements relating to the process dimensions that exist between the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy. However, the ones that appear above are the ones that form a firm basis for the healthy competition between the above two products amongst the users of high-end Smartphones from the entire globe.
Key Quality Characteristics Identification
In as much as the process dimensions provide a direction towards the aggressive tendency among alternative products in any industrial sector, it is the essential characteristics of the particular products that draw the lines on which are the leading product in the given industrial sectors. Notably, both the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy are high-end Smartphones that are the leaders and the measuring sticks for the rest of the competitors in the entire global Smartphone industrial sector. In light of the above, it is the specific key characteristics in the above Smartphones that have helped to put them at the top of the industry. More so, it is the key components in each of the two products that trigger the cutthroat competition that exists between the two Smartphone leaders. Figure 2 below the striking physical similarity between the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6.
One of the key characteristics identified in both the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 is the design of the Smartphones. Like in the prior models and versions of the iPhone Smartphone line, the iPhone 6 has an excellent design (Shanklin, 2015). The iPhone 6 features stainless steel and glass on its body with a very smooth but sturdy body and superbly rounded edges. The glass display curves superbly meet the rest of the phone’s chassis in a manner that articulates a unified and aesthetic design. The feel of the Samsung Galaxy S6 is somewhat similar to that of the iPhone regarding smoothness, sturdiness and curved edges. Additionally, the Samsung Galaxy gives the iPhone a run for its money on the fact that it comes in relatively more and relatively colors in the pursuit of meeting the tastes of every current and prospective customer of the Samsung Galaxy brand of Smartphones (Spoonauer, 2015).
Despite the screen of the Smartphones being one of the most utilized feature, the initial purpose of the phone still functions as an important aspect in the Smartphones and thus very relevant – voice communication. The characteristic of the audio delivery of the Smartphones is a key element that has a significant role in determining the competitive advantage existing between the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6. Both the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 have their speakers at the bottom of the devices (Shanklin, 2015). At that point, the speakers are very much suited for the delivery of audio messages especially during the making of calls directly –without the use of other external peripherals such as earphones.
At the height of the completion between the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 is the interface. Apple’s iOS 8 featured in the iPhone 6 is overly flexible and super easy to use. There is the possibility to swap the default keyboard with more fancy ones from the Apple Store; various photo extension apps enhance the utility of the camera; the spotlight provides efficiently relevant results from sites such as Wikipedia as well as Maps. The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a relatively easy and consumer friendly interface too. Specifically, the TouchWiz interface has makes the Samsung Galaxy S6 more user-friendly on the fact that all the settings both on the home screen and the menu screen are less cluttered compared to the prior models in the Samsung Galaxy line (Shanklin, 2015).
Last but not the least, is the applications available in the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6. The iPhone 6 features more and better applications such as Periscope, Clear, Hyperlapse apps, Dark Sky, among others. Ideally, developers favor Apple Inc a lot thus despite the fact that Android offers over 80% of the world’s Smartphone apps, all the best apps first make it in the Apple Store – the application store for the iPhone 6 (Shanklin, 2015).
In short, there is a relatively high competition between the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 with the proponents of either basing their decisions according to the most outstanding characteristics in each. Overall, the iPhone 6 leads regarding characteristics such as audio, the interface and the apps. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S6 has a relative upper hand regarding characteristics such as the camera, performance and display.
Evaluation of Current Position in Supply Chain
Our company, Apple Inc, is most definitely a global supply chain leader. On all the processes involved in the manufacturing of the iPhone 6 up to the distribution and delivery of the consumers, Apple Inc has continued to foster improvements that make the company a global leader in the supply chain. The company has taken the right steps in the management of global supply chain taking utterly good care of all the suppliers within it. Ideally, Apple Inc has successfully established a superbly formalized list of expectations which in turn helps in the creation of exclusive agreements that guarantee both quality and volume in the production process (University Alliance, 2016).
In the case of the iPhone 6, the supply chain is quite wide and extends to a global perspective. The design and development of the iPhone 6 production happen in the United States. The sourcing of the specific parts necessary to manufacture the Smartphones is from parts of Europe, Asia, China, as well as the United States. The actual manufacturing and assembly of the parts towards making the iPhone 6 final products happens in China. Afterwards, the warehousing takes place back in the United States. Finally, the distribution takes place globally (Compare Camp, 2014). Figure 3 below shows the supply chain process for the iPhone 6.
Concerning the vertical integration in the supply chain, it is notable that the Apple Inc features a full integration especially on the iPhone 6. The rationale behind the above conclusion finds its basis in the fact that Apple Inc is present at every level of the production as well as the distribution of the iPhone 6. With the provision of the raw materials, Apple Inc. is the maker of the iOS operating system and the A8 CPU used by the iPhone 6, among others. More so, Apple Inc makes the design of the product and oversees the manufacturing processes as they take place in China. On marketing, Apple Inc undertakes massive global campaigns to promote the iPhone 6 in the pursuit of increasing the sales turnover of the above Smartphone across the entire world. Finally, Apple Inc provides sales services for iPhone 6 users. The users have efficient access to helpful information regarding various aspects of the iPhone 6 by way of consulting online Apple Inc representative, agents in physical addresses, as well as by way of finding help in the conveniently stuffed Apple Store.
On the vertical integration of the supply chain, it is possible to make adjustments by either going upstream or going downstream (Jurevicius, 2016). About the case of the iPhone 6, it is advisable for Apple Inc to move upstream. By undertaking an upstream step in the supply chain, that is, getting involved more regarding making more intermediate goods for itself and taking over its suppliers, Apple would be able to cut down some of the costs that come with the current outsourcing for most intermediate parts in Asia. More so, such a move would be very useful in the bossing of the economy of Apple Inc’s home country, the United States. However, there would be quite some shortcomings with such a move. To start with, most of the suppliers that provide most essential parts in the iPhone 6 are specialist companies in the Asian continent that have long experience in the production of the parts they supply. It would, therefore, take Apple Inc more money and time to make high-quality parts of the same class such as those of the current Asian suppliers. There would be the need to establish new industries and hiring expatriate labour to work in the United States at further costs. In light of the above, the short-run costs would be so huge that it would take Apple Inc several years to offset finally the expenses and break-even.
The dynamics of competition in the business world keep increasing as the time goes. More so, the competition in the telecommunication and electronics industry is one of the robust in the world. In light of the above, it is no longer possible for Apple Inc to enjoy leadership at the top of the Smartphone industry since aggressive companies like Samsung Electronics are doing everything at their disposal to overtake and replace Apple Inc in the Smartphone’s industry throne.
Follow this link to access another solution relating to Supply Chain Management Introduction to Global Supply Chain Management
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