Supply Chain Lessons from Technology Leaders

Posted by Ward TLC - Thursday, September 19th, 2013 at 12:08 pm


Jobs and Apple LogoApple Inc. is often regarded as the best company in the world for its cutting-edge business practices and products.

What’s the secret behind their success?

It goes without saying that Apple Inc. is famous for their product design, product development, branding and marketing strategy.

When it comes to supply chain management practices, many people believe their supply chain model and innovative sourcing are one of their secret weapons that help them maintain market leadership.

Ward Transport & Logistics understands the need for ever changing need for technology for our customers and will continue to invest in technology. Innovation has been the key to improve our product offerings throughout the 82 years of being in business. Embracing technology also allows us to drive out costs in our network and provide a superior value in the marketplace.

In April 2012 (six months after Jobs’ death), Harvard Business Review published the article called “The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs”. Here are a few of the business lessons left behind by his legacy.

 

A few of Apple’s Key Supply Chain Lessons

 

Customers Come First, Cost Cutting Comes Second:

The philosophy of product development at Apple is to build great products that customers want to buy. Simply put, Steve Jobs pursued differentiation or a value creation strategy. And when the whole supply chain takes actions in sync with this strategy, the success is Phenomenal !

Much like Apple, Ward Transport & Logistics’ core values include “We always service our customer first”. This single practice is prevalent in all that we do starting with our drivers; call centers staff and all employees of the company. This single driving force has allowed the company to weather 13 recessions and the Great Depression.

 Prioritize Action:

After Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, there was a wide array of unrelated product lines. Then, he announced that he needed only 4 product categories, namely, “Consumer”,

“Pro”, “Desktop” and “Portable”. By segmenting products properly, Apple reduced the complexity of their supply chain sourcing. This business decision dramatically simplified their product offerings and allowed his team to prioritize actions required to support the strategy.

Ward Transport & Logistics has 3 main subsidiaries to support all of the transportation and distribution product categories. Ward Trucking is the LTL transportation entity, while Ward Truckload Express handles full truckload shipments in our network. For other supply chain needs Ward Logistics handles a multitude of supply chain functions through our comprehensive distribution centers, strategically placed transportation service centers and non asset based services.     

 Simplify Products & Processes:

On Apple’s first marketing brochure that “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication“. In literal meaning, Steve Jobs eliminated unnecessary components which led to the reduction of inventory and smoother production process.

Ward Transport & Logistics continues to evaluate all processes to make it simple to use any and all of our services.  We embrace technology in all we do, from our drivers equipped with tablets to capture critical real time shipment information, to our advanced call routing software in the state of the art call center. Our simplification of processes and products help us streamline the internal operations of the company.       

 Make Monumental Change when Necessary:

The integration of iPod, iTunes and the iTunes store revolutionized the music industry. However Apple was afraid that someone would add music players in a cell phone’s handset. Steve Jobs then decided to make a dramatic shift de-emphasizing the iPod and created the iPhone.

Like most companies who have a sustainable business model, Ward Transport and Logistics has reinvented itself many times over the 80+ years. A recent example is our three-tiered guaranteed expedited service product offering. Ward LTL and the LTL industry has had a guaranteed service product for many years. With recent enhancements made to shipment visibility in our software, we now provide the industry leading “On Time or We Delete the Invoice” guarantee.  This is just another revolutionary enhancement offered by Ward that is provided on all of our expedited service services to provide peace of mind.     

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