Apple boasts strongest manufacturing supply chain in the world, turns over inventory in five days

Gartner has just published their findings from looking at the supply chain strength across manufacturers worldwide, and Apple still tops the list. The ranking was based on a survey of 173 peers, 37 Gartner research opinions, a three-year weighted return on assets, the number of inventory turns each year, and three-year weighted revenue growth. This earned Apple a composite score of 9.69, compared to Amazon's 5.4 (which earned them second place), Samsung's 3.67 (13th place) and RIM's 3.00 (19th place). Apparently the inventory turn score means that iPhones, iPads, and other Apple hardware only sit in a warehouse for five days before being shipped off to an avid customer. Samsung's inventory turn was 17.1 according to Gartner, while Apple's was 74.1 - that should give you an idea of how much faster Apple can pump this stuff out. Let's not even get started with RIM's inventory issues.

A big part of being able to do this kind of thing is called just-in-time delivery, which means Apple is only making products as the orders come in. Of course, this means that iPhones, iPads, Macs and other products need to be pumped out very quickly, but it ensures that no inventory goes to waste by gathering dust in a warehouse and depreciating in value over time.  I can only imagine how hard it is for Apple and Foxconn to keep making these products fast enough to keep up with demand, nevermind doing so with such efficiency.

It's crazy to see Apple's beating out giants like Wal-mart, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's with logistical stuff like this, but with Tim Cook's history in operations, you can only imagine Apple's strength in this area improving. Apple has an iron grip on its manufacturing processes in China, but humanitarian needs may put a slight damper on the blistering speed of their factory output.

Source: Gartner via BusinessInsider

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

  • It's not over priced. Just because Apple spends more time than anyone designing not only the product, but the way the product delivers itself and content. What you pay for is what you get. You spend $200 on a new phone you get the HIGHEST satisfactory phone WORLDWIDE. You take that extra time to save up for a Mac, you NEVER have to worry about it crashing and giving you a blue screen compared to some of the cheaper computers. It's like the TV industry. You can get an ugly box or a thin sheet of media that presents the highest standard of viewing possible.
  • Over paid by $100. Don't other Phones that are not free cost $99 cimpaired to $199 for an iPhone.
    Plus why do non fans come in this website.
    I am not a fan of android and I have never even cared to go on an android website. I've never even visited one.
  • If you want the best smartphone in the world, you get the iPhone 4S. Starting at $200.
    If you want the second best smartphone in the world, you get the iPhone 4. $100.
    If you want the third best smartphone in the world, you get the iPhone3G. Free.
  • Dont lie to yourself (or others). A comparable, non-iPhone device costs the same or MORE. Some of the high-end Droid devices are $299. Most other devices of comparable specs are $199. Very few equal devices are $99 unless they are the old models of higher-end devices or a flop.
  • Re: A big part of being able to do this kind of thing is called just-in-time delivery, which means Apple is only making products as the orders come in.
    This is why Apple will probably never bring final assembly back to the US. Because most of the components are made abroad. Costs too much to air freight them over as components. Air freight makes sense only for fully assembled and packaged units.
  • That and the lack of human resources. Unless Apple completely mechanized their procedure, there are not enough people in the US to fill the labor demands. Let's not get started on the crippling unions and how that would destroy Apple's bottom-line and the cost of the products to consumers. Unions bankrupted Hostess more than once, and other companies. Apple won't have a manufacturing presence in the US as long as unions are around and labor (and material) isn't available (not to mention the anti-corporate government right now combined with the highest corporate tax in the world). This is a global economy, as usual. Some countries are simply better than others at various things. People need to face the fact that the US isn't the golden-child anymore and probably never will be again.