Established by Tim Cook, Apple’s operational excellence is mind-boggling

“Before Tim Cook was Apple’s CEO, he served as the chief of operations. Saying he was an excellent chief operating officer is an understatement. He was almost certainly one of the world’s best,” Daniel Sparks writes for The Motley Fool. “Even after taking over as CEO, however, Apple hasn’t lost its operational touch.”

“When Cook took over at Apple in March of 1998, he quickly reduced the number of Apple’s key suppliers from 100 to 24, negotiated better deals with them, and convinced many to relocate near Apple’s locations,” Sparks writes. “Further, by September of 1998, he also reduced inventory from one month to six days.”

“By personally financing GT Advanced to build out the capacity for sapphire crystal displays to be used in future devices, Apple has arguably created (and somewhat isolated) an entirely new supply chain for displays,” Sparks writes. “Apple still manages to somehow carry less than a week of inventory, despite its $176 billion in trailing-12-month revenue. How does Samsung compare? The company has nearly eight weeks of inventory.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. When Tim Cook eventually retires, I wonder if people will be worrying about how Apple with do without him. Not the same people who worried about Apple without Steve Jobs; they’ll all be doing nothing much of interest by then.

    1. “Not the same people who worried about Apple without Steve Jobs; they’ll all be doing nothing much of interest by then.”

      I wonder if those nincompoops – and MDN has more than its fair share of them – realize just how much their contempt and distrust of Cook is a direct insult to SJ’s greatest accomplishment: Apple itself. Whatever it is that makes Apple work so well is almost ALL SJ’s handiwork. People who say he never “built anything” fail to realize that the entirety of Apple is far greater than all of its more tangible products combined.

      1. Thanks for emphasising that. It’s really the core truth, that virtually alone among corporate edifices, Apple Inc. is almost human, a self-morphing work of architecture, the crowning achievement of Steve Jobs.

  2. in the background Apple under Tim Cook has been earning supply chain awards for years

    for example in 2013 it topped Gartner’s Supply Chain list for the 7th time beating companies like Amazon, McDonalds, Walmart.

    1. You don’t think efficiency is innovation!

      The camel caravans from North Africa to China were very inefficient until Abdul the Younger taught all of the camel drivers how to brick the camels.

      The extra water the camels took on during the bricking was the difference between death and profits. Innovation!

    2. Dude, or dudette, whatever the homophobic case may be, you obviously have little understanding of the connection between innovation and efficiency. Everything from manufacturing methods, materials management, transportation, scheduling, supplier relationships, process/workflow design to eliminate bottlenecks and inventory and maximize quality…all require innovative, outside the box thinking, otherwise every CEO could simply order his peons to be more efficient on command. I do understand how this flies over your head, considering where it’s normally inserted, but as Stuart Smalley (look it up yourself) said, “but that’s okay. I’m good enough. I’m smart enough…and doggone it, people like me.” Just repeat that to yourself several times a day, and someday it might actually come true.

    3. Hey bot, Where is you colorful response to the efficiency isn’t innovation “smack down” you’ve been getting here? Did you actually realize how stupid that statement was?

      1. efficient |iˈfiSHənt|
        (esp. of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense: fluorescent lamps are efficient at converting electricity into light.
        • (of a person) working in a well-organized and competent way: an efficient administrator.
        • [ in combination ] preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource: an energy-efficient heating system.

        innovate |ˈinəˌvāt|
        verb [ no obj. ]
        make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products: the company’s failure to diversify and innovate competitively.
        • [ with obj. ] introduce (something new, esp. a product): innovating new products, developing existing ones.

        the difference in their definitions is self-evident to those who have access to a dictionary.

        1. i guess you’re right, I’m sure no new methods or ideas were involved in becoming what is probably one of if not the most efficient, we’ll run companies on the planet… Pretty smart idea on your part though, lets compare the definitions of the words and not consider that innovation could drive efficiency… Was a flourecient lamp not an innovation that drove an efficient use of electricity? You have absolutely no clue about Apple did or didn’t do to their operations to become as rediculesly efficient as they are today… But the one thing you seem to be certain of is that a man hand picked and trusted by the man who founded his company is incapable of inovation… Absurd! Are you just one of those who just does nothing but bash to get a rise out of others or are you truly that ignorant?

          1. I almost forgot, no response about what may be your own internal struggle with your homosexual tendencies? Interesting how the article had nothing whatsoever to do with Tim’s sexuality, yet you decide to gay bash… If you decide to come out of the closet it may relieve some of you pent up hostility. It’s ok, we won’t judge. Tag your it!

    4. What does what anyone has said here have to do with what Tim’s sexual preference is? Usually when someone is so outwardly outspoken about homosexuality it is because of their own internal struggle to repress their own tendencies.

  3. I think the biggest test of Tim Cook will be not in how he does his day to day job, but in the people he puts in place to lead Apple in the future. The job he is doing now is testament to the faith Steve Jobs put in him. Of course, personally I hope he is there for many years to come.

  4. At the end of the article it states ” But one small company makes Apple’s gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. ” Liquidmetal maybe?

  5. The article is a a tease and foreplay (sales pitch, for those of you who haven’t experienced those things) for the Motley Fool newsletter, and while the basic facts on Apple’s recent operational efficiency are true, they’re not news. Once you get to the punch line, which is typical Motley Fool…you realize you’re being sold another miracle investment in some under-the-radar next big thing…Just register, sign up, and it’s yours! Just this once, for free!

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