Research and Development (R&D)
Current R&D objectives and programs
Apple’s innovation strategy is the current R&D strategy which is embedded in the budget and product performance. For instance, in the last quarter of the financial year, the company spent 425 million dollars (3%) of its budget on R&D. The R&D strategy is consistent with the company’s mission and vision of providing quality and innovative products to its customers.
The mix of basic, applied, and engineering research has been appropriate and helped in the creation of unique products such as the current iPhone 6 and integrated iTune products. As a result of integrated R&D, the Apple Company has become the leading Personal Computer (PC) retailer in the global computer arena and offers some of the latest and most advanced personal computers and smartphones.
Returns from investment in R&D
The company is associated with innovations and attractive designs that appeal to its customers across the world as a result of its heavy investment in R&D. Through product development, the Apple Inc Company has been in a position to optimally exploit opportunities available in the innovation market segment and has gained a significant share in the mobile PCs market at the global level.
Competency in technology transfer
The Apple Company has been the most competent in technology transfer through continuous use if cross-functional work teams in product design and processing at the Apple Innovation Center. This platform has encouraged innovation and modification of the iPhone brand to its current iPhone 6 ‘miracle’.
Comparative analysis: R&D investment
Apple Company has invested more in R&D than its main competitor, which the Samsung Company. The Apple Company invested more than 500 million dollars in R&D as compared to 320 million dollars by Samsung. Through the use of an integrated value-chain alliance, the company has increased outsourcing to 40% of the production network.
R&D and countries of operation
The company’s R&D is standard in all the countries it operates in. This could be attributed to standardized production, quality assurance, and quality control strategies.
R&D and environmental friendliness
As part of its long term corporate goal, the Apple Company’s R&D has continued to embrace green living through increasing the percentage of recycled materials in its production, sponsoring green living campaigns, and being a global partner in various environmental sustainability projects. The R&D manager has the role of promoting innovation, reviewing design proposals, and managing the transformation of innovative ideas into final products.
Operations and Logistics
Current manufacturing strategies
Apple’s manufacturing strategy is efficiency and optimal use of raw materials to produce high-end products which meet the expectations of customers. These objectives are part of the company’s annual operations management strategies within its corporate goals of efficiency and quality of products.
Types and extent of operations capabilities
Apple has positioned itself to emphasize the difference between its products and those of its competitors through its flexible manufacturing in highly mechanized production plants.
To diversify market operations, Apple Company has continued to create multiple brands such as the iPhone and PCs in its production strategies through outsourcing. On the other hand, the iTunes service is managed through its intermittent service model. The iPhone brand has the highest profit margin while the iTune product has the lowest profit margin.
The vulnerability of manufacturing facilities
The company’s manufacturing and service facilities are one of the most advanced in the world and operate in free markets with minimal government interference. The facilities are located in safe regions where natural disasters are rare. The risks that may face the company’s production plants are very minimal.
The mix of people and machines
The company has one of the most qualified personnel and highly mechanized production environment. The company has fully integrated technology and input of people in its efficient production units.
The company has a complex system of managing its production units which operate at optimal levels. The system is effective in balancing inventory costs, logistical costs, and other factors of production. Each year, the company can meet a demand of more than 100 million customers across the globe. The performance of the Apple Company indicates a sustainable and competitive business environment that operates on the principles of optimal productivity and quality products.
Appropriate concepts and techniques
The operations managers at the Apple Company have internalized concepts such as quality control, quality assurance, and optimal production. For instance, the highly stratified production model at the Apple Company incorporates continuous employee training, innovation, and efficient cost management units.
Operations management in countries of operation
The company uses a similar operations management strategy across the countries of operation. Thus, there are no adjustments in any production model across the markets. These operations are integrated on green production and environmental sustainability through the company’s internationalization schedule. The operations manager has the role of controlling the entire production process from raw material outsourcing, implementing quality production, and managing the production chain.
Human Resources Management
Current strategies, policies and programs
The company’s HRM strategies are integrated into the business management model and it takes 25% of the total budget.
The company’s HRM strategies have been effective in managing internal and external work environments. The company has one of the most comprehensive and continuous training programs. The structure for reward and promotional in the company are institutionalized in its HRM system. The optimal productivity has increased the company’s competitive advantage in the PC market.
Apple’s company has better HRM than Samsung Company which manages all its operations from one location. The company has more attractive remuneration, promotion, and work environment than all its competitors.
Apple has systems that honor traditions and cultures of so many varied groups without inadvertently disadvantaging anyone by appreciating and accommodating various attitudes, behavior, and perceptions of different races, groups, and traditions in employee selection. The company also has systems for monitoring the human rights record of its key distributors and suppliers.
Adjustment to different countries
The company’s HRM internationalization strategy embraces different cultures and is flexible across the countries where it operates. Each employee is given an equal opportunity to grow through regional and global transfers.
Outsourcing and HRM manager
The role of outsourcing at Apple is to reduce the cost of production and introduce diversity through talent integration. The HRM manager is mandated with the duties of managing the entire labor force through acceptable policies and processes of labor management.
The current IT objectives, strategies, and programs
The current IT objectives are entrenched in the company’s capacity building and efficiency objectives within its corporate culture. The budget for IT takes 20% of the company’s budget and has increased Apple’s product quality and production efficiency.
The company has a very advanced system of database management, production mechanization, and communication network. As a result, the managers are able to track all processes in the company and make focus in the future market trends. For instance, the changing market trends informed the decision to create the iPhone 6 product. The automated system has improved efficiency, thus, better competitive advantage.
The company’s IT performance is currently the best and was even copied by the competitor, which is Samsung. Apple’s IT is very appropriate in using extranets, intranets, and internet in managing its production, marketing, and operation structures.
The company has the safest IT system, which is used well by IT managers. The company database is built within complex firewalls, security, and effective decision-support programs.
The global presence and IT manager’s role
The Apple Company has global IT presence and does not have any difficulty in global data transfers. The IT manager at Apple has the role of managing all the company database, information transfer, research, and securing the IT systems.