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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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(a) The type of data gathered by the recruiters for a university trying to recruit suitable high school students would be a list of the state's ATAR.

(b) Recruiters will gain information from the process of putting student's names to their ATAR, this allows them to understand how they did in high school and which university career suits said student.

(c) Recruiters would gain the knowledge of which students to recruit.



Operations- The main sources of value in Apple inbound logistics relate to the economies of scale due to the massive scope and scale of business operations as discussed below and the development of strategic relationships with suppliers. Moreover, Apple Inc. exercises an immense bargaining power in dealing with its suppliers and as a result, the company is able to secure cost advantage in the purchase of resources.

Apple operations are divided into the following reportable operating segments:

1. Americas: North and South America

2. Europe: European countries, India, Middle East and Africa.

3. Greater China: China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

4. Japan

5. Rest of Asian Pacific: Australia and other Asian countries

Apple operations are conducted by 123,000 full-time equivalent employees as of September 2017.[3] Outsourcing of manufacturing to locations with lower costs of resources is the main source of value for Apple operations. Specifically, only some models of Mac computers are manufactured in USA and Ireland and the majority of Apple products are outsourced to manufacturing units based in Asia.

Outbound logistics- Apple outbound logistics involves warehousing and distribution of ready iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and other products produced by the company.  E-commerce sales are rightly acknowledged by the company as a massive source of value in terms of inbound logistics, because e-commerce is more cost effective compared to sales via Apple Store.

Due to the efforts of the company in this direction, Apple Inc. has become the third largest retailer in the US in terms of size of e-commerce business, only behind and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Specifically, Apple Inc. has e-commerce sales of USD 12 billion and this figure accounts to about 5.1 per cent of company's total sales.[4]

Moreover, a greater level of market penetration into Asia in general and China in particular can be specified as an additional source of value for Apple Inc. from outbound logistics point of view. This is because selling in this particular geographical market would not involve massive outbound logistics expenses and this cost advantage can be passed to customers to increase the overall appeal of offers.

Marketing and sales- Apple sells its products through the following seven sales channels:

1. Apple retail stores

2. Apple online store

3. Direct sales force

4. Third-party cellular network carriers

5. Wholesalers

6. Retailers

7. Value-added resellers

During 2017, the Company's domestic and international net sales accounted for 37% and 63%, respectively, of total net sales[5] Moreover, during the same period, the company's net sales through its direct and indirect distribution channels accounted for 28% and 72% of total net sales respectively.[6] Apple has been increasing its focus on enterprise sales during the past few years and CEO Tim Cook announced an extensive reliance on Channel Partners to further increase the volume of enterprise sales. The company is taking concrete steps in this direction. For example, "Apple and Cisco announced a partnership in August 2015 to optimize Cisco networks for Apple iOS-based devices and apps while also working to create better business integration between Cisco voice and video environments and the iPhone."[7]

Service- Apple is famous for exceptional quality of customer services during all three stages: pre-purchase, during the purchase and post-purchase. The company maintains Apple experience centres in major cities around the globe where anyone can use its products to become convinced about the quality. Apple sales assistants are usually trained and polite young males and females who are technically savvy and happy to demonstrate product features and capabilities. Post-purchase customer service is also impressive with unique iPhone trade-in programs that allow iPhone users to upgrade their phone to newer models with additional payment.

Apple Inc. Report contains a full version of Apple value chain analysis. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as SWOT, PESTEL, Porter's Five Forces, Ansoff Matrix and McKinsey 7S Model on Apple. Moreover, the report contains analyses of Apple leadership, business strategy, organizational structure and organizational culture. The report also comprises discussions of Apple marketing strategy, ecosystem and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.

Source 2

Inbound logistics:

Apple has a very large supply chain and when it comes to obtaining raw material, it has several options before it. Its top 200 suppliers include component providers and others that represented at least 97% of its procurement expenditure in 2016 for materials, manufacturing and assembly. A very large number of its major suppliers are located in Asia in China and Japan. Some of its major raw material suppliers include 3M and Foxconn. Based on its financial clout Apple enjoys high bargaining power with respect to its suppliers. It has set quality standards for its suppliers so that they maintain the highest quality standards for their goods and services. Apart from these things Apple has adopted smarter methods to reduce its storage requirements and speed up the procurement process.


The manufacturing of the Apple products takes place in several nations. However, it is mainly China where its products are assembled and that is why several of them bear the tag of Made in China. Apple has also engaged the Indian government in talks and manufacturing may soon start from there. While a large part of the assembly takes place in China, a smaller part takes place in the other nations too.  Labor costs have been lower in the Asian nations which reduces the manufacturing costs for Apple. Apart from it, Apple has also focused on reducing the use of toxic substances in the manufacturing and assembly of its products. Recyclable material is now more in use at Apple. However, by outsourcing production, Apple has been able to manage its production costs too.

Outbound logistics:

Apple has managed a very large distribution channel consisting of both direct and indirect channels. From retail stores to online retail and its sown branded stores, Apple has managed a very large channel for the distribution of its products to the customers. Over time it has focused on improving its distribution channel and added to its number of brand stores. Apart from these things the focus has also remained on green packaging and eliminating wastage.

Marketing and sales:

Apple is a famous brand whose products are known for quality, design and technological innovation. Any new product from Apple is like news that is highlighted not just by media but several other sources including small and big websites. However, that does not mean Apple does not spend on marketing its brand. While its products are publicized heavily in the media, Apple also makes unique ads that engage its customers. It has acquired remarkable brand loyalty by the use of creativity and imagination in its advertising strategy. Apart from television and online commercials, the brand also makes use of print ads for the marketing and promotion of its brands.

Products and services:

Apple provides comprehensive after sales support to its customers. Most of the products from Apple come with a 90 days complementary support and a one year limited warranty. Apart from it, there is online store help available for the Apple customers. They can check their order status online. Customers can chat with experts or call Apple for help. Customers can get their phones or other Apple products repaired at a local Apple authorized service provider or an Apple store with genius bar.

(ii) IS automate and improve business process (e.g. user connections, processing complaints, coordinating changes of account data and managing help desk tasks) in power industry and consequently optimize their costs and improve their efficiency.

Cost Leadership Organizations can use information systems to fundamentally shift the cost of doing business (Booth, Roberts & Sikes 2011) or reduce the costs of business processes or/and to lower the costs of customers or suppliers, i.e., using online business to consumer & business to business models, e-procurement systems to reduce operating costs.

Differentiation Organizations can use information systems to develop differentiated features or/and to reduce competitors' differentiation advantages, i.e., using online live chatting systems and social networks to better understand and serve customers; using technology to create informe- diaries to offer value-added service and improve customers' sticki- ness to your web site/business(Booth, Roberts, and Sikes 2011); ap- plying advanced and established measures for online operations to offline practices (i.e., more accurate and systematic ways of measur- ing efficiency and effectiveness of advertising) (Manyika 2009).

Continued on next page

Information Systems for Competitive Advantages 29

Table 2.1 - continued from previous page

Competitive Strategy Roles of Information Systems

Innovation Organizations can use information systems to identify and create (or assist in creating) new products and services or/and to develop new/niche markets or/and to radically change business processes via automation (i.e., using digital modelling and simulation of product design to reduce the time and cost to the market (Chui & Fleming 2011). They also can work on new initiatives of establishing pure online businesses/operations. At the same time, the Internet and telecommunications networks provide better capabilities and oppor- tunities for innovation. "Combinational innovation" and Open inno- vation are two good examples. There are a large number of compo- nent parts on the networks that are very expensive or extremely dif- ferent before the establishment of the networks, and organizations could combine or recombine components/parts on the networks to create new innovations (Manyika 2009). Meanwhile everyone is connected via personal computers, laptops and other mobile devices through cabled Internet or wireless networks or mobile networks, there are plenty of opportunities to co-create with customers, exter- nal partners and internal people.

Growth (including mergers and acquisitions) Organizations can use information systems to expand domestic and international operations or/and to diversify and integrate into other products and services, i.e., establishing global intranet and global operation platform; establishing omni-channel strategy to gain growth(omni-channel strategy looks at leveraging advantages of both online (or digital) and offline (or non-digital) channels) (Rigby 2011).

Strategic Alliance Organizations can use information systems to create and enhance relations with partners via applications, such as developing virtual organizations and inter-organizational information systems.

3. Explicit knowledge is searchable information that can be easily found. Users can collaborate on the value and use of the knowledge. On the other hand, tacit knowledge is knowledge found in people's heads and is often difficult to share with another person by writing it down or verbalizing it.

tactic knowledge for a bartender, is the specific recipe to making a cocktail as it is different to different bars. This allows for a competitive advantage.

2. another tactic knowledge is knowing when to stop serving a customer, intuition of the bartender.

Online CV, list of skills and publications for staff and external experts; e-mail discussion lists; regular case meetings, workshops and road shows; video-conferencing; co-locate staff, provide coffee area, staff secondments

Explicit knowledge - Service industry, provider of customized goods , Library of procedure and policy documents, guidelines, data collection forms, typical cases, risk assessment tools accessible from all parts of the organization

Explicit knowledge- guidelines to ask customers of photo ID to prove identity.

- Standard Payment procedure of cash or card.


Using Enterprise resource planning(ERP)

Customer Relationship Management:. CRM systems provide information to coordinate all of the business process that deal with customers in sale, marketing and service and optimize relationship with customers. They help the organization to increase customer loyalty and retention, and thus improve its profitability. They also provide an integrated view of customer data and interactions, helping organizations to be more responsive to customer needs.



One solution is to implement enterprise applications known as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, to integrate business process in manufacturing and production, finance and accounting, sales and marketing, and human resources. Information that was previously fragmented in many different systems is stored in a single comprehensive data repository where it can be used by many different part of the company. ERP systems integrates a related set of functions and business process to enhance the performance of the organizations as a whole.

ERP Systems are designed to correct a lack of communication among the functional area IS and they adopt a business process view of the overall organization to integrate the planning, management, and use of all of an organization's resources, employing a common software platform and database.

ERP systems resolve the problem by tightly integrating the functional area IS via a common database and enable information to flow seamlessly across them. Tight integration means that changes in one functional area are immediately reflected in all other pertinent functional areas

ERP Systems were originally deployed to facilitate business process associated with manufacturing, such as raw material management, inventory control, order entry and distribution. However, these early ERP systems did not exceed to other functional areas, such as sales and marketing. They also did not include any customer relationship management capabilities that would allow organizations to capture customer-specific information. They did not provide web-enabled customer service or order fulfilment.


Over time, ERP systems evolved to include administrative, sales, marketing and human resources processes. Companies now employ an enterprise-wide approach to ERP that utilizes the web and connects all facts of value chain.

Managers are able to use firmwide information to make more precise and timely decisions about daily operations and longer-term planning.

Organizational Flexibility and Agility: ERP Integrate data from key business processes into single system

and make organizations more flexible, agile, and adaptive.

Decision Support: ERP enable managers to assemble overall view of operations. Speed communication of information throughout firm and provide essential information on business performance across functional areas which significantly improves managers' ability to make better, more timely decisions.

Quality and Efficiency: Enable greater flexibility in responding to customer requests, greater accuracy in order fulfillment.ERP systems integrate and improve an organization's business processes, generating significant improvements in the quality of production, distribution, and customer service.


1. IS


Customer Orientation Strategy: Concentrate on making customers happy. Web-based systems are particularly effective in this area because they can create a personalized, one-to-one relationship with each customer.


Strategic information Systems (SISs)

Porter Forces: Analyzing the Bargaining Power of your Suppliers

Supplier power analysis is similar to the analysis of buyer power. The following factors should be considered when analysing the bargaining power of suppliers.

"Differentiation of inputs, switching costs, substitute products, supplier concentration relative to industry concentration, importance of volume to the supplier, cost relative to the total purchases of the industry, impact of inputs on cost or differentiation, and threat of forward integration" (What Makes a Good Leader 2008)

But however, the supplier holds the advantage of increasing the price of a product, and the organisations may have to accept it regardless of the cost increase due to the intensity of the demand. However, the large organisations have an interconnection with the supplier chain where the order goes to the supplier with the least cost, fastest deliverer and required stock availability. Many supermarkets like Tesco uses their advanced information system to take control over the automated process and still accomplish the task unmanned.

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