Considering the Coronavirus Impact on Apple’s Supply Chain

Considering the Coronavirus Impact on Apple’s Supply Chain

February 7, 2020

The deadly coronavirus that started in Wuhan, China in December of 2019 may negatively impact Apple’s business. China is Apple’s supplier as well as a strong retail market.

Apple has to prepare for disrupted operations in manufacturing, retail businesses and iCloud data centers as Chinese employees and consumers choose to stay away – or are required to – in order to avoid spreading the virus.

This is the first in a series of posts on OM in the News looking at how supply chains are affected by the coronavirus. 


Video Spotlight: How the coronavirus outbreak could affect the economy


This post is based on the IB Times article, Here’s How Coronavirus In China Could Impact Apple’s Business, by Julio Cachila, January 28, 2020, and the YouTube video, How the coronavirus outbreak could affect the economy by CNBC Television, January 22, 2020. Image source: lzf/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the challenges of managing global operations for Apple as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus in China?

Guidance: The challenges include labor unavailability, reduced sales, production halts, product shortages, and new product delays.

2. How does the coronavirus outbreak affect Apple’s supply chain?

Guidance Continue reading

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Where’s the Plant-Based Beef?

Where’s the Plant-Based Beef?

February 1, 2020

Impossible Foods bowed out, at least temporarily, from its bid to supply plant-based burgers to McDonald’s, because it lacks the capacity to meet the world’s largest burger company’s demand.

Currently, plant-based meats have only a tiny sliver of packaged meat sales. Capacity lags behind the growing demand.  Last year saw Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat vie for contracts with Burger King, Qdoba, Del Taco, Little Caesar’s, Subway, and KFC.   However, McDonald’s is still too tall an order for either to tackle, other than in a limited test market or regional format.


Video Spotlight: Impossible Foods abandons its pursuit to supply McDonald’s plant-based burgers


This post is based on the Vox article, Why McDonald’s has been slow to adopt meatless meat, by Kelsey Piper, January 9, 2020, and the YouTube video, Impossible Foods abandons its pursuit to supply McDonald’s plant-based burgers, by CNBC Television, January 7, 2020. Image source: Christopher Kerrigan/McGraw-Hill Education.

Discussion Questions:

1. What steps has McDonald’s taken to test plant-based burgers?

Guidance: Over the years McDonald’s has gradually introduced some plant-based burgers in its international markets, but the U.S. is still awaiting this product’s arrival.  Recently, McDonald’s announced that its Continue reading

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Effect of Chinese New Year on Inventory Management

Effect of Chinese New Year on Inventory Management

January 27, 2020

The Chinese New Year brings manufacturing slowdowns in China. United States companies must plan on being proactive in managing supply by making early purchases and scheduling transportation before the slowdowns begin.

Building buffer inventory in the United States as a result of early purchases means storage capacity in the United States must be managed proactively as well.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, Why procurement planning is critical ahead of Chinese New Year, by Amanda Loudin, January 16, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / Dmitry Kalinovsky.

Discussion Questions:

1. Note in the article that the average shipping time from China to the United States is about 30 days.  How does this lead time impact inventory levels at United States facilities?

Guidance: This question is designed to get students to reflect on the interaction between lead time and inventory levels.   Ask students to suggest better ways to accumulate the additional Continue reading

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