Apple’s Clean Energy Supply Chain

Apple’s Clean Energy Supply Chain

August 3, 2018

Apple has already announced that its entire global operation, from corporate buildings to retail stores, are now powered totally by renewable energy sources. This year, Apple is looking to bring the supply chain to the same renewable energy standard, by investing in clean energy projects in China.


Video spotlight: Apple announced an even larger investment ($850M) in solar in February 2015


This post is based on the Apple Insider article, Apple launches $300M fund to power Chinese supply chain with clean energy, by Mikey Campbell, July 12, 2018, and the YouTube video from Bloomberg, Apple taps First Solar for renewable energy in $850M deal, February 13, 2015. Image sources: Shutterstock / Ververidis Vasilis and Shutterstock / Lightspring.

Discussion Questions:

1. Beyond the ability to work with Apple, what are suppliers’ incentives to use renewable energy?

Guidance:  Students should be able to list the advantages in keeping costs down by using renewable sources such as wind and solar power.  This is a straightforward discussion.  The next question should be:  What are the requirements (technology and staff) to maintain a renewable energy source?  Would outsourcing to a wind or solar farm be worthwhile? Continue reading

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Supply Chain Failure: KFC’s Chicken Shortage

Supply Chain Failure: KFC’s Chicken Shortage

March 19, 2018

It seems hard to imagine that KFC would run out of chicken.  That’s their main menu item! How can they operate without chicken?

Turns out, they can’t. The majority of KFC’s UK restaurants were forced to close due to a chicken shortage.  Approximately 650 of the 900 KFCs closed in February 2018, while many of those that remained open, operated with a reduced menu.

The origins of the shortage: KFC decided to switch suppliers from Bidvest to DHL and QSL (a food distributor) in October 2017. They promised to “revolutionize the UK foodservice distribution market.”  Part of the promise included reducing logistics emissions to net zero over the life of the contract.

The change in distributors affected Bidvest and DHL.  Bidvest laid off 255 employees after it lost the contract, while DHL and QSL opened a new distribution center, and hired approximately 300 new employees.

Although improved performance was promised, not everyone saw such a rosy future.  GMB, the UK trade union for the displaced Bidvest employees, warned KFC of potential problems with the switch to DHL.  Mick Rix, the GMB’s national officer said:

“We warned them a few months Continue reading

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