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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: The Apple Culture
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | Dominique K. Numakura, DKN Research

Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and charismatic chief executive passed away October 5, 2011 from pancreatic cancer. I visited an Apple Store the day after he died to express my sympathy. I have used Apple products for more than 20 years--they have made my life a lot easier to organize and entertain. Thank you very much, Steve, for all your wonderful electronic products and services!    

News media groups around the world are focusing on Steve’s business achievements from his early start-up days in a garage to building a company with a market value of $227 billion dollars. Steve created many products that contributed to Apple’s growth as well as making everyday life easier for most of us. From music to communication--Steve Jobs help fuel the consumer electronics market.

I agree with the news reports and stories about Steve’s life and achievements. His vision opened up new avenues for people around the world while making Apple a very profitable company. I have used Apple products for long time and would like to comment on the outstanding buying experience as a consumer.

New product designs from Apple don’t leave the drawing table until every detail is ironed out. The design and engineer teams focus on insignificant parts such as hinge mechanisms on display panels, connectors for power supplies and locking devices for laptop PCs. Apple continues to upgrade the performance of every device associated with any new model. These little tweaks do not make product headline news; however, since every part in all these products undergo continuous improvement, the new products always perform better than their predecessor.

Nothing in this world is perfect and Apple is not an exception. However, they do have an outstanding customer service system. In my case, Apple has a list of all my purchases along with warranty information. I do buy extended warranties, but I don’t have to produce any sales receipts or try and read the serial number from the back of any item if I need product support. This holds true no matter what country I am visiting when I need to contact Apple. Apple also provides training on their new products at a very low cost--in my case, this has paid for itself.

Apple does not assemble its products in their entirety--they use EMS companies, mostly from Taiwan. Typically, the supply chain associated with EMS companies is not flexible or capable enough to manage the production swings brought on by the extreme consumer demands in the electronics market. But, Apple has built a very capable supply chain to satisfy the unpredictable demands in this market. Their supply chains are more secured than other electronics companies that have an assembling process in house.

Apple relies on a solid business foundation to launch new products. Their name alone is a big reason why Apple’s business continuously grows. Steve Jobs instilled a culture in Apple that relies on quality and creativity. Every product has a limited shelf life; however, having the right organizational culture can be timeless. I hope Steve’s core values remain a focal point at Apple. 

Dominique K. Numakura
DKN Research,

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