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Apple’s operations teams must be struggling to pull things together


With new products on the way, Apple’s highly respected operations teams may never have faced such complex challenges as it struggles to maintain some production at factories and partners across the world as the coronavirus bites.

Apple’s missed expectations

These teams are world class. Apple is famed for its ability to manage its complex multinational supply chain, but the teams must find themselves deeply challenged by what’s become an ever-moving situation.

Apple recently warned it would miss expectations in the quarter, and the OECD warns the global economy will experience a sharp downturn as the virus proliferates internationally.

Even now, as conflicting reports claim infection rates in China may be slowing, the virus is spreading in other geographies. The cost in human misery is incalculable, but this also generates big problems in any kind of supply chain.

Take today, for example:

  1. Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.) is now running night shifts at its iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China.
  2. But LG Innotek, which makes camera modules for iPhones, has closed one of its manufacturing facilities in South Korea after a worker was found to have contracted the virus.

Unexpected consequences

The enterprise impact is confounded by the complexity those human problems create. You can’t get much business done if no one is working and no one is shopping. What happens to infrastructure and transportation as people get sick and can’t do their jobs? Travel restrictions, quarantine and mandatory shutdowns are all being discussed at the government level.

“Governments need to act immediately to contain the epidemic, support the health care system, protect people, shore up demand and provide a financial lifeline to households and businesses that are most affected,” said the OECD.

When it comes to protection, other than washing your hands while hiding indoors, most people just don’t know what to do.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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