The Brilliance of Apple is…

May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

I took a class in b-school called Managing Service Operations.  The punchline of the class was that great businesses are integrated and consistent throughout every touch point – internal, external client facing and even outsourced partners.  No where along the process does the focus on the mission stray.  Seems like a simple point…but for some reason it is really hard to get it right.

Firms outsource key components to those who don’t get their vision but are cheaper, others under-invest in customer facing resources, some simply lack the discipline to enforce this focus everywhere in the chain.  Some firms even lack the understanding of the need, and design a flawed go to market plan.  But not Apple.

Yes, they have beautifully designed products that are elegant to use/play with.  Yes, they are leaders in bringing new innovation to market, and innovators usually capture the lion share of a market’s profits.  And yes, a lot has been made about Job’s incessant focus on a closed system.  However, what makes Apple so amazing is this maniacal focus at every touch point.  I was in the Apple store this weekend and was impressed again about the experience.  But one thing stood out among the rest.  They offered a mail in discount for an HP printer to go along with the Mac Pro I just purchased.  But instead of handing me a receipt, they actually helped me fill out the mail in rebate in the store.  The service was impeccable up to that point, but this really topped it off.  I left happy that I just spent a lot of money and felt completely satisfied (not a common feeling for me after I spend money).

It seems that almost every day I read another story about an iPad killer or another threat to Apple’s share.  And let’s be honest, Apple hasn’t cornered the market on great designers or technologists.  But as long as they stay maniacal about a focus throughout the chain, they will continue to be one of the most valuable companies in the world.


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