At Apple: Who is Taking Jobs' Job (Again)? A Supply Chain Guy

Well, if you believe the latest from Apple, Steve Jobs' health is "complicated." Poor guy -- I wish him the best, as he changed my life and millions of others like me. In my case, it was an Apple II+ (in a lab at school) and then an Apple IIe (at home). As he goes into seclusion and steps back from the CEO limelight, I wish him a full recovery. He changed the world for the better and deserves far more credit for what he did than those jokers in Redmond who cursed the world with their OS and applications. But I digress. The more important news out of Cupertino last week from a Spend Management perspective is who is assuming the new role of interim CEO at Apple. The LA Times recently offered some decent background on the appointment of Apples's COO, Tim Cook, as the new CEO.

Tim is a spend and supply chain guy at heart. According to the above-linked article, "Through a series of roles, most recently chief operating officer, Cook fixed what ailed Apple in the mid-1990s: poor product quality, spotty availability and absurdly high prices...He also keeps a lid on costs so Apple can spend a fortune marketing and designing products such as the Mac computer line, the iPod digital media player and the iPhone." Among other accomplishments at Apple, he transformed the manufacturing culture from a "make" to "buy" mentality, also recruiting key supplier partners and tapping them for innovation. The Times notes that among other accomplishments, "He pulled Apple out of the manufacturing business, closing factories and warehouses. The amount of time inventory sat on Apple's balance sheet shrank from months to days." While he'll never be Steve, his interim appointment is proof that procurement, operations and supply chain thinking talent is rising to the highest level inside the worlds most respected companies.

- Jason Busch

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