Abstract: the purpose of this assignment is to examine a value chain management in the iPhone 3G and generally the company apple. That s why there was a questionnaire in order to draw conclusions for this device and see how people perceive Apple Company and its product iPhone.


1. Value of the product for the customer

Name of company: the company's name is Apple. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovate hardware, software and internet offerings.

Name / description of product: The name of Apple's new product which was introduced the last years in the market is iPhone 3G. It is more than a mobile phone because it combines three devices in one: arevolutionary mobile phone, awidescreen iPod, and abreakthrough Internet device. The iPhone was first introduced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007 at the Macworld exhibition in San Francisco. After launching iPhone, Apple's shares were soaring. What's more, because of the works on the iPhone, launching the operating system Mac OS X v10.5 was postponed from June 11, until October 26.

The innovative solution in the iPhone was to remove the traditional keyboard; instead, there is a touch screen supported by the Multi-Touch technology. No stylus is needed; everything is operated with the use of a finger or multiple fingers. An additional novelty is the display that turns off when brought near the ear (proximity sensor) and a 3.5 in display, with 320 x 480 pixels definition, that automatically adjust the screen to the device's orientation (vertical - horizontal). IPhone enables listening to music (MP3 files), watching videos in mpeg format and taking photos with a 2.0 megapixel camera. Similarly to iPods, songs and videos are downloaded directly from iTune Store. The iPhone enables wireless access to the Internet via Wi-Fi and surfing the World Wide Web pages via Safari browser.

Technical details:

* Dimensions (H x W x D) - 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm

* Weight (w/standard battery) - 133 g

* Design - Open-faced

* Data - GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), HSDPA

* Built-In Digital Camera - 2 Megapixels

* Video Recorder - Yes

* Bluetooth - Yes,

* Messaging - SMS, Email

* Wireless Web Browsing

o - HTML (Safari)

* Phone Book Capacity - Shared memory + Photo call

* Display Type - Touchscreen, 16M colors, 320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches

What are the key product attributes: Key attributes attracting consumers to the iPhone include the touch screen, the design and the Apple brand, and compatibility with accessories was more of a factor with women.

Revolutionary Phone

With the Multi-Touch interface on iPhone, you can make a call simply by tapping a name or number in yourcontacts or favorites list, your call log, or just about anywhere. Visual Voicemail lets you select and listen to messages in whatever order you want � just like email.

Widescreen iPod

iPhone shows off your content � music, movies, TV shows, and more � on a beautiful 3.5-inch display. Add to your collection by downloading music and video wirelessly from the iTunes Store. Scroll through songs and playlists with the touch of a finger. Even browse your album artwork using Cover Flow

Breakthrough Internet Device

iPhone uses fast 3G and Wi-Fi wireless connections to deliver rich HTML email, Maps with GPS, and Safari � the most advanced web browser on a mobile device. It has Google and Yahoo! search built in. And since iPhone multitasks, you can make a phone call while emailing a photo or surfing the web over a Wi-Fi or 3G connections.

Moreover there are many applications for iPhone and they are like nothing you've ever seen on a mobile phone. Some of these applications are: news on your phone, help students with their homework, fun and games and managing money. These are some of their application which upgrade your mobile and makes it to a useful machine.

In general terms with iPhone, Apple combined innovative hardware features with the world's most advanced mobile operating system to redefine what a mobile phone can do. Applications work together seamlessly and they sync with your computer � whether you're on a Mac or a PC. From its revolutionary Multi-Touch display to its intelligent keyboard to its smart sensors, iPhone is years ahead of any other mobilephone.

Type of research undertaken: The type of research was quantitative through a questionnaire that I made. The questionnaire covered a wide range of questions about i phone 3G, the questions were 13. The type of questions was more to give a mark but also to develop your own ideas and justify some things too. 12 people supplemented the questionnaire. The choice of people to participate was random.

Purpose of research: Purpose of research: The purpose of research was to examine the value of product for the customers. How i phone which is supposed a mobile phone a step ahead from any other phone, can cover and fulfill customer's expectations, if it is really necessary and worth its money.

Post research review: The questionnaire was pretty good I would say because it covered a wide range of questions. The questions were easy to follow and comprehensible to get someone the point and answer properly. Also some questions were not of "closed type" and the individual could develop its ideas. The only problem was that I would like to have an i phone device the moment when someone was supplementing the questionnaire because some of the people sample have not ever used it before and they answered according of what they have heard and been informed about it. So if I carried one with me I would give it to them to process it and tell me their opinion. So the answers could have been more reliable and not just rumors. At least 4 out of 12 participants haven t ever used it but on the other hand we can see what people have heard about i phone and what they believe.

Conclusions drawn from research: through this research we can observe the industry's driving forces because we are talking about a device which combines style, technology and innovation. So these driving forces are:

� Products - provides new capabilities and applications at anywhere and anytime

� Technology - business tools to cool items for entertainment.

� Competition - Google the next powerful entrant, no sign of major firms existing

� Innovation - 3G is fresh

Moreover internet is constantly expanding and becomes more and more necessary all the time that' s why a flexible device like i phone is very useful. Also some key success factors that I located according to consumer oriented factors are:

Technology

� Replacing communications tools

� Next generation experience

Marketing

� Well known and well respected brand name

� Market segmentation

� Targeting and pricing effectiveness

Skill and capability

� Value added ( cheaper, faster more convenient than the alternatives)

� Design and innovation experience

Distribution

� A strong network of wholesale / distributors dealers

� Fast introduction and application of service

List of customer values: in order to do list of customer values we need to explore what customers actually consider important to them. Generally values are considered as "desired and states". In case of i phone customer values are

a. Price reduction to attract more potential buyers.

b. High potential software( add new features, upgradable)

c. Apple is one of the most established brand

d. Customers loyalty

e. Cultural and fashion identity

f. Intuitive design, easy to use.

g. Lifetime products as we know apple is a trustworthy company with the best possible quality in its products.

Prioritizing customer values: apple is a company focuses on customer needs and customer's satisfaction. Its vision says "man is the creator of change in this world. As such he should be above systems and structures and not subordinate to them". According to the research we did, if we want to prioritize customer values for i phone first it comes how well it covers the needs of buyers. Then the lifetime of this product, the price and quality of service deliver.


2.How customer value is understood and met by product.

Are basic customer requirements noticed by product? As we can notice from our results of questionnaire the basic customers' requirements such as style of the phone, how well can cover their needs for instance the internet service and all these applications which i phone can offer, how easy to use is and a whole new innovated idea is in the market customers are totally pleased and fulfilled. But on the other hand some other things that they would expect from this product is the price to be a little more reduced and the battery s life to "hold" more hours because it s a polymorphic machine and it is logic people to use it many hours but it needs really often to charge it.

Is customer value considered in product material elements? Customers are always seeking for the best possible quality and lifetime in the products they buy. IPhone covers that need too. The tech is high of standards, the materials are tough and the device generally is durable. Otherwise Apple Company is trustworthy for its products and the services which provides. For example the external components of iPhone are from aluminum. Moreover we're leaning towards Apple having used this ceramic material in the iPhone 3G's casing. Ceramics are known for their incredible durability and can withstand stresses that metallic and plastic materials would succumb to in a heartbeat. The material is used "on the exterior surface to prevent cracking and protect the ceramic shell from undesirable forces as for example when the ceramic shell is dropped," and offers greater transparency to cellular radio signal. So as far as for this concern the customer's money which gave to buy this phone are not for waste.

Is customer value considered in product package presentation? The vital meaning for each company is to offer a great customer experience to its potential buyer in order to establish a good brand name. This customer experience includes every thought every movement before and after the sale of a product. Into this process the important thing is and the product's package presentation. Everyone wants a stylish package something to have a bit of luxury and elegance. Apple's iPhone except of its stylish figure, it has and a simple but imposing black or white package with the unique brand sign of Apple.

Does product has any mechanism to measure customer satisfaction? The product has not any of this mechanism of its own only the facts that the sales are incredibly high. According to this we can draw the conclusion that people are very satisfied and suggest this product to others, otherwise there could be rumors for bad product' s performance and the sales would not be so high. But the company apple does surveys for its customers to see how happy they are from the products she offers in the market. Furthermore apple has in its web site the complaint department or the customer service in case someone wants to mention any complaintment or a problem he probably faced.

Discuss any other aspect of customer value which is considered by Product. A very important aspect of customer value is the customer service. Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. It is also said to be "a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction - that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation" (L.Scott 2002). Apple Company has many options for someone who want to communicate with customer service department such as mail address, phone or via the retails stores which corporate with Apple or they are permitting by Apple Company.


3.The impact on value chain activities

Sales activities: It's fascinating to watch a hot new retail establishment capture the public imagination. Friends rave to friends about the terrific new shop in town and the buzz spreads like wildfire. The store quickly becomes a favorite with the locals and soon visitors start making it a point to stop by whenever they're in town. The merchandise is always fresh and innovative, the sales staff is knowledgeable and helpful, and better-than-average shares of the people who stop to browse make purchases. A successful store like this works on many levels. The merchandise is carefully selected with a specific audience and price point in mind. The sights, sounds, smells, and textures customers encounter in the store are carefully orchestrated to convey a consistent message. Inventory is carefully managed to provide the right quantity of each product at the lowest carrying cost. Most important of all, the retailer takes the time to stay in touch with the latest products, changing customer preferences, and marketplace trends so that the store is always leading, never lagging.

None of this happens by accident, of course. Successful retailers are artists whose medium is the store and everything in it. At the same time, they are technicians who know how to do several things well:

* Create and maintain an attractive shopping environment

* Offer the right merchandise at the right price for the clientele

* Provide excellent customer service

* Develop and retain experienced and loyal employees

* Run a profitable operation

Doing all of these things requires insight based on good information and it requires method based on best practices. The right retail POS (point of sale system) system provides both of these benefits.

Retail POS systems provide substantial benefits for retail businesses with the following attributes:

* Sales transactions to be recorded

* Inventory to be managed

* Customer data that can be used to generate more business

Accounts, billing and receivables: accounts receivables is one of a series of accounting transactions dealing with the billing of a customer for goods and services he/she has ordered. In most business entities this is typically done by generating an invoice and mailing or electronically delivering it to the customer, who in turn must pay it within an established timeframe called "creditor payment terms". There are many options for someone to pay. For example if he orders something online he can pay via credit card. Another example is to arrange a payment under certain circumstance with the seller.

Procurement of goods and distribution of the same: Over the years, Apple has developed an entire ecosystem of suppliers who support our business operations. Our goal, in a nutshell, is to obtain stellar products and services within tight timeframes, at a cost that represents the best possible value to our customers and shareholders. If that sounds like a daunting task, it's the same one we assign ourselves.

We are proud of the strong relationships we have built with our suppliers, many of whom have been working with us for years. And we are always looking to expand our supplier base to accommodate our rapidly growing customer base. To that end, we periodically review our relationships and add new suppliers as needed.


-Suppliers at Apple

Apple requires each of its suppliers to meet the highest standards for all goods and services. Our requirements include a commitment to rigorous quality assurance. In addition, suppliers must be committed, as we are, to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility.

The ideal suppliers are those who understand our culture and expectations. We value suppliers who take the time to learn about and understand our business and who look for ways to add value. These suppliers know the importance of making and meeting commitments and delivering the highest quality goods and services.

Our business environment is competitive and fast-paced. Our suppliers must understand this dynamic and be agile and flexible in responding to changing business conditions. Above all, Apple values innovation. We appreciate suppliers who truly understand and share in our challenges, and who help us find the best possible solutions.

-distribution structure

Retail stock and stores management: In 2001 Apple Computer acted on a decision to open a series of retail stores that would display their entire line of computer products, software and peripherals. Part of the decision was based on Apple's declining share of the computer market. But the move was also forced by poor marketing of Apple's Macintosh products at other retails stores, most noticeable the Sears and CompUSA chains. Either way, Apple made it clear that it wanted more control over the retail selling experience for its products.

In the words of its 2005 annual report, "One of the goals of the retail initiative is to bring new customers to the Company and expand its installed base through sales to computer users who currently do not own a Macintosh computer and first time personal computer buyers. By operating its own stores and building them in desirable high traffic locations, the Company is able to better control the customer retail experience and attracts new customers. The stores are designed to simplify and enhance the presentation and marketing of personal computing products." The report added, "The stores provide a forum in which the Company is able to present computing solutions to users in areas such as digital photography, digital video, music, children's software, and home and small business computing."

The company has now opened over 225 stores, including in Japan, Canada, the UK, Italy, Australia and China, and I've confirmed future stores soon in Germany, Switzerland and France. Apple's latest annual report states they'll continue capital expenditures for retail operations, indicating that they have a long-term strategy for opening more stores.

Financially, Apple's stores have been steadily improving since they first opened: the number of visitors has steadily increased from 25.2 million in 2004 to 102.4 million in fiscal 2007. Store revenues have continued to increase during the same period, from $1.185 billion to $4.11 billion, now totaling about 17.1 percent of the company's overall sales. [Charts & graphs]

Perhaps most importantly, Apple's overall market share has reportedly increased since the retail stores have opened, perhaps beyond six percent.

Design: apple company focus on customers' needs and wants. Adapt its product according to tendencies of season and the new demands and needs of a modern consumer. The creation of iPhone covers all the requirements of a student or of a business man. If we check out this device we realize that it has an exceptional appearance in order to be in trend and its applications and the whole menu is more than enough since it is a multifaceted device from mp3 player or simple write a message to internet access. Of course apple continues to produce new iPhone with upgraded software.

Customer service support: it s one of the most wanted desire for each customer the sector of customer service support because people want to feel safe for each buy they do in order to have the best possible quality. It s an element of customer experience to have someone beside you and guide you in case you face a difficulty with the purchase you did. That's why Apple Company provides many ways to contact with its customer service department. Via online, phone, chat, retail store, online store, authorized service provider and apple consultants' network. As far for this expectation from customers I strongly believe that Apple Company covers it.


Conclusion

To sum up apple company is one of the most reliable companies in the industry covers every need and wants of its customers or its potential buyers through her activities in the value chain management and her approach of total quality management in its products, products such as computers mobiles and software. Talking specifically for iPhone it s an innovated product and we see apple's mission which is the satisfaction of customers. I strongly believe that purchases in apple s company products are the best choice for any buyer.


References:

1) www.apple.com

2) Adrian Palmer (2005) Principles of services marketing 4th edition. Mc Graw-hill companies

3) John S. Oakland (2003) TQM 3rd edition. Butterworth Heinemann

4) http://www.iphoneworld.ca/iphone-information/

Source: Essay UK - http://doghouse.net/free-essays/information-technology/value-chain-management-in-iphone-3g.php


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