Your article lacked some analysis of Apple's important new build-to-order (BTO) system. It's true that the BTO system was expensive and required significant changes in Apple's processes. However, the potential gains go beyond the obvious advantage of providing custom configurations. Apple has an opportunity to keep backorders down, fulfillment up, eliminate overstock, and erase millions in inventory from its liability sheet. This won't happen overnight, but Apple has finally built the foundation to respond to market demand. Jobs stated emphatically that every future Apple product starting with these G3 systems will be built on the BTO system. More than any other announcement, the BTO system gives me hope that Apple is indeed beginning to "think different." I can understand any hesitation to believe that Apple will improve its forecasting and fulfillment problems, but this BTO strategy gives me hope.
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- Is Apple Thinking Different? (10 Nov 97)
Published in TidBITS 405.
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Apple and Build-to-Order
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