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Training and Development, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1456

Essay

Apple is arguably the most fascinating story to ever have come out of the Silicon Valley. The company invented the graphical user interface (GUI) and helped popularize personal computing but soon lost the competition to Microsoft. Its co-founder Steve Jobs was forced out of the company and the company almost went bankrupt before Jobs was re-hired to reverse Apple’s fortunes. Today, Apple is not only the most valuable technology company in the world but also the most valuable company overall, having surpassed Exxon Mobil this year (Forbes, 2011). Apple fascinates me because the company has succeeded despite defying the accepted rules of success in the industry. In addition, Apple has never compromised on its convictions and belief system which shows the company truly understands its culture as well as its strengths and weaknesses. Apple refused to compromise on overall control on the total user experience which probably led to its defeat at the hand of Microsoft but when Apple reemerged, it still refused to leave those very same core beliefs. Today, Apple is probably the only technology company in the world that is succeeding despite maintaining total control over hardware and software. This is why I want to work at Apple because I enjoy working with innovative and creative people. But the most important reason for me is that I expect to learn more about business at Apple than any other company many of whom blindly follow business theories without actually understanding it.

As far as sources for the purpose of research are concerned, the starting point will be the company’s website. I also plan to visit Apple retail stores and collect data in multiple ways. One way of collecting data will be face-to-face conversations with the employees and noting down the relevant information. I will also personally observe the employees as they interact with the customers and store visitors. In addition, I will also talk to the store visitors to learn about their expectations as well as actual experiences with the employees. Besides this, I will also do research on the internet to find relevant news reports and articles about Apple.

Apple has come to define various product and service categories single handedly including portable music players, music content delivery, smart phone with focus on entertainment, and tablet devices. These innovations and reputation for quality have made it the target of numerous competitors who each want a share of the growth rates and profits being enjoyed by Apple. Apple has always been a culture of knowledge and innovation but growing competition and forces of globalization have only increased the influence of external factors on the company. Fortunately, Apple continues to stay ahead of the competition but nonetheless, even a company like Apple cannot afford to ignore the factors that are affecting not only the general workplaces but also the learning at Apple itself.

The most important are economic cycles and globalization and the greater interconnectivity of world economies became apparent in the recent financial crisis. Because sales of technology products vary with economic cycles, Apple has to develop better forecasting models so as to avoid excess inventory. This is even more important as Apple operates a global supply chain and even though Apple still controls the design process, the manufacturing is outsourced to suppliers mainly in Asia. Thus, globalization means employees and leadership at Apple have to become more flexible as well as increase their cross cultural knowledge in order to improve relationships with its supply chain partners. Another factor is intangible assets and human capital. Physical labor is relatively more mobile than intellectual labor which is why regions with low labor costs tend to attract manufacturing activity. Intellectual capital on the other hand is more difficult to outsource because it is difficult to standardize creation of ideas and innovation. Apple’s competitors have access to the same manufacturing facilities that Apple has but what differentiates Apple from its competitors is its creative workforce and knowledge management. In addition, competitors are always on the hunt for Apple’s employees thus, the company has to continuously learn how to effectively manage its employees’ morale. Apple’s employees on the other hand have to continuously update their skills and knowledge because the competition will only grow due to globalization.

Apple is now no.1 in numerous product and services categories which has probably never happened before to such a great extent in the technology sector before. As of 2010, Apple’s share of the online movie market stood at 64.5% (WMPowerUser.com, 2011). According to recently released figures, Apple holds a 54.65% of the mobile/tablet operating system market (Whitney, 2011). As of late 2010, Apple was estimated to be holding 75% share of the tablets market (BusinessInsider, 2011). Apple’s iPhone market share grew by 115% in the first quarter of 2011 (Dalrymple, 2011) and Piper Jaffray’s analyst Gene Munster expects Apple to double its market share of the smartphone market after the launch of iPhone 5 (Silicon Valley Business Journal, 2011). As of September 2009, Apple had already sold 225 million iPods and had a 73.8% of the portable music devices market. In contrast, its second closest competitor Sandisk had only 7.2% market share (Delahunty, 2009). This year, Apple also succeeded in breaking the 10% mark in U.S. PC market and surged to third position with 10.7% market share, up from last year’s fifth position (Slivka, 2011). Apple’s performance has been amazing by any standard, especially taking into account the fact that Apple has done it without any outside help. In contrast, Microsoft’s Windows operating system thrived through licensing and similarly, Google’s Android operating system has been gaining market share just because it has been licensed to numerous manufacturers including HTC, Samsung, and LG.

Driven by Steve Job’s personal values, Apple has developed an organizational culture that seeks perfection in everything it does and employees’ training is no exception. Apple understands the value of customer service which is why it expects its employees to set the highest standards in customer care and train them accordingly. First of all, Apple educates all of its employees about the company’s products so that they are able to understand customers’ needs and offer solutions. When the company launches new products, it trains its sales associates in the use of new products as well (Megrund, 2011). Apple also makes sure that it hires people who are already passionate about its products (Frankel, 2007). This results in a workforce that is already loyal to the company and thus, will do its best to achieve organizational objectives. This may explain why Apple’s retail stores are so much more profitable than the competitors. Needham & Co. estimates Apple stores’ profit margin to be 26.9% while Best Buy’s pre-tax profit margin (excluding online sales) is paltry 1% (Kane & Sherr, 2011). Another strong point of Apple’s training programs is that they have been carefully designed to make them intuitive and easy to understand (Frankel, 2007). This improves the probability that the employees will successfully graduate from the training courses and successfully apply the lessons on the job.

Thus, it is clear that the success of Apple’s product have as much to do with its dedicated sales work force as it has to do with its intellectual capital. Apple doesn’t focus on its employees only after recruitment but instead ensures from the very beginning that it hires those who will be a great fit within the organizational culture. Apple understands the importance of customer service and realizes that superior products by themselves cannot guarantee market leadership.

References

BusinessInsider. (2011, March 6). Steve Jobs Wasn’t Lying: Apple’s iPad Market Share Was Really More Than 90% Last Year. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.businessinsider.com/ipad-share-2011-3

Dalrymple, J. (2011, April 29). Apple’s iPhone market share grows 115% in 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.loopinsight.com/2011/04/29/apples-iphone-market-share-grows-115-in-2011/

Delahunty, J. (2009, September 9). iPod market share at 73.8 percent, 225 million iPods sold, more games for Touch than PSP & NDS: Apple. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2009/09/09/ipod_market_share_at_73_8_percent_225_million_ipods_sold_more_games_for_touch_than_psp_nds_apple

Forbes. (2011, September 30). IBM Exceeds Microsoft Market Cap. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.forbes.com/2011/09/30/ibm-exceeds-microsoft-market-cap-marketnewsvideo.html

Frankel, A. (2007, November 1). Magic Shop. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/120/magic-shop.html

Kane, ,. Y., & Sherr, I. (2011, June 15). Secrets From Apple’s Genius Bar: Full Loyalty, No Negativity. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576364071955678908.html

Megrund, S. (2011, September 6). Apple Trains Retail Employees On Upcoming iOS Software Releases. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://appadvice.com/appnn/2011/09/apple-trains-retail-employees-on-upcoming-ios-software-releaseshttp://appadvice.com/appnn/2011/09/apple-trains-retail-employees-on-upcoming-ios-software-releases

Silicon Valley Business Journal. (2011, August 3). Analyst: iPhone 5 may double Apple’s market share. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2011/08/03/analyst-iphone-5-may-2x-apples-share.html

Slivka, E. (2011, July 13). Apple Soars to Third Place in U.S. PC Market With 10.7% Share. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.macrumors.com/2011/07/13/apple-soars-to-third-place-in-u-s-pc-market-with-10-7-share/

Whitney, L. (2011, October 3). Apple’s iOS grabs record market share. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20114825-37/apples-ios-grabs-record-market-share/

WMPowerUser.com. (2011, February 8). Microsoft Zune eating into Apple’s market share. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://wmpoweruser.com/microsoft-zune-eating-into-apples-market-share/

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