On Apple’s Efforts to Improve Supply Chain Conditions

By , Jan 26, 2012

The New York Times published an extensive 7-page report last night detailing Apple’s failure to effectively pursue safer working conditions in its overseas manufacturing plants.

We knew that conditions were bad for workers inside the factories of companies like Foxconn and Wintek, but we thought they were getting better. But citing both past and current Apple executives, the NYT paints a bleak picture of Apple’s efforts to improve the awful conditions of its supply chain workers…

What it all seems to boil down to is that Apple’s requests for high profit margins and quick-turn around times puts a major strain on manufacturers.

Imagine Apple has just finished work on a product and is ready to start building it in mass quantities. It goes to a manufacturer and says, “We need 10 million units of this product built in 26 days. And it better not cost us more than $50 million dollars.”

Apple asks the seemingly impossible of its supply partners and as a result, the manufacturers cut corners. They force their workers to put in consecutive 60+ hour workweeks and skimp on safety procedures and protocols. This has resulted in two major explosions in factories over the last year, causing a handful of employee deaths and countless injuries.

To be fair, Apple did just recently join the FLA (Fair Labor Association), and it seems to be really committed to making things better. But some would argue that it’s just not happening fast enough.

“We’re trying really hard to make things better,” said one former Apple executive. “But most people would still be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from.”

If you haven’t read the NYT article, you should check it out. It’s definitely worth reading.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001783517599 Gregory D Foster

    None of these companies Apple included, want things much better of there. After all, if they begin to convince the workers that they are people, they may indeed begin to behave like people and ask for crazy things like actual livable wages and clean/safe working conditions. these companies are about profits, bottom line. It is the DEFINING reason why they will NEVER bring those jobs back to America. They want slaves, not people working for them. They want people to believe that regulations and taxes are stifling the hiring of the American people but it’s truly the demand for an ever increasing profit.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah. Apple needs to change this. The workers should NOT BE RUSHED IN ANY WAY AT ALL!!!! I believe this is truly why 9 out of every 10 iPhones are defected in some way. I know. I have delt with soo many iPhones/iPod Touches and finding an iPhone/iPod touch that did not have a defect of some kind was basically impossible.

    I would seriously challenge anyone, even Apple themselves, to hand me any iPhone or iPod touch, and I 99% GARENTEE I WILL FIND A DEFFECT!!!! There is no doubt in my mind.

    And these defect I speak are all completely “hardware” related. There are many software defects, but that’s a whole other subject.

  • http://twitter.com/xXJosephEditsXx Joseph Tay

    Where do I get one of those … unifroms !!!