Apple Supply Chain

Apple’s Supply Chain From the Factory Floor to Retail Stores

Since Apple’s release of the iPhone in 2007, over one billion devices have been sold around the world. In fact, about 20 percent of the US population owns iPhones. So how does Apple’s supply chain keep up with the high demand and constant pressure to be faster? Let’s find out! Buckle up for a race through Apple’s manufacturing and logistics empire from start to finish.

Revving the Engine: The Manufacturing Facility

– Half of all iPhones are now made in a huge facility in China owned and operated by Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn.

– Foxconn manufactures the iPhones in Zhengzhou, China and employs 350,000 workers.

– Zhengzhou has quickly become known as “iPhone City.”

The Race Begins: Parts and Assembly

– Parts from more than 200 suppliers go into each iPhone.

– Foxconn follows an operation called F.A.T.P. or or final assembly, testing and packaging.

– There are 94 production lines inside the Zhengzhou manufacturing site and it takes 400 steps to assemble the iPhone.

– Foxconn can produces 350 iPhones a minute and 50,000 a day in the factory.

The Last Leg: Customs and Shipping

– After the iPhones are manufactured, they are transported to a large customs facility built by China just a few hundred yards away.

– The customs operation is inside a “bonded zone” where products can be imported and exported virtually.

– Foxconn sells the finished iPhones to Apple who then resells them to customers around the world.

Shipping to the US

– Freight carriers fly the iPhones to the US in a wide-body Boeing 747 which can easily hold 150,000 iPhones.

– The iPhones land in Anchorage, AK where they refuel and head to major logistics hubs in the US.

Distribution in China

– iPhones are loaded in a truck and travel 18 hours from  Zhengzhou to Apple’s national distribution center in Shanghai.

– 36,000 iPhones are loaded on a tractor trailer with armed guards and travel to retail stores.

– Surprisingly, it takes almost as long to get a phone to Shanghai as it does to San Francisco.

The Finish Line: iPhone Reaches Customers

– Customers in China actually pay 20 percent more for their iPhones than customers in the US due to currency fluctuations and added tax.

Apple’s supply chain is a behind the scenes operation that involves A LOT of moving parts. Intelligent professionals are needed to manage, advise and innovate to ensure the company’s success and race to the finish line.

Do you work or are studying to work in the Supply Chain? Let us know all of the amazing things you do and inspire next generation workers everywhere! Submit your #iWorkInTheSupplyChain story to for a chance to win the 2017 Face of Supply Chain.