Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with PBS’ Charlie Rose last Friday for a two-part interview, the second half of which aired Monday night.
Cook went in-depth on Apple’s supply chain, trumpeting the high standards Apple holds its contractors to.
“We’ve audited so deep in our supply chain,” said Cook. “We do it constantly, looking for anything that’s wrong, whether it’s down to the — there’s a safety exit blocked.”
Cook said Apple has begun educating its suppliers with classes not unlike the company’s in-house management school, Apple University.
“We have gone beyond the auditing and are now essentially holding university-style classes on the manufacturing campuses with our partners,” he said. “We’re trying to provide education, which to me, is the great equaliser among people, to people on the factory floor who want and aspire to do more.”
Apple’s CEO said that unlike Apple’s product plans, supply chain training is one area where he would like his competitors to copy him.
“I want everybody to copy, and I’d love that everybody takes exactly what we’re doing and do it,” he said. “And if they have got any better ideas, I want them.”
Cook likened Apple’s supply chain training to other collaborative efforts that Apple wants to lead the way on.
“Just like with the environment and human rights, this is an area we ought to all share, we could all improve the world on,” he said.
Apple has had problems with working conditions at suppliers in the past. In 2012, The New York Times wrote a long series called The iEconomy that detailed the harsh and sometimes dangerous working conditions workers must endure to build Apple products.