Apple was able to leapfrog its competition thanks in part to brilliant supply chain management that is still years ahead of the competition.That’s because Tim Cook, who was Steve Jobs’ second-in-command, handled all of Apple’s supply concerns for its devices.
Now Google is trying to do the same thing: build phones and devices that people will love and leapfrog the competition. It will face the same challenges Apple faced.
So, who is the Tim Cook of Google?
Enter Mark Randall. His title is “Supply Chain at Google.” That’s all you need to know.
Randall was, most recently, a supply-chain expert who managed procurement for Amazon’s Kindle division.
He developed the supply chain for the Kindle and Kindle Fire—two devices that faced nearly the same strong demand as the iPhone and iPad.
The Kindle Fire isn’t too bad of a device, either, and Amazon was able to develop a tablet that was much, much cheaper than the competition without sacrificing too much.
Randall’s expertise appears to be finding ways to minimize the cost of what are traditionally expensive products with cheap, efficient supply chains.
Before working in Amazon’s Kindle division, he worked in the company’s Toys division, where he scouted new toys to sell at bargains.
In an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2008, Randall said he wanted to “make sure people are getting the best value” at the height of the recession.
Does this mean Google is seeking to undercut Apple at its own game, much in the same way Amazon took on the iPad with the Kindle Fire?
We’ll find out.
But the Motorola deal has closed, and Google CEO Larry Page has extremely high hopes for his new hardware division.
If it’s going to work, Randall really has to become the Tim Cook of Google.