- Apple CEO Tim Cook had an impact on the company and the way it viewed operations when he was still in the interview process, as noted in a new book about his career.
- The book also describes how Cook was able to turn the company’s operations practices around just seven months into the job.
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As the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook has had a profound impact on the company in several ways – not only when it comes to the tech firm’s products but also its values, as Leander Kahney details in his new book, “Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level.”
But what few may realise is that Cook had some influence on the company before he was even hired.
“I remember when Steve [Jobs] was interviewing Tim because he was coming back and telling us amazing things about operations that he was clearly learning from his interviews with Tim,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of product marketing, told Kahney. “And so he was having literally an impact on us and some of the operational thinking that happened before he was hired.”
Cook was hired in 1998 as senior vice president of worldwide operations, a job that entailed revamping Apple’s manufacturing and distribution. He came onboard as the company was struggling and very much in need of help when it came to operations.
“We were terrible at it,” Joswiak said according to the book. “Terrible at managing costs of it. Terrible at managing inventory. Terrible at managing billables.”
After just seven months into the job, Cook was able to reduce Apple’s inventory stock down to $US78 million worth of unsold Macs, down from $US400 million, Kahney writes. He made a slew of changes from the onset, such as cutting down the number of suppliers Apple works with, moving suppliers closer to Apple’s factories, and outsourcing production whenever possible.
He also invested in an enterprise resource planning system that provided his team with data about the entire supply chain, giving them enough information to tweak production as needed on a daily basis.
When describing Cook’s attributes and leadership qualities, Joswiak portrays the Apple CEO as an operations whiz that thinks like a businessperson, as he told Kahney: “You have to have that business sense, and Tim had that.”
Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, told Kahney that she believes the challenge is what made the job “exciting” for Cook.
“I don’t think anyone would have taken that job if they did not think it was a huge turnaround role, and I think for Tim that was probably what was really exciting about it,” she said.
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