Challenges in the Global Business Environment
Nowadays, the efficiency of the modern business is significantly influenced by various factors. In fact, the development of telecommunications and information technologies greatly affects the acceleration of business processes. The modern market economy based on the principles of free enterprise and the diversity of ownership motivates the companies to occupy a specific niche on the market and constantly secure a sustainable competitive advantage. This is especially important in the current unstable economic situation. Thus, the companies are forced to seek new security measures that provide the flexibility and sustainability of their business model to assure the fast response to new challenges. In fact, the world’s practice shows various examples of companies that have successfully entered the market with new business models, including the Southwest, Amazon, FedEx, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, IKEA, Enterprise, eBay, Priceline, Dell Computers, Starbucks, Skype, Groupon, etc. All these companies have not tried to outdo their competitors on the already mature market, but they offered an innovative approach in the promotion of the similar products and services. Thus, taking into account the mentioned above, the following paper is aimed to provide the overview of the ongoing challenges met by Apple Inc. within the global business environment based on Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
Apple Inc. within the Global Business Environment
Apple Inc. is the world's largest company in the field of information technology for the proceeds, the world's largest technology company by assets and the third largest world manufacturer of mobile phones. On November 25, 2014, Apple became the first company in the United States, the cost of which exceeded $700 billion, as well as the largest public corporation in the world by market capitalization. Nowadays, the company employs over 115,000 workers on a permanent basis and has 453 retail stores in more than 16 countries.
The key objective of the Apple’s Code of Conduct as the supplier implies the following:
1. To give each employee the understanding of the mission, values, and operating principles of the company;
2. To establish the standards of ethical behavior, defining relationships within the team, relationships with customers, business partners, public authorities, public, and competitors;
3. To serve as an instrument of prevention of possible abuses and conflicts as well as for the development of the corporate culture based on high ethical standards.
In fact, Apple’s Code of Conduct expresses the standards of professional conduct that are inherent to Apple employees in their relationships with potential and existing customers, colleagues, and partners.
The ethics of business communication takes a significant place in the modern world of business. Guided by a wide variety of sources as well as practical experience, Apple Inc. supports the idea that business ethics should be based on the specific set of moral norms needed in business. In the broad sense of the term, business ethics implies a set of ethical principles and norms that should guide the organization and its employees in the business sector. Today, many companies create corporate codes of ethics that define the ethical principles of the organization, the rules of conduct for the employees, the responsibilities of the organization with respect to personnel, customers, etc. All mentioned above eventually forms the company’s image, reflected on its perception of the business by society as well as customers.
Like many other corporations, Apple Inc. has its own corporate ethics that defines its business strategy. In fact, it is based on the following principles:
1. Honesty – the demonstration of integrity and high ethical qualities in all business dealings;
2. Respect and courtesy - to help users, suppliers, employees, and others;
3. Confidentiality - the protection of information of Apple Inc. and its customers, suppliers, and employees;
4. Social responsibility – the performance based on the provision of the benefits to society;
5. Diligence – the compliance with all applicable laws and regulations at the time of making any business decisions.
The violation of at least one of these principles may serve as the reason for dismissal.
In addition, Apple Inc. strives to protect the environment as well as decrease the rate of the environmental pollution in the process of the product development and manufacturing. To reduce the carbon footprint, the company creates new projects for solar energy. It strives to protect forests and ensures that they are renewed by introducing more recycling techniques and robots.
While measuring carbon footprint, the company analyzes the actions of hundreds of suppliers and millions of customers and hundreds of millions of devices. Particular attention is paid to five main areas such as production, transportation, the use, and the disposal of products as well as the work of the buildings. The company strives to make each successive generation of products even more energy efficient. It uses materials with low carbon content for the production of the devices and helps providers to transfer the company to clean energy. Apple Inc. produces and buys clean energy from renewable sources and provides it to 93% of all company’s offices, stores, and data centers in the world. Due to this, the company has managed to reduce the impact of its buildings and factories on the environment up to 1% of the total carbon footprint. In addition, Apple Inc. constantly improves transport processes and recycles the produced products.
Taking into account that the manufacturing and production of goods belong to the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions, the company has identified two areas, in which it is possible to significantly reduce the level of the exposure, i.e. the processing of raw materials and electricity used in manufacturing.
The electricity that the company uses throughout the production cycle (processing raw materials, manufacturing, and assembly of parts) is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. That is why in 2015, Apple Inc. launched a program designed to help the partners around the world to reduce energy consumption as well as provide businesses with clean energy and switch to renewable sources. To reduce the volume of production of emissions, the company launched a project to develop solar energy with a total capacity of 200 megawatts in China. It will begin with the construction of 170-megawatt power plant in Inner Mongolia. In cooperation with suppliers, the company plans to produce more than 4 gigawatts of clean energy in 2020, out of which 2 gigawatts will be produced in China. Over the next two years, Foxconn will start the solar power plant 400 MW that will provide energy for the iPhone, the company assembled in Zhengzhou. By 2020, the company’s projects for the production of four gigawatts of clean energy will reduce the volume of carbon emissions by 30 million tons. This amount can be compared to removing six million cars from the roads for one year.
In addition to the information mentioned above, the success of Apple Inc. on the market is caused by the following factors:
1. Quality is the most important part of the company’s marketing strategy, as without proper quality level, the company cannot rely on the long-term and substantial success. Regardless of the size of the budget and the originality of the marketing companies, everything ultimately depends on the quality of the product being promoted. Apple Inc. has consistently beaten the competition. For the first time, the consumers were able not only to see the goods but also to feel them, to experience them in action. Given how user-friendly these products have been developed, the customers immediately have received the positive service. This would be impossible without Apple paying careful attention to the quality of their products.
2. Consistent branding. Regardless of exactly where the customers buy the Apple products, they always have the consistently high level of quality. This is a great strategy for promoting brand loyalty and winning customers. Apple has managed to create a sense among consumers that they buy a premium product that embodies the quality and status. Apple’s products are even packed nicely, so when customers just open the box, they feel joy and aesthetic pleasure from shopping. As a result, Apple has formed a large group of consumers who are loyal only to the products and services of the company.
3. Customers’ loyalty. Apple has sought to meet the existing customer base to create loyalty and satisfy the consumers. This is required to ensure that customers always use the products and services of a company. Every savvy marketer knows that regular customers form the main power of the brand and the foundation of the successful business. Therefore, before looking for new customers, Apple Inc. needed to make sure that the existing customers were satisfied. It helps to work with the ‘word of mouth’ strategy - the best advertising strategy for any company. When customers are ready for a few days before the start of sales of the new product and take their turn to spend the night in tents in front of the store, waiting in the pouring rain, it is said that the company has reached the level of a rock star. By creating real fans, not just satisfied customers, the company ensures itself a stable position for years to come. On today's competitive market, such a position is of paramount importance for the successful and efficient development.
The challenges of the modern market in the business environment make the companies adapt to gain the customers’ attention and loyalty. The success of Apple Inc. is based on the quality of the produced products and consistent branding as well as customers’ loyalty. In addition, the company has proved to be an environmental conscious and social responsible supplier as well as the perfect employer. Thus, the combination of the mentioned factors within the company’s strategy has made it the key player on the market of the high tech devices.
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