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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the May-June 2021 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

May-June 2021

Indulge me for a minute, while I lead a cheer for our profession. I wrote my column for the January 2021 issue of SCMR one Sunday morning after watching the first trucks full of vaccine roll out of a Pfizer plant in Michigan, headed for a UPS sortation depot. I felt an incredible sense of optimism for the country, and pride in the role that we, as supply chain managers, were going to play to combat a pandemic. Supply chain as in the spotlight, and on that morning, it was for all the right reasons. Fast forward to late April 2021.
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The world’s human population is estimated at around 7.8 billion. Close to 70% of this population has access to a mobile device, putting the electronics consumer base at roughly 5.4 billion people worldwide. Only a well-oiled electronics supply chain can manage end-to-end fulfillment for a global diaspora of such magnitude. Apple is a case in point. While the design of every iPhone is completed in Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters, Apple depends on a staggeringly complex global supply chain comprising 43 nations and six continents to bring its design to reality.

A quick look at the A12 chips that go into these iPhones reveals the level of complexity. A global workforce orchestrates the different processes, from chip fabrication in Taiwan to testing in Indonesia to assembly in China. If you dig deeper, the substrate, minerals and interconnect that go into the printed circuit boards, or PCBs, are sourced from different parts of the world. Jim Morrison, Apple’s vice president of technical intelligence, aptly mentioned in a December 2018 interview with CNBC that “tracing the origin of a wide array of parts and minerals that go into even a single component is, at best, tricky.”

Traceability is critical to building transparency of information interchange in a connected world. What makes the topic interesting is how the functionality of certain minerals in the electronics supply chain are intertwined in our daily lives.

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From the May-June 2021 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

May-June 2021

Indulge me for a minute, while I lead a cheer for our profession. I wrote my column for the January 2021 issue of SCMR one Sunday morning after watching the first trucks full of vaccine roll out of a Pfizer plant in…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the May-June 2021 issue.

The world’s human population is estimated at around 7.8 billion. Close to 70% of this population has access to a mobile device, putting the electronics consumer base at roughly 5.4 billion people worldwide. Only a well-oiled electronics supply chain can manage end-to-end fulfillment for a global diaspora of such magnitude. Apple is a case in point. While the design of every iPhone is completed in Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters, Apple depends on a staggeringly complex global supply chain comprising 43 nations and six continents to bring its design to reality.

A quick look at the A12 chips that go into these iPhones reveals the level of complexity. A global workforce orchestrates the different processes, from chip fabrication in Taiwan to testing in Indonesia to assembly in China. If you dig deeper, the substrate, minerals and interconnect that go into the printed circuit boards, or PCBs, are sourced from different parts of the world. Jim Morrison, Apple’s vice president of technical intelligence, aptly mentioned in a December 2018 interview with CNBC that “tracing the origin of a wide array of parts and minerals that go into even a single component is, at best, tricky.”

Traceability is critical to building transparency of information interchange in a connected world. What makes the topic interesting is how the functionality of certain minerals in the electronics supply chain are intertwined in our daily lives.

SC
MR

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