Horizontal carousels improve Apple's European distribution
Apple Computer Company recently faced a problem with coordinating inventory, production and market demand in a diverse international marketplace. It turned to Richards-Wilcox for a solution to the problem.
Apple's Cork Facility produces custom products for 20 separate European language groups -- all based on the same Macintosh base unit. Prior to selecting Accutrieve horizontal carousels, Apple maintained inventories in separate distribution centers throughout Europe. Once a computer was packaged for a particular European language, it had to sell in the appropriate country. If demand was down in France, but high in Britain, Apple's only response could be to produce more English-language computers, and wait or the French inventories to sell.
While finished products varied by country, the only truly custom aspects of each product dealt with language and software. All had nearly identical internal workings. Therefore, Apple engineers drew the conclusion that international demand could be better served by maintaining one central stock of assembled computers, and customizing for individual countries when the orders were received.
Once the solution was conceived, Apple began …