Apple Makes Public The Results Of Its 2010 Supplier Audits . . . The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Has your company published a supplier code of conduct? Most likely it has. Is it conducting supplier audits to ensure that the code of conduct is being followed? Maybe. Does it have a plan in place if you turn up something truly ugly? Doubtful. Would you publish those results if they were bad? Yeah . . . probably not.

Enter Apple, which recently released its latest Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report, which outlines the specific findings of its own supplier audits. The results?

“In 2010, our audits of 127 facilities revealed 37 core violations: 18 facilities where workers had paid excessive recruitment fees, which we consider to be involuntary labor; ten facilities where underage workers had been hired; two instances of worker endangerment; four facilities where records were falsified; one case of bribery; and one case of coaching workers on how to answer auditors’ questions.” (Source: Apple Supplier Responsibility, 2011 Progress Report)

 I give Apple high praise for making this information public. Hopefully, it has a ripple effect in the industry and we’ll see more transparency. Public sentiment does not separate the company that assembles an iPad from the Apple brand. Even if you’ve outsourced the supply chain, there’s still a corporate responsibility to ensure that socially and environmentally sound business practices are taking place. And this goes for subcontractor relationships too — yes, in the eyes of the consumer, you are responsible for your supplier’s supplier’s actions. Apple gets this.

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Spring Training For Microsoft Negotiators

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in England, the first snowdrops have appeared in my garden and at least one of my pet hens has restarted laying – yes, Spring is on the way. Meanwhile, in the US the main harbinger of the changing season is the migration of baseball teams to Florida and Arizona for their annual pre-season ritual known as ‘Spring Training’. In the software sourcing world, the rites of Spring often include major negotiations with Oracle and Microsoft ahead of their fiscal year ends of May and June respectively. That’s why this is a perfect time of year to get some spring training of your own, at one of our ever-popular Microsoft Negotiation workshops.1 Anyone considering a major purchase or renewal with the Redmond Sluggers between now and the World Series should come along to Amsterdam on February 16 or Dallas on March 2 to hear why they may have extra leverage this year, and how to use it to get the best possible deal.

Microsoft had very high sales revenue for its December quarter, particularly the business division, but that didn’t come from the multi-year Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Software Assurance (SA) deals that the direct sales teams need. Microsoft’s revenue boost came from one-off purchases of its just-released Office 2010 product through its retail and small business programs. EA/ SA deals would initially appear in the accounts as unearned revenue in the balance sheet, and that was at the same level as two years earlier.2 So these results are consistent with our research that predicts that Microsoft’s direct sales teams will struggle to meet their tough EA bookings targets this year, and that will strengthen prospective buyers’ negotiating position.

We can’t promise warm weather or adoring fans, but our spring training session will help you with:

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New Insights On Sourcing And Managing SAP Service Providers

Thinking about setting up a relationship or renegotiating a contract with an SAP implementation services provider? We have some exciting new insights on these third-party firms pulled straight from their customers' mouths.  We collected some great data when we surveyed 186 SAP customers using 19 of the leading SI firms for their implementation projects and saw some interesting trends surface. 

The report, Insights Into Real-World SAP Projects, highlights key areas that sourcing professionals should focus on when selecting a provider: pricing model offerings, SI industry expertise, and ability to measure business benefits.

Pricing Model Choices Correlate With Project Cost

We will be presenting more of these findings in the Insights Into Real-World SAP Projects Teleconference we are holding on March 11 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.  You can use the data from these customer interviews and the accompanying  Forrester Wave™ report on SAP SIs, which is due out at the end of February, as leverage for your strategic negotiations with these providers in 2011. 

Click here to register for the teleconference now.