What is your supply chain telling your competitors?

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If you’ve just bought an iPad 2, I’ve got bad news for you. Apple is already working on the iPad 3 and it will be out in just a few months.

How do I know this? Well, analysts and computer geeks have been poring over Apple’s supply chain for signs and come to the conclusion that it is gearing up for production of the next version of the tablet computer.

The computer press is full of reports suggesting that the iPad 3 will be thinner and lighter with a higher resolution screen. Apple, not surprisingly, is saying nothing.

It seems that with the growth of extended supply chains, increasing visibility is not just benefiting the owners of the chain – but their competitors as well.

Does this matter? Well, in Apple’s case it is almost a marketing tool. There is an army of people just counting the days until they can be first to show off the latest bit of Apple tech.

But Apple’s competitors will be keen to avoid launching  products around the time that the iPad 3 appears – and information on what it will contain must offer product development opportunities.

It is worth mentioning that this is clearly not a perfect business intelligence tool. One financial analyst has run a  series of supply chain checks and calculates that Apple will have built the best part of a million iPad 3s by the end of this year. But another computer industry analyst reckons that it is waiting for a new processor that won’t be available until next year.

Nevertheless, it might be worth looking at your supply chain in terms of what it can tell your competitors about your business. You might be surprised at what you are revealing.

What do you think?  Tell us at the Supply Chain Standard Linked In discussion group.

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