Apple & Logistics

Just a random question - does anybody else with Apple would offer a “no, really, it’s okay - please send these in one box when everything is ready” option at checkout…especially for preorders?

I just ordered a purple Mini, the purple Apple folio case, and an Apple Pencil. I’ll be getting the Pencil today, the Mini on 9/24, and the folio case sometime between 9/24 and 9/29.

I realize this is a total “first world problem”, and I’m not really complaining - but it would be nice if I could just get one box, set everything up, and call it good. It’s especially irritating getting the case (potentially) up to 5 days after the device. I’m very much a “don’t use the device until it’s in the case” sort of person. :smiley:

One problem, particularly for launch day, is that the devices themselves often ship direct from China, while accessories ship from elsewhere (sometimes domestic, sometimes some other part of the world).

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Same scenario here, except the folio comes first, then the pencil a few days later, and the mini on 10/5. As @ChrisUpchurch points out, they are not coming from the same place so there’s no “one box” for them to be gathered into.

Hey, it makes the anticipation of getting the mini on 10/5 a bit more bearable since I get dribs and drabs of components of my new kit over the next couple of weeks, with the big reveal at the end! :smile:

I can see that logic. It just seems to me that this sort of problem is relatively trivial compared to other problems that Apple has actually solved. If nothing else, it would be cool if everything could arrive in separate boxes on the same day. :slight_smile:

Like I said, I’m not really complaining…it just feels less “Apple-y” to have multiple shipments for one device.

I’m also wondering what that does to the return windows. If I didn’t like my Apple Pencil, am I already 8-10 days into the return window by the time I get my iPad (without which I can’t even use the Pencil)? If so the window would be closed entirely by the time I get my case.

And of course I could order the Pencil later, but I’d been told it’s not covered under AppleCare unless it’s ordered with the iPad.

To me it’s more frustrating to have a device I physically can’t use (Apple Pencil!) 8-10 days before I can expect to get my iPad. :smiley:

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You’d think Apple could move everything through a few central state-side warehouses, where they could then be combined, if requested…

That’s kind of what I’m thinking. It would give a much nicer end-user experience. And it would allow return policies to sync up.

As it is, if somebody like @anon41602260 ordered their iPad Mini with an Apple Pencil, the Pencil would show up almost immediately - and the return window on the Pencil would be closed by the time the Mini arrived.

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It would be ideal if at least everything could come on the same day. When I ordered the 12.9" iPad Pro, the Magic Keyboard would have arrived 2 weeks earlier than the iPad if I’d ordered them together - that would take it out of the return period.

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@webwalrus I totally agree. A simple check to see if there are multiple orders, and requested to be be delivered on the same day, then ship together.

But Apple really doesn’t want to consider the carbon foot print of 4 trucks delivering on 4 different days for millions of orders but would definitely want to consider the cost of a USB Charger to be excluded. (Beating the dead horse)

I actually order accessories from Costco, so that I have more generous return window policy. A minimum of 90 days.

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One time I placed an order for multiple MacBooks and some other items with an Apple Business agent (and specified standard shipping). The MacBooks shipped direct from China and I received them the next day. The accessories arrived over the next few days. And on a couple of occasions orders I placed with Apple were shipped from a local Apple store.

So I have no idea how Apple distributes their products. But I have on at least one occasion called in a business order to my local Apple store and picked it up the next day. I’d say your best bet for a one box order would be to call an Apple store.

In this case I feel like it’s an issue of the current regulatory focus. The charger thing was being driven by the EU, so Apple preemptively complied with a proposed regulation that was (arguably) beneficial for them.

But all the logic in their presentation about how not including the charger is actually better would definitely also apply to orders showing up in 3 or more boxes. :slight_smile:

Yeah. In this case I got the Pencil from Apple because it’s apparently only covered under AppleCare if you purchase it with the iPad. And while I was at it, I threw in the fancy case “just because”. :slight_smile:

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This is my opinion on why Apple doesn’t ship everything together…

When an order is placed, Apple doesn’t actually bill you for the entire order at that time. There could be a hold placed on your credit card, but you don’t actually get billed until each product ships. Order 5 items that may or may not be in stock and Apple will charge you for each item once it ships. This is in case that IF there was a backorder, you wouldn’t be footing the bill for product that isn’t in your hands yet.

Products ship from different warehouses across the country and the world daily. Add in the chance that Natural Disasters might happen and unhappy customers now have a delayed shipment. I think reasonable people can see why Apple ships what they have and in turn collects payment ASAP.

Should they offer a service to hold all items for one shipment? Sure, but that seems highly unlikely when a 2 or 3 week delay on a brand new product means they lose out on what they could collect on the products that are in stock. Think larger than just YOUR order… think about the money sitting there for 300,000 iPhone cases waiting for the 300,000 iPhones. That is the dilemma they have to deal with. Most people want their product yesterday and don’t care about how “GREEN” a company is or is trying to be. This really isn’t about Logistics or being Green but attempting to please the largest number of customers at one time. It is also about running a trillion dollar company. Decisions like this is what helped Apple become one.

But are they going to actually lose the money for the products they have in stock? Or is it just going to be delayed a few weeks? I know capital availability and having profits a month or so earlier has value to a company - but “OMG ship ALL THE THINGS now so we can get our money immediately and if we can’t even deliver the device for which the accessories are being ordered for a month OH WELL because all those accessories will be unreturnable, even if the customer doesn’t like the device - short term profit FTW!” doesn’t feel like the experience Apple should be delivering.

Apple is a UX and design-centric company. This experience is arguably badly-designed from both of those standpoints. And fixing it wouldn’t be that hard.

If that’s going to be their shipping policy, because “logistics is hard”, they could adjust other policies to compensate. For example, things purchased on the same order should be returnable for a certain period after the device is delivered. Or they should cover the Apple Pencil you purchased for your iPad under your iPad’s AppleCare, even if you purchased it a bit later.

I know in the past I’ve not purchased accessories from Apple because the device was going to be delayed by weeks and the accessories were “in stock” so I’d have them immediately.

This is a company that puts thought into the “unboxing experience” for their devices. Surely they can do better than this?

Streamlining this process is what one would expect from Apple. To get to their goal of reducing Carbon foot print. You announce a product and have a week before they are shipped out.

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Again… this is my opinion. I truly appreciate reading your opinions.

Apple is a Corporation first and foremost. Like most corporations, being “green” is a feel-good marketing pitch that allows customers to believe they are spending their money in a way that makes a difference. Apple stops shipping USB chargers with new phones was billed as being way to reduce the environmental impact. (Not beating a dead horse here) What it truly was for Apple was a way to ship more phones per container by making the box smaller. Remove the bulky part… shrink packaging… charge the same amount for the product and claim a Victory for the Environment! Apple can claim to save fossil fuels by being more efficient in shipping.

Reduced packaging allows them to claim less need for shelf space in warehouses and stores for product. Why do you think iMac boxes were slightly angled rather than square? So they could put more boxes in the same space. This is all about making more product readily available. Apple has made the decisions about Logistics and if fixing it wasn’t hard, they would have done it already. Removing the Styrofoam from packaging was a great move. But it wasn’t because Apple wanted to be green…

I once had a Market Manager at my old store point out that replacing the Easy Pay devices wasn’t a matter of ordering 20 news ones but ordering 100,000 new ones because every other store had the same problem. Apple was working on it by creating a newer version and it was going to take time. That allowed me to see the bigger picture instead of what was affecting just my store. Apple has to make decisions that don’t always lead to everyones happiness.

One of my favorite movie quotes: “There’s no pleasing some people…”

I absolutely agree, although in this case I really think the deepest impetus was the proposed EU regulation that would’ve required them to do exactly what they wound up doing. That gave them legislative “cover” to do something they’d otherwise want to do anyway. :slight_smile:

I can see what you’re saying, but I have to disagree on this point.

Something doesn’t have to be hard to not be fixed yet. It just has to not be somebody’s job to fix it. And this is especially true of things that potentially happen across internal division boundaries.

But “hard” in terms of “has to be addressed by the proper people” (return policies & AppleCare policies) is completely different from “hard” in terms of “the weather gets a vote in whether this succeeds” (international logistics). I would wager that if Tim Cook decided that the return policy were unacceptable, it would be fixed in short order. It definitely would’ve been the case under Steve Jobs. :slight_smile:

Tim Cook has been with Apple since 1998 and he is all about Logistics. The 14 day or even the 30 day return policy has been the rule forever. Exceptions can be made to that policy but that is decided on a case by case basis.

Steve Jobs had option to change it anytime he wanted. He never did and there is no indication that he wanted to. He insisted that Apple not play the “What Would Steve Do” game after he died. He trusted the people he left in charge.

On a side note, it drives me crazy every time someone makes a “Steve Jobs would/wouldn’t do that” or “Steve is spinning in his grave” or “Apple has gone downhill since Steve left”. None of us have a clue what Steve Jobs would do today. To claim otherwise is a falsehood at best or an outright lie at worse. The man has been dead for 10 years next month, so to those people who are doing this STOP trying to justify a weak argument by tying his name to it.

Rant over…

Yeah, I hate that argument too - believe it or not. :slight_smile:

And that’s why that wasn’t the argument I was intending to make. My point wasn’t “Steve would’ve fixed this”. Because obviously, as you said, that’s speculative at best.

My point was more that it’s possible for things like this to be acknowledged as problems at the bottom of the org chart, but not by somebody with either the responsibility or the authority to fix it. And depending on what it takes to move it up the chart, it may never get to the point where somebody with the responsibility or authority ever sees it - especially if the fix requires collaboration across divisions.

At the point we’re talking about things like internal policies though, senior level Apple execs could fix these things. My point with mentioning Steve is that in that particular era of Apple, if he wanted something done it got done - for better or for worse. I have no idea whether things are like that under Tim or not.

But none of that means the fix can’t be simple. It just means that nobody has taken the initiative in moving the ball forward. The world is littered with mind-blowingly simple things that are constantly left undone. :slight_smile:

Think Apple is smart enough in distribution to do what is best for them. Given they have an extensive distribution network it is likely cheaper to do individual shipments than to manage shipment “assembly” (i.e. route items) from different sources before shipping. Just sending out items from closest facility is also likely to be less error prone.

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