The Journey of a MacBook...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iWurzel, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. iWurzel macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2011
    I ordered my first MacBook Pro last Sunday and I have been following its journey from China with interest, and it got me thinking.

    I made one change from the standard specification (which presumably ships from Europe for European orders as it would have given me option to choose a delivery date) and that was to go for the high resolution, anti-glare screen. I imagine this is a very common configuration that Apple sell MacBooks in.

    Apple told me that as I’ve made a change from the custom configuration, it is being built and despatched from Asia, and this got me thinking.

    Looking at the UPS tracking, my MacBook originated in Shanghai, and made a brief, if uneventful stop in Incheon, South Korea. From then it was onwardly transported for a whistle-stop tour of Almaty, Kazakhstan. It is now en-route to Cologne in Germany, where I presume it will stop again before making it’s final trip to the UK.

    I find it amazing that Apple don’t keep stock of “common” configurations in Europe. This is not a moan in any way, it just made me wonder how it can possibly be cost-effective. The journey my MacBook has been on must be a fairly costly one, as I imagine it will have been on a minimum of 4 flights since being built.

    Does anyone have any insights on to why all custom configurated MacBooks are handled in this way rather than Apple keeping stock of common configurations and shipping from Europe.

  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Apple uses the cheapest carrier option which means it travels a long time. If you opted for overnight delivery (not available in Europe though I think), it would have gone straight from China to US. That actually costs more than all those flights your MBP have been in. No, it doesn't make sense but that is how it is.
  3. ReddDraggon macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2011
    North Wales or Manchester
    I agree that the Hi-Res/AG models must be pretty popular. However the HR/AG upgrade will probably also accompany other upgrades such as RAM/SSD/HDD, and so it's probably better for them to build them to order.

    I actually imagine that they produce the HR/AG units initially, and then insert the SSD/HDD/RAM to order.

    It must work financially for Apple to do this, they know what they sell, so I'd think they'd preempt any order sales and have units ready more locally if it was going to be cheaper.
  4. iWurzel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2011
    Interesting. I did imagine that Apple had the power to be negotiating some seriously discounted shipping arrangements, but still thought it must be more expensive than keeping stock of common configurations in Europe and sending on from there.
  5. iWurzel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2011
    Yeah for sure. I wasn't suggesting that Apple were missing a trick, as I’m sure they know exactly what works for them, it just surprised me…
  6. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Not only does Apple have a decent rate scale, the odds are something like a MacBook ships on a consolidated shipping pallet to a major hub in your region. That means that the shipping company is only handling one "package" until it's time to break it in to individual units for delivery. This also saves Apple money.
  7. jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    Keeping them in stock would require warehousing, customs fees paid in advance of sale, individually shipping each one to the end user - all off which cost money. In addition, pre-built machines can't be changed or updated to the lets configuration / outwore release so some people wool get "old" machines.
    Apple's way lets them minimize stock on hand and better control the manufacturing process and supply chain.
    Finally, Apple and the shipper work very close to get the most out of every shipment - packaging engineers work to minimize the space each item takes to avoid cubing out before they weight out on an a/c. Pre building them would still mean shipping them, so no real shipping cost is saved in the end other than occasionally using unused a/c space; which Apple can already do with store stock and other vendor deliveries.
    I would guess Apple would add a config to the store if it proved very popular anyway.
  8. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    Agreed completely... Apple saves money because warehousing still requires shipping, but doing it as Apple does results in less sunk cost. I'll also note that it is crazy that planes (Boeing 777) have the range to fly Shanghai-->Memphis FedEx headquarters nonstop. When I ordered a MBP five years ago, it went from Shanghai to Alaska to Indiana to the local airport...
  9. eUnique macrumors member

    May 22, 2011
    Why do we ship corn to japan and have japan ship back beef?
    Why does all of the USA's clothes come from other countries?
    Insert next exploitation of "blank" people living is misery.

    Bottom Line: It's all about the bottom line :mad:

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