At a meeting early in his tenure, Cook was told of a problem with one of Apple's Chinese suppliers.
"This is really bad," he said. "Someone should be in China driving this."
Thirty minutes later he looked at an operations executive sitting at the table and unemotionally asked, "Why are you still here?"
The executive stood up, drove directly to the San Francisco airport, and bought a ticket to China.
He became one of Cook's top deputies.
Cook reduced the number of Apple's key suppliers from a hundred to twenty-four,
forced them to cut better deals to keep the business,
convinced many to locate next to Apple's plants, and closed ten of the company's nineteen warehouses.
By reducing the places where inventory could pile up, he reduced inventory.
Jobs had cut inventory from two months' worth of product down to one by early 1998.
By September of that year, Cook had gotten it down to six days.
By the following September, it was down to an amazing two days' worth.
In addition, he cut the production process for making an Apple computer from four months to two.
All of this not only saved money, it also allowed each new computer to have the very latest components available.