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Deep Dive on 2017 Prediction Seven: Enhanced Supply Chain Intelligence Capabilities Among B2B Network Platform and Managed Services Providers Will Pay Dividends for Industry Supply Chains

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The following Supply Chain Matters blog is part of our ongoing series of deep dives into each of our previously unveiled ten 2017 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains.

At the start of the New Year, our parent, the Ferrari Consulting and Research Group along with our Supply Chain Matters blog as a broadcast medium, provide a series of predictions for the coming year. These predictions are shared in the spirit of assisting industry specific and global supply chain cross-functional teams in helping to set management objectives for the year ahead. Our further goal is helping our readers and clients to prepare supply chain management and line-of-business teams in establishing impactful programs, initiatives, and educational agendas.  holding-the-future

The context for these predictions includes a broad cross-functional umbrella of supply chain strategy, planning, execution, product lifecycle management, procurement, manufacturing, transportation, logistics and customer service management.

In an earlier Supply Chain Matters blog postings, we provided deep dives related to:

Prediction One- Subdued World Economic Outlook and Heighted Uncertainty to Test Industry Supply Chain Agility.

Prediction Two- A Challenging Year in Procurement

Prediction Three- A Supply Chain Talent Perfect Storm

Prediction Four- Increased Anti-Trade Geo-Political Forces Provide Added Global Sourcing Challenges

Prediction Five- Continued Global Transportation Industry-wide Turbulence

Prediction Six- A Renaissance in Supply Chain Focused Business Services and Technology Investments

In this deep-dive series posting, we drill down on our next prediction.

2017 Prediction Seven- Enhanced Supply Chain Intelligence Capabilities Among B2B Network Platform and Managed Services Providers Will Pay Dividends for Customers

In 2017 and beyond, there will exist increased industry specific needs for deeper and wider levels of customer, product, physical object and supply network focused information visibility, capture and analysis.  This need is coupled to building multi-industry supply chain requirements for more predictive, analytics data-driven decision making competencies that involve outside-in insights. The objective is a literal 360-degree view of supply chain wide data and information, horizontally spanning the end-to-end supply and vertically coupling high level enterprise to shop-floor decision-support needs.  Enhanced business intelligence and overall process improvements further enhances the ability of industry supply chains to support new, more innovative business models that can leverage digital technologies in areas of product or customer related services.

A means to achieve such capabilities are analytics and business intelligence engines that are now being embedded across supply chain focused B2B network platforms, edge systems and production shop floor transactional and information transfer flows. B2B business networks and edge platforms are today the prime opportunity for digitizing the horizontal and vertical flow of information and analytics across end-to-end supply chains. Whereas predominantly EDI messaging platforms were viewed as required external messaging utilities to transfer and receive transaction and electronic messaging information across disparate systems, there is now collective movement by network providers to transform these platforms to business intelligence and analytics based information repositories available to support broader supply chain and product focused decision support needs. As noted in Prediction Six, this an area where blockchain technology can have a profound long-term impact, but beyond that, many existing B2B technology platform vendors such as Ariba, an SAP Company, E2Open, GT Nexus, IBM, OpenText are already moving in the direction of blending supply chain wide planning and execution related transactional data with analytics, cognitive and business intelligence capture. Such analytics and trending information can then be moved to and from various existing business application systems related to planning and customer fulfillment.

Similarly, the vertical notions of what is being often described as either Industrial Networks, Industrial Internet and edge systems, are various physical devices communicating via IoT enabled technology, within their respective operational and performance status data streams. Here again, emerging IoT network technology providers are similarly incorporating cognitive and analytics based capabilities to synthesize the streaming levels of data being captured into information and required decision-making alerts.

An Evolving New Challenge

The evolving new challenge for industry supply chains will be the ability to exchange information and insights among various existing Cloud-based B2B networks and resident business software applications focused on either customer, product, supply, production, service or fulfillment process needs.  This is a challenge that must be addressed in order to gain the full benefits of the Cloud. Ideally, supply chain teams will seek the ability to have a virtual information utility or data lake, but that could be expensive and many industry supply chain teams are not necessarily ready to manage such capabilities at this point. Today, such challenges fuel an evolving need for managed services providers or systems integrators to tie-together such structured and unstructured information and analytics in virtual streaming information and analytics data pools or zones available to all enterprise and supply chain business applications and systems.

Technology vendors now recognize this problem. For instance, Oracle recently released a Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Services utility as part of its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Cloud infrastructure services. Oracle’s intent with this service is to support the needs of data movement, data transformation, data quality and applications integration among multiple Cloud platforms and applications.

Focus on a Networked Cloud Strategy

All the above stated, industry supply chain and line-of-business teams should strive to prioritize and scope certain business process decision need areas, for example customer fulfillment and logistics, or an initial supply chain control tower capability, and work with an individual platform vendor or focused systems integrator to start the journey towards streaming analytics and insights from external Cloud-based platforms.  We view this as a prime process and business support opportunity for supply chain teams in 2017.

B2B or B2B-to-B2C business network platforms related to process needs in areas such as procurement, product management, planning, logistics or customer fulfillment should no longer be viewed as solely messaging or transactional platforms. Over time, they will serve as sources of analytics, insights and alerts related to process, suppliers, and customers. Business, functional and sales and operations planning teams can gain more real-time insights by broadening their perspectives beyond messaging to messaging and trending.

This concludes our Prediction Seven drill-down. In our next posting of this series, we will explore Prediction Eight reflecting on how Alibaba and Amazon will continue to battle for global online platform dominance.

Stay tuned.

Bob Ferrari

© Copyright 2017. The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.


Deep Dive 2017 Prediction Six- A Renaissance in Supply Chain Focused Business Services and Technology Investments

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The following Supply Chain Matters blog is part of our ongoing series of deep dives into each of our previously unveiled ten 2017 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply ChainsSupply Chain Matters Blog

At the start of the New Year, our parent, the Ferrari Consulting and Research Group along with our Supply Chain Matters blog as a broadcast medium, provide a series of predictions for the coming year. These predictions are shared in the spirit of assisting industry specific and global supply chain cross-functional teams in helping to set management objectives for the year ahead. Our further goal is helping our readers and clients to prepare supply chain management and line-of-business teams in establishing impactful programs, initiatives, and educational agendas.

The context for these predictions includes a broad cross-functional umbrella of supply chain strategy, planning, execution, product lifecycle management, procurement, manufacturing, transportation, logistics and customer service management.

In an earlier Supply Chain Matters blog postings, we provided deep dives related to:

Prediction One- Subdued World Economic Outlook and Heighted Uncertainty to Test Industry Supply Chain Agility.

Prediction Two- A Challenging Year in Procurement

Prediction Three- A Supply Chain Talent Perfect Storm

Prediction Four- Increased Anti-Trade Geo-Political Forces Provide Added Global Sourcing Challenges

Prediction Five- Continued Global Transportation Industry-wide Turbulence

In this deep-dive series posting, we drill down on our next prediction.

2017 Prediction Six: A Renewed Renaissance in Business Services and Technology Investment

As industry supply chains enter 2017, we believe their there are distinct signs for a renewed renaissance in business services and technology investments that will specifically include compelling needs in supply chain related business process and decision-making needs. While current high levels of uncertainty in global markets persists, we believe that many organizations will not hold back on needed or overdue technology investments related to the broad umbrella that includes augmented supply chain management business process needs. The one gating factor to inhibit such investments remains the availability of talent to harness the benefits of the advanced technology, which opens the door wider for augmented business services.

Changing Business Environment

In the U.S., with the election of Donald Trump as President, and with a Republican Congressional majority, business leaders have turned more optimistic towards a period of expected lower corporate taxes, a means to repatriate cash profits currently held in foreign entities, and a climate of regulatory rollbacks. Within the Eurozone, a political climate fueled by increased populism and a need for more accelerated economic growth similarly lead to a more positive business investment support climate.

Across many industries, the trend of plowing excess cash into stock buyback or increased stockholder dividends have taken a noticeable toll on supply chain and manufacturing business process adaptability needs. Increased profit performance has subsequently been stymied by lack of top-line revenue growth or in increased worker productivity levels and continued reduced supply chain costs. By November 2016, the U.S. unemployment rate had dropped to 4.6 percent with active skilled labor force participation believed to be much lower. Many industry settings are further under pressure by upstart disrupters or more aggressive competition which additionally drives needs for added technology investments to support new digitally-enabled business models.

With advanced business process technology and services buying decisions more centered on line-of-business vs. singular based IT influence, Cloud based technology and services make such decisions more viable since many come with subscription or usage based expense costing vs. fixed capital appropriation.  That allows the flexibility to make changes as the business warrants or to augment technology needs based on required bandwidth at any given point. The overriding concern of potential business disruption looms large, which also weighs toward a Cloud-based target business process approach that minimizes significant disruption to mission critical business processes and reduces the managed scope of the technology investment.

Expected Investment Areas

Supply chain leaders have tended to be somewhat conservative, reluctant to embrace perceived new or unproven technology. The adage, “if it ain’t broke, no need to fix it” continues but we predict that will change regarding certain process areas in 2017 as CEO’s require enhanced, digitally-driven top line revenue growth. As noted in Prediction One, industry and global supply chains will be especially challenged by increased risk levels and needs for more informed, analytical-driven decision-making anchored in more predictive decision-making methods. Increased risk levels will manifest in more high-profile cyber and DDoS attacks on corporate networks which spillover or originate in supply chain focused systems.

The continuing effects of always-on online and Omni-channel customer fulfillment will additionally drive needs for added foundational investments in digital supply chain transformation, again focused in areas of mining information insights, more predictive analytics and data visualization trending from vast amounts of existing data. We anticipate further investments in achieving broader end-to-end supply chain network visibility, coupled to inventory, capacity and risk management process and decision-making needs.

In 2017 we concur with some tech vendors that anticipate additional attention from certain industry and supply chain segments in what is being described as “autonomous or low-touch planning systems” that allow the technology to take further control of supply chain planning activities without the need for constant planner intervention and involvement. That can free-up existing planner time for more strategic and tactical planning needs.  We anticipate similar autonomous concepts to gain traction in procure-to-pay and order-to-cash processes.

Internet of Things (IoT) Focused Technology

Despite ongoing information security and consistency of global standards hurdles, we predict that early phase or pilot line-of-business driven efforts to prototype new Internet-of-Things (IoT) enabled business models will continue. They will do so because of the need by industry competitors or disruptors to achieve first mover advantage in locking on to new customer revenue streams. Such initiatives will move forward because of needs to develop new competencies in a digital-driven business process and in addressing specific challenges related to data security, interoperability among various edge and core business systems. Initiatives supporting top-line revenue growth while augmenting information security processes are more likely to receive executive and board level approval.

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is being identified by supply chain focused technology providers for applicability in providing higher levels of intelligence regarding the movement of materials across a supply chain or B2B network. Originally developed to support digital bitcoin currency use, this technology is a shared digital ledger, or a continually updated list of incremental transactions. This decentralized ledger keeps a record of each transaction that occurs across a fully distributed or peer-to-peer network, either public or private. The technology is likely to gain broader recognition in 2017 due to its applicability in recording and keeping track of assets and materials.

Industry supply chain teams will likely hear more from technology vendor efforts in developing blockchain technology methods in areas related to supply chain wide transactional automation or supply chain-wide product genealogy and authentication. While we do not anticipate wide-scale mainstream investment in this technology during 2017, industry supply chains should play close attention as to technology vendor developments and planned process support areas since this type of technology has breakthrough potential in certain process areas.

Increased Vendor Merger and Acquisition Activity

A renaissance in multi-industry business process and technology investment activity will surely lead to further merger and acquisition activity involving either the enterprise software, supply chain, Equipment Manufacturing, IoT, and management decision support vendor communities. Autonomous driving, shared riding services and artificial intelligence driven technology will remain of hot interest as will predictive analytics. The name of the game for tech vendors is current and future top-line revenue and profitability growth, specifically cloud and subscription based revenue flows. Signs further point to a more friendly IPO market in 2017 allowing up and coming new technology providers needed capital to expand.

We predict one or two acquisitions involving high-profile supply chain best-of-breed vendors along with a continuation of acquisitions surrounding IoT focused technologies. We anticipate that enterprise vendors will continue to be active in this area along with industrial companies transforming themselves to software companies.  Likely players will be Amazon, IBM, General Electric, Google, Oracle, PTC, Siemens, among others. There may well be one or two blockbuster M&A deals in the above segment.

This concludes our Prediction Six drill-down. In our next posting of this series, we will dive into Prediction Seven that calls for enhanced decision-support capabilities among B2B business network and managed services providers.

Stay tuned.

Bob Ferrari

© Copyright 2016. The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.

 

 


Information Technology Considerations for Supply Chain Wide Visibility

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This commentary represents the third of our ongoing Supply Chain Matters market education series directed at clarifying needs and requirements addressing supply chain wide visibility.

One of the most critical challenges cited by multi-industry supply chain teams is extended supply chain visibility. This challenge is becoming universal as industry supply and value-chain processes continue to become more complex with constant changes in needs for business support. It is consistently cited by many supply chain leaders as a continued perplexing challenge.

As noted in the first commentary of this educational series, supply chain wide visibility often stems from differing business process perspectives or different business priorities that can involve planning, customer fulfillment execution, analytics and business intelligence as well as other more informed and more-timely decision-making needs. Often, this visibility term is lumped into other challenges including supply chain wide traceability, transparency, capacity or inventory management. Thus it is rather important for teams to clarify specific short and long-term visibility capability needs and decision-support requirements from the ongoing distraction of day-to-day symptoms stemming from lack of needed information.

In our second commentary in this series we stated that creating a unified view of important data related to supply chain business processes is not a simple task without first considering foundational strategies. Supply chain data and information is typically spread among multiple systems in both structured transactional or unstructured data and information formats, supporting each of these different processes. Supply chain wide visibility, by our continued view, is not about a rip and replace technology strategy since that would be far too disruptive. That is especially pertinent to disruption of backbone transactional systems. We advocated that visibility should be viewed in the context of building-out enhanced decision-making support capabilities from more streamlined and better accessible sources of existing and future planning, execution and customer fulfillment information.

Within this commentary we address the information technology considerations for supply chain wide visibility. However, before we begin, we need to state up-front that we are advising a cross-functional and cross-business, as well as an IT support audience. Thus our citing of technology will be in the context of the supply chain wide process and business outcome impacts for certain information technology considerations.

To be perfectly frank, from the user lens, significant challenges in creating a unified view of all supply chain data and information remain as unfulfilled. However, new Cloud or on premise in-memory, data visualization and data cleansing information technology tools now coming to market continue to improve and will better assist in this effort. In particular, the combination of advanced in-memory coupled with data visualization and analytics will add augmented computing power and a more enhanced user-interface.

Let’s briefly reflect on the history of past challenges.

Supply chain related information is typically processed and collected among multiple supply-chain software applications. Many of these applications, whether product, planning, procurement or execution related, created their own data store within or directly integrated to the application itself.  The notions of information related to historic performance, current key performance indicators or future resource requirements invariably take on different meanings, especially if such applications were installed at different timeframes of the organization’s existence. They would typically include ERP applications, older legacy or specialty applications, centralized data warehouses or evolving more open standards data lakes. Whereas a newer supply chain planning system may have overcome some of these challenges, the context of other information would be lacking.

Thus, if a user or S&OP team member had to search for combinations of historic, current and future requirements information related to, for instance, planning and execution process needs, the search would invariably involve querying the specific applications as well as the information warehouse. A further challenge relates to making sure that the context for the data and information was framed properly. How many times have teams been frustrated in finally receiving the results of an IT enabled information request only to discover that the information was not appropriate or valid because of either improper context, lack of clean, consistent or complete data, the selection of an improper file or lack of synchronization of master data among different applications.

Is it no surprise that the fallback position was once again, the creation of multiple spreadsheets that end up to be an analysis at a certain point in time.

We continue to advocate that supply chain wide visibility, along with the information and insights garnered from such visibility, is best achieved in an architecture that includes a singular data and information utility. Readers should not interpret this to connote a large data warehouse. Too often in past efforts, such approaches have led to large and expensive data ‘monuments’ where all forms of information were collected without all-important context, and where such information could only be extracted without the direct assistance of IT based data administrators. This often created latency and time delays in retrieving such information.

As noted in our prior blog advisories, whereas in the past, IT teams and data administrators were the prime facilitators of integrated business process information and decision-making insights, today’s business demands require that appropriate line-of-business and supply chain wide functional teams serve as the generator of insights.

Consider the analogy of an information utility platform where key data is automatically ‘streaming’ (vs. statically housed) from various supply chain enterprise and internal software applications. The data is collected, validated, cleansed, normalized and modeled with other key internal and/or external data to form information insights. External reference data could relate to industry operational benchmarks, external transportation, production or inventory carrying costs as well as multi-industry benchmarks related to areas such as sustainability.

The information utility we are describing must be augmented by more user-friendly and user-centric information visualization, dashboard and analytics based tools to reflect more predictive or prescriptive insights relative to what the data and information implies in terms of operational, business, financial customer or strategic outcomes. With user-centric tools, augmented by automated routines once the data is validated, business users can overcome the need for direct IT assistance in specialized day-to-day information requests.

From an overall supply chain business strategy and support perspective, once a supply chain wide information utility we refer to is established, efforts directed at future initiatives related to supply chain control towers or Internet of Things (IoT) enabled process that bring together physical sensor and digital information can be better enabled by leveraging the same platform.

Here’s another caveat. Forget the vendor generated hype terminology of “Big Data’. That is not what supply chain wide visibility should be about. Rather think- ‘smarter data’.  The necessary data required to more intelligently manage and predict required supply chain outcomes.

Again, end-to-end supply chain visibility is a journey. Start with the vision of the end-state, build the foundational business process constructs and the information utility. Then proceed with the usual people and process maturity needs and learning that get your organization to the objective.

Bob Ferrari

© 2016 The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.

Disclosure: This educational series related to supply chain wide visibility is being sponsored by Supply Chain Matters sponsor, LLamasoft.


Business Process Foundations for Supply Chain Wide Visibility

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This commentary represents the second of an ongoing Supply Chain Matters market education series directed at clarifying needs and requirements addressing supply chain wide visibility.

One of the most critical challenges cited by multi-industry supply chain teams is extended supply chain visibility. This challenge is becoming universal as industry supply and value-chain processes continue to become more complex with constant changes in needs for business support. It is consistently cited by many supply chain leaders as a continued perplexing challenge.

As noted in the first commentary of this educational series, supply chain wide visibility often stems from differing business process perspectives or different business priorities that can involve planning, customer fulfillment execution, analytics and business intelligence as well as other more informed and more-timely decision-making needs.

Creating a unified view of important data related to supply chain business processes is not a simple task without first considering foundational strategies. Supply chain data and information is typically spread among multiple systems in both structured transactional or unstructured data and information formats, supporting each of these different processes. Supply chain wide visibility, by our continued view, is not about a rip and replace technology strategy since that would be far too disruptive. That is especially pertinent to disruption of backbone transactional systems.

We believe it should be viewed in the context of building-out enhanced decision-making support capabilities from more streamlined and better accessible sources of existing and future planning, execution and customer fulfillment information.

A supply chain wide visibility initiative needs prioritization and context as to what are the most important near-term vs. longer-term decision making needs. Typically, not all of the vast amounts of enterprise data are similarly required for certain supply chain decision support needs. Key process pain points can be initially identified and over time, information can be expanded to cover broader supply chain business process decision support needs.

As an example, a pain point could include the near-term need for integrating end-to-end planning and customer fulfillment information. For many manufacturing firms, such a need is often described in the context of sales and operation planning (S&OP) process and the ability to connect supply chain wide planning with ongoing customer facing fulfillment execution. It is a challenge that is expressed more often because the overall pace of business is far more dynamic and the scope of the overall supply chain is far more complex.  Longer-term, the effort can be directed at incorporating broader descriptive, predictive or prescriptive analytics capabilities to bear on integrated and more timely supply chain planning and execution information to anticipate business changes, assess impacts to business goals and metrics via scenario or simulation capability, and to better manage business risk factors.

Another increasing need relates to a business digital transformation initiative where B2B or B2C operational fulfillment process synchronization needs to occur. Examples in this area relate to business models for online selling and fulfillment directly to customers or consumers, or being an Omni-channel fulfillment partner to another predominant online retailer, distributor or wholesaler. In this dimension, the need for value-chain visibility takes on multi-directional, multi-geographical data and information flows. Decision-making perspectives can be daily, hourly or near real-term dimensions. In this dimension, higher levels of visibility to channel product demand, resource and capacity and supplier responsiveness data and information become the prominent needs. Here again, building a foundation of visibility strategies addressing process, technology and indeed participants is critical in the near-term. Over time, the incorporation of analytics-based decision-making can augment such combined processes.

The literal glue that insures broader levels of visibility is a singular access to the most important supply chain-wide information. Notice that we again do not advocate all information because that often leads to information overload, lack of responsiveness and a derailed effort rather quickly. Today, too many supply chain organizations are trying to collect and monitor massive amounts of key performance data and information without proper mapping to the metrics that actually directly impact a required business outcome.  Here, the Supply Chain Operations Reference model (SCOR) from APICS Supply Chain Council can provide an effective framework.

Connectivity to various business process support systems, validation, cleaning and blending of appropriate data sources should be considered in any foundational effort along with the always important continual focus on master data accuracy.

Finally, today’s more advanced information visualization tools along with intuitive and more user-friendly technology interfaces are very important considerations in augmenting and supporting needs for broader and deeper supply chain wide visibility.  Whereas in the past, IT teams and data administrators were the prime facilitators of integrated business process information and decision-making insights, today’s business demands require that appropriate line-of-business and supply chain wide functional teams serve as the primary process participants.

In our next Supply Chain Matters market education commentary addressing supply chain visibility, we will further address more information technology considerations.

Bob Ferrari

© 2016 The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.


Highlights of Supply Chain Matters Interview with Jabil

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Supply Chain Matters recently had the opportunity to speak with contract manufacturing services (CMS) firm Jabil’s, specifically Vice President of Supply Chain Solutions and Global Logistics, Fred Hartung.  If readers had any perceptions that certain CMS firms were laggards in advanced technology adoption, our interview led to quite the contrary perception.

Jabil has been featured in supply chain industry headlines these past two weeks. At the recent Gartner SCM Executive Conference, Jabil’s intelligent supply chain capabilities in real-time visualization and advanced analytics resulted in receiving an award as a “Supply Chaininnovator.” Hewlett Packard unveiled what it termed as the first production-ready commercial 3D printing system and Jabil participated in the press conference. At last week’s SAP Sapphire customer conference, SAP and UPS announced a partnership for services related to an on-demand 3D printing network which involves this CMS as well.

Hartung oversees multiple roles including responsibility for advanced supply chain technology, digital supply chain, advanced planning and trade compliance. He additionally heads a team overseeing Jabil’s supply chain global network.

Our discussion touched on a number of business and technology areas.

Regarding the current CMS industry landscape, Hartung described changing global transportation costs, foreign exchange rate volatility and changes in the “value density” of products as all dynamic industry forces.

More manufacturing focused OEM’s now see themselves as incorporating more and more software and technology as major parts of product design and functionality features and that impact spills over to contract manufacturers. OEM customers were further described as increasingly practicing near-shoring manufacturing sourcing practices aligned to major geographic product demand regions with Mexico and Vietnam really taking off along with resurgence towards manufacturing in Malaysia. Hartung indicated Jabil’s belief that 3-D printing will make a big difference in localized manufacturing tied to customer fulfillment. OEM’s are still experimenting with incorporating 3D printing concepts into product strategy and Jabil is assisting by maintaining various labs across Silicon Valley.

We discussed what is often described as the number one multi-industry supply chain decision-support challenge, that being gaining and enabling end-to-end planning and customer fulfillment visibility. Hartung described this challenge in the context of “actionable visibility”, a focus on the most pertinent information supporting business processes along with “in-control” digitized streaming information flow that is anchored in analytics-driven decision-making capabilities. Another Jabil consideration in its use of advanced analytics is directed at managing and mitigating supply chain risk. Nine separate categories of risk are continually tracked ranging from low to higher supply chain disruption and risk factors.

In the area of addressing Internet of Things, machine learning and cognitive computing opportunities, Hartung acknowledged that information security has got to be an area to be taken very seriously, and prominent in the early design process. Jabil views IoT as an enabler of new business models for customers and for Jabil, and here again, leveraging analytics, either prescriptive or predictive, is the important area of concentration. Responding to the question of whether customers ready for these types of initiatives, Hartung indicated that while Jabil is way ahead on the learning curve, customers indicate that they want to hear more.

Besides incorporating advanced supply chain technology and multi-tenancy practices across Jabil’s own extended supply chain, the CMS is increasingly being called upon to assist OEM customers themselves in deployment of such technologies across their extended supply chains as-well.  This has been a new area of technology services for some CMS providers.

As a key supply chain partner in many more multi-industry settings, a contract manufacturer must be knowledgeable of the business process and enabling technology competences that make a difference in meeting both customer and internal business and supply chain outcomes. This is an industry that moves in lock-step with its customers, and is constantly challenged with narrow margins to work with.

As a recognized supply chain industry analyst, this author has had the opportunity to view a number of Jabil industry presentations over past years as well as to speak with the firm’s executives. This CMS has consistently demonstrated a willingness to leverage and collaborate with customers on advanced technology use cases across its supply chain management processes.  After my recent interview, I am further impressed with the firm’s understanding and practice of leveraging areas where technology enablement can indeed be a facilitator of a more adaptive and resilient supply chain.

Bob Ferrari

© Copyright 2016. The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group LLC and Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.


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