Supply Chain Tools

Innovative Team Produces Jabil’s Sophisticated Home-Grown Business Intelligence Tools

Even for an electronics manufacturing company, managing the entire supply chain is a complex task. Purchasing materials, the logistics of moving the materials, competition, oil prices, global military tensions, global economic slowdowns, and currency exchange rates are just a few of the variables that supply chain managers grapple with daily. So, how does a fortune 500 global electronics manufacturing company like Jabil make informed supply chain decisions that differentiate it from the competition? It simply hires the best and brightest people with the right skills and an entrepreneurial attitude to build innovative, sophisticated, business intelligence tools for the entire supply chain.

The innovative tools rely on actionable, measurable, and proactive metrics so that Jabil teams can ask its customers intelligent questions that move Jabil up the innovation ladder.

“Everything is geared toward seamlessness for the customer so all they have to worry about is execution.” – Mudit Bajaj – Senior Director of Supply Chain Solutions and Business Analytics, Jabil

Jabil’s proprietary global business intelligence tools are much different from those used by its competitors. Most competitors use off-the-shelf tools.  Most of these tools are optimization tools with simulation built into them.  These types of tools are good for fast turn around scenarios, but they make averages; make assumptions to minimize the problem. As a result, the details and flexibility to change the variables are lost.  Jabil takes a completely different approach.  Using deterministic and stochastic sensitivity analysis, Jabil’s tools helps determine the tipping point at which a solution is no longer the lowest cost solution. Jabil’s predictive modeling tools use industry standard inputs and built-in optimization layers that allow users to change any variable in the input and very quickly get detailed predictive results. Interactive reporting helps customers make better decisions–they can change variables in the model to immediately see how changes will effect outcomes.

Customers appreciate the tools’ flexibility and easy to understand interface. However, the tools are just part of the process. Jabil’s people are passionate about building and sharing these tools—customers appreciate the powerful combination of business intelligence and commitment Jabil offers.

The tools development team is innovative. For instance, instead of hiring programmers to build the tools, Jabil hired business people with the ability to program. Moreover, to further differentiate itself, the programming team doesn’t sit together in a traditional “bull pen”. Instead, the team sits next to people who use the tools so that end-users have direct input on tool features and functions. Jabil fosters an entrepreneurial spirit within the team –it selects the right people, empowers employees by encouraging innovation, and helps grow their careers by providing training. In fact, all team members are getting Lean training.

Managing a supply chain is an extremely complex task involving many variables. Jabil differentiates itself from competitors through its entrepreneurial teams that build and leverage sophisticated homegrown business intelligence tools. Suppliers and customers benefit because the granularity of the toolset easily identifies cost-saving opportunities. According to Jabil’s Fred Hartung,

“Jabil’s supply chain analytics tools are world-class and are among the best in any industry in any company.”