This week, product solutions provider Jabil Circuit made a significant announcement, one that places this company as a supply chain Cloud based technology provider in addition to its other product value-chain design and manufacturing contract services (CMS).

As an independent supply chain advisory service, we have long ago predicted that large volume contract manufacturers would have to broaden their services models to grow market-share and profitability. Jabil is about to demonstrate the notions of providing an end-to-end supply chain focused decision support platform to support product value-chain management needs.

Jabil’s InControl SaaS is described as a multi-tenant, intelligent supply chain cloud platform that provides network wide connectivity, advanced analytics, and built-in machine learning capabilities to optimize near real-time decision-making.

Earlier this month, this analyst had the opportunity to speak with Jabil’s executive team to review highlights of InControl SaaS, and candidly, the full functionality would rival that provided some existing supply chain best-of-breed software providers in today’s tech marketplace. The other important difference is the coupling of specialized managed services in addition to what appears to be a sophisticated B2B network platform.

In its entirety, support encompasses five supply chain focused applications, a decision support platform, coupled with bundled procurement and supply chain focused managed services. The latter managed services include areas that span strategy, procurement sourcing, procurement business process outsourcing, supply network optimization and social responsibility. From our view, the target customers are those that are seeking their supply chain sourcing, operational and decision-making needs focused in a singular integrated platform, especially up and coming product companies that cannot afford the up-front or ongoing expense of investing in complete product value-chain needs.

Jabil’s market messaging emphasizes that the technology has been- built for practitioners, by practitioners, in-essence providing an emphasis on the company’s built-up process and technology development experiences in supporting various aspects of manufacturing and supply chain management needs of its over 250 existing customers, including some of the most complex yet highly recognized supply chains.

While the product was announced this week, the timetable for full functionality currently extends through the first-half of 2018. General availability of the InControl SaaS platform and applications begins in the third quarter, with various other elements planned for latter stages. Pricing is noted as a per-month/per application model with on-boarding, integration and implementation priced separately. Jabil’s go-to-market strategy includes its in-house supply chain, procurement, and professional services team, along with an external partnership with professional services firm PwC.

Included in our 2017 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains was our belief that B2B network platform and managed services providers would provide enhanced supply chain focused analytics and intelligence capabilities, and Jabil’s InControl platform strategy and an existing example of that trend. The interesting twist for the market is the ability to select from either existing supply chain and manufacturing contract services providers, B2B network platform providers, or best-of-breed or ERP software providers. The ultimate decision for which partner will thus be highly dependent on individual business need, existing system landscape and future needs.

Our takeaway is that industry supply chain teams gain the benefits of added choices and of specific expertise, including that of actual on the ground practitioners.

Bob Ferrari

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