Supply Chain Matters is often alerted to surveys reflecting on global supply chain management and technology perspectives across multi-industry sectors. From time to time we will reader attention to specific surveys that provide important insights.

Product design, management, manufacturing and supply chain services provider Jabil recently released a survey, Global Supply Chain Trends, A Survey of Supply Chain Decision Makers. (Complimentary with registration)

We call reader attention to this specific survey because both the individual participant profiles and affiliated industry sectors are diverse and represent businesses that are undergoing constant disruption and ongoing supply chain developments. This includes representation from consumer goods, industrial, high tech, consumer electronics and automotive sectors. Global Trade

The Key Findings of the Jabil Survey indicated, among a broad grouping:

  • An overwhelming majority (93 percent) of respondents citing that their organizations had to make changes in their supply chain strategies or operations due to ongoing market dynamics.
  • Three of the largest market dynamics impacting supply chains today are increased product demand, higher labor costs and supply constraints.
  • The primary business and technology challenges companies are facing in 2019 are trade and tariff implications, reducing supply chain costs and technology adoption to improve business outcomes (expressed as supply chain digital transformation)
  • The top three ways companies are addressing risk are in adoption of new technology , revising approved vendor lists and evaluating multivendor sourcing strategies.

We wanted to specifically dig into these survey findings and with that in mind, this Editor subsequently had the opportunity to speak with Frank McKay, Chief Procurement Officer at Jabil.

One area we wanted to gain perspective to was whether the notions that changes in supply chain sourcing and multi-vendor sourcing are being driven primarily from large numbers of component shortages, added tariffs, or combinations thereof. McKay essentially validated that is was a combination of both, but also, some supply chain organizations might have fell into complacency in the ability to be able to respond to both dimensions simultaneously. Accordingly, what was important was the need to educate supply management teams on broader industry trends and developments and with that, potential scenarios that could happen. One specific example is the ongoing structural changes occurring in the semiconductor fab assembly manufacturing sector, and shifts underway in altered sourcing strategies involving China, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. McKay observed that EMS providers have more multi-industry visibility to such ongoing shifts and can advise clients of potential scenarios and risk mitigation strategies. Another specific area explored was expressed in our previous published Supply Chain Matters blog commentary: Global Trade Tensions Are Not Subsiding-  Neither are the Customer Demand and Supply Network Implications.

McKay observed that indeed, with trade tensions and national interests rising, there a discernable signs of a potential fallback toward regional supply network strategies over the next 3-5 years. When and how that occurs presents supply management teams with a need for being prepared with various contingency strategies, some of which will have multi-year transitional timelines.

Our interview touched upon the ever-ending journey toward digital transformation and what that requires. McKay reinforced that the data indicated that companies are taking on this challenge, but in some cases, are electing to outsource technology capabilities to certain EMS providers who have made prior significant investments in market intelligence, necessary technologies to assess market scenarios and provide more informed and more-timely decision-making relative to demand and supply implications. Some companies, essentially mid-market companies are electing to focus internal resources and time on core business strategy needs related to product research, innovation and development, while opting to tap manufacturing design and service providers with providing the people, process and advanced technology capabilities becoming essential in supply chain digital transformation. Having the size, industry experience and scale of a global EMS services provider, coupled with having made earlier investments in advanced technologies such as AI, predictive analytics and Cloud based intelligent supply chain platforms helps to tip the scale in such decisions. In mid-2017, Supply Chain Matters highlighted Jabil’s ongoing investment in the Control SaaS Cloud platform.


In summary, this survey provides interesting insights as to what industry supply chains are tackling, progress that has been made, and how product demand and supply network changes whiplashing businesses with financial and market response implications. However, such forces are leading to changing perspectives, some enhanced capabilities and an extended strategic horizon of required new investments.

We recommend a detailed review of the findings. Readers can download this report by clicking on the referenced title above.


Bob Ferrari

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