As a manufacturer supporting hundreds of leading brands in just about every industry, Jabil is adept at helping companies bring products to market with speed and agility, including smart home appliances and electronics, industrial machinery, cloud computing solutions, energy storage systems, and telecommunications infrastructure.
Customers depend on Jabil for everything from product design and engineering through volume manufacturing, assembly, quality testing, procurement, and logistics, which is why the company has undergone a massive digital transformation moving to SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
“We’ve seen marked improvements in speed because we’re on an SAP HANA Cloud database,” said Cynthia Kendall, IT director at Jabil. “In addition, bringing our ERP applications into the cloud has given us significant improvements in scalability from business transparency. For example, we now have visibility into all open sales orders by facility in just seconds, versus what historically took over an hour.”
Jabil is a longtime SAP customer, and the two companies share numerous business objectives, notably a commitment to innovation and sustainability. At this year’s SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference Orlando, Kendall showcased how the company working with SAP was inherent to its cloud-first strategy.
Connected Data Speeds Up Operations
It’s no understatement to say that Jabil is complex. The multi-billion dollar, Florida-based company employs over 250,000 employees who serve customers from more than 100 sites, totaling over 500 million square feet of manufacturing space – the equivalent of 868 football fields. Digitalization that connects accurate data across these vast operations has boosted accurate planning and forecasting. As a result, Jabil can react faster to customer demands.
“We’ve increased efficiencies with inventory management, capturing real-time data on materials in stock as products are finished,” said Kendall. “We have exact numbers on the components and materials available for each product as they’re produced. This data speeds up our ability to build, ship, and invoice products.”
Cloud-First Business Results
Staying on top of fast-moving innovations that continuously redefine customer markets is core to Jabil’s growth strategy. Kendall said that the company’s move to SAP S/4HANA has provided the entire organization with critical flexibility.
“Since moving to the cloud, we’ve resized our app servers; what once took days is now completed in hours,” she said. “We’ve collapsed a number of servers into a larger one, requiring less time to manage. This has allowed our business to explore how to transform and innovate in this new SAP S/4HANA landscape in ways that we could never do before.”
Future-Proof Strength Amidst a Sea of Change
Jabil’s customers are selling products worldwide, facing increasingly stringent and rapidly changing global regulations. This reality was behind one of the company’s decisions to migrate to the cloud with SAP.
“It didn’t make sense to keep customizing our legacy SAP solutions,” said Kendall. “SAP S/4HANA provides the platform we need to build advanced capabilities aligned to the evolving compliance mandates and market demands facing our customers.”
Supply Chain Resiliency Despite Disruptions
Having gone live with SAP S/4HANA during the pandemic, Jabil’s innovation is well underway with pilots designed to help achieve business goals in a dramatically different environment of supply chain and other disruptions.
“We’re showing the business many opportunities that weren’t available before,” said Kendall. “Especially in production planning, we are able to make faster, better-informed decisions. Even in the face of supply chain shortages, this will help us make educated and nimble decisions moving forward with what we can actually manufacture and when we can manufacture it.”
Start Now to Forge a Path to Innovation
More than anything, Jabil’s journey with SAP is a tremendous opportunity for the company to transform and innovate. Kendall’s advice to other organizations was clear.
“Embrace the fact that you’ll need to migrate to SAP S/4HANA, and start planning now,” she said. “Even if your project isn’t kicking off for another six months or later, there are things you can do today to prepare for the journey so you’ll be future-ready for tomorrow.”
This pragmatic advice and expert insight into SAP S/4HANA migration planning is at the heart of Jabil IT Advisory Services, the company’s new SAP S4-as-a-Service offering developed by practitioners for practitioners to help streamline and simplify SAP S/4HANA Cloud migrations.
To hear more from customers on their digital transformation journey with SAP, watch SAP Sapphire event replays on demand.
Susan Galer is communications director at SAP. Follow me @smgaler.