We’ve heard a lot lately from Jabil as the global manufacturing solutions provider has been prioritizing digitization among its operations and offerings. The company, previously content to operate somewhat behind the scenes, has been stepping up to the forefront lately in working with leading names in additive manufacturing among its widespread operations. Jabil, which received North America’s first production Multi Jet Fusion systems at the end of 2016, has been working closely with HP. At last month’s RAPID event, I spoke again with Jabil regarding their collaboration with HP as well as their more recently announced partnerships with Desktop Metal and Impossible Objects. As Jabil continues on a path toward digitization, the team behind these efforts is ultimately critical to success. Joanne Moretti is the Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Jabil and General Manager of Radius Innovation & Development, a Jabil company.
Moretti is leading digital transformation efforts at Jabil as well as leading ideation efforts at Radius. Her work has led to several successful advances and initiatives, including spearheading the establishment of Jabil’s first Blue Sky Innovation Center. She is an experienced veteran in the tech industry, with a career spanning tenures at Dell, HP, and Computer Associates; she is further active in several groups working to support the success of women in business and STEM-related industries. It’s a pleasure to share insights from this experienced professional as we continue to highlight the achievements of women working in the 3D printing industry.
Can you fill us in on your educational/professional background and how that led you to become the CMO of Jabil and GM of Radius? What can you tell us about these roles?
“After completing my software engineering studies at CDI College in Toronto, I began a career in IT at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CBIC) more than 30 years ago. Since then, I have taken on increasingly complex engineering, sales and marketing leadership roles with top tech firms, including HP, Dell and CA Technologies. I’ve also joined the board of directors for a variety of startups, including Alteryx, now a publicly held Big Data/analytics company.
Working with innovative and fast-growth organizations helped prepare me for my current role as CMO at Jabil as well as GM of Radius, an innovation and development consulting firm acquired by Jabil. When I joined Jabil in 2014, it was a time of accelerating technological change that not only impacted how we conducted business but how we interacted with and supported our customers—many of which represent the world’s biggest and best-known brands. Historically known as the ‘brand behind the brands,’ Jabil needed to clearly articulate its value proposition in the digital economy and empower our employees and business units to engage with customers in new and powerful ways.
During my first year, I led the development of high-impact marketing and sales enablement programs while spearheading the creation of Jabil’s Blue Sky Innovation Center in San Jose. A modern-day R&D workplace, Blue Sky is where all the latest and greatest digital technologies, services and solutions come together to demonstrate the full range of possibilities in the digital economy.
As one of the world’s most technologically advanced manufacturing solution providers, Jabil is bringing automation and 3D printing to mainstream manufacturing so products can be made closer to end-customers in a timeframe that dwarfs traditional manufacturing methods. We’re integrating the latest rapid prototyping approaches, robotics, additive manufacturing and digital supply chain technologies to speed time to market while lowering cost and risk. We’re applying Internet of Things solutions to transform everyday user experiences while making smart cities a reality.
At Radius, we’re applying those solutions and more to help customers bring their product visions to life. Our ability to accelerate product introductions is reinforced by soup-to-nuts research, ideation and low-volume production solutions that are designed to help our customers win in the marketplace.”
You’ve been called a trailblazer based on your role leading fast-growth sales and marketing teams at tech giants including CA, HP, and Dell; how did these roles help to prepare you to lead Jabil’s digital transformation?
“Throughout my career, I’ve had exposure to many types of marketing. The biggest lesson learned is the overarching need to understand what problems you’re trying to solve without losing sight of what the customer wants and needs to be successful. Understanding the customer to the Nth degree is key to creating enduring growth opportunities.
I created a customer-centric approach for Jabil, which revolves around understanding both the customer and Jabil deeply. I then applied that insight while hosting innovation workshops to facilitate groundbreaking collaboration. This was the key to the creation of Jabil’s Blue Sky center.
As a result, we’re forging close, trusted relationships with our brand customers. We’re even leveraging IBM Watson, big data analytics and machine learning to go a step further in helping our customers better understand their end-customer’s sentiments, buying preferences and spending practices. This helps both of us more effectively manage complex supply chains and inventory turn rates.
Digital technology is making a huge imprint on every aspect of our business and partnerships with customers. Whether it’s providing cloud-based supply chain decision support systems or virtual reality-enabled product design prototyping, we look at everything through the eyes of the customer. That perspective continually informs our ongoing digital transformation as a company and manufacturing solutions provider.”
Do you have any stories or anecdotes about how you’ve worked with employers, past/present, to create an environment for a diverse workforce to succeed?
“I’ve always taken an active role in positively supporting and reinforcing the accomplishments of women to inspire the development and advancement of women leaders. More than a decade ago at CA Technologies, I created a virtual women’s group where we profiled and celebrated individual and group successes as a way of recognizing and celebrating collective contributions. By acknowledging women-driven sales wins, process and product innovation and technology achievements, we generated widespread awareness of the many accomplishments of CA’s women leaders.
Given my focus on CyberSecurity at CA, I also supported the Executive Women’s Forum for Women in Risk & Security roles, and was honored to receive the EWF Women of Influence Award in 2008 for my contributions to their efforts. I’ve created similar women-focused programs at every company since then. At Dell, for instance, I was the North American co-chair for Women in Search of Excellence (WISE), which profiled women leaders and proved instrumental in increasing the number of women executives throughout the company.
Further, for the past three years, I’ve served as editor-in-chief of ‘The Butterfly’ blog, a social digest for business women that features the latest stories on inspirational women in business and STEM-related businesses. As a long-time advocate for women in business, I truly believe that the small things, including women-focused communities and mentoring opportunities, can make a huge difference in pushing the envelope in a positive and constructive way on behalf of both businesses and the women who support their success.”
As an experienced executive, do you feel your experience has been in any way substantively different from those of men in similar positions?
“During my career I have worked for, with and alongside many men. While I’ve never felt any difference in the way I was treated by them, I certainly felt outnumbered, which is partly why I started to reach out and rally other women together.
I have always mentored women. Right now, I’m advising a colleague who is pursuing her Ph.D. I’ve also been an active member of CloudNOW, an executive consortium for women in cloud computing and converging technologies. In 2015, I was humbled to be the recipient of their Lifetime Achievement award for helping to level the playing field for future generations of women leaders.
It’s always a privilege to participate in events featuring women leadership topics, so I frequently speak at the Executive Women’s Forum or WITI (Women in Technology International). It’s not fashion for me—I’ve been an outspoken advocate for women in business for several decades.”
In what ways is 3D printing changing the manufacturing landscape by accelerating innovation and increasing manufacturing agility for customers of Jabil and Radius? How are you using 3D printing to add value to Jabil’s rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing capabilities?
“Jabil has used 3D printing to accelerate product development for years. At Radius, 3D printing enables our product designers and engineers to rapidly transform product concepts into final working prototypes through continuous cycles of iteration. In doing so, we can watch the creation of the customer experience come alive through digital prototyping driven by 3D printing and other innovative digital technologies.
Now, we’re extending the use of 3D printing to manufacture production-grade parts on behalf of our customers. Jabil has been impressed with the mechanical integrity and consistent quality of 3D-printed parts using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology. We’ve done a lot of development work on process refinement and have begun producing end-use parts at speeds and break-even cost points that rival traditional manufacturing methods, such as injection molding.
Moreover, 3D printing is enabling us to dramatically increase manufacturing agility as brand customers increasingly want to manufacture products with speed, and closer to their end-customers. With 3D printing and a distributed manufacturing model, we will have the ability to meet those needs while helping customers achieve break-even points faster.
As a member of Desktop Metal’s pioneer program, we’re starting to evaluate 3D printing capabilities for making end-use metal parts. Manufacturing has a tremendous number of applicable use cases for 3D printing, so Jabil will continue to focus on how we can create high-integrity parts, especially those with unique geometries, at scale using the most innovative 3D printing technologies and our proven processes.
Finally, Jabil can leverage the insights from its InControl digital intelligent supply chain to constantly evaluate where costs can be driven out of global supply chains by introducing 3D printing into the manufacturing equation. We will continue to make strategic investments in this area as we believe 3D printing will emerge as a major asset in our portfolio of digital services in the near future. We expect the major inflection point will occur over the next two to three years.”
“Emerging technologies, like 3D printing, are opening new job opportunities and career paths for women. When I joined Jabil—and the world of electronics manufacturing—it was a male-dominated sector. I probably could say the same about my previous tenures in software and IT, but somehow manufacturing seemed even more male-driven. In three short years, however, I have seen a wealth of new positions and possibilities for women as companies strive to be more customer centric.
Perhaps aided by women’s intuition, female leaders often excel at listening to the ‘voice of the customer.’ From my experience, embracing a customer-first approach has been the key to many successful sales and marketing programs. Women business leaders who align closely with customer wants and needs will be well positioned to help shape the digital economy by ensuring their organizations are moving with speed and agility to solve the toughest problems their customers face today while anticipating future challenges.”
As an advocate for women in business and STEM-related careers, what would you say are the top leadership skills women must master to get ahead?
“While it sounds cliché, the No. 1 skill is collaboration. Every strong leader knows a tightly integrated cross-functional team can solve just about every problem you throw at them. At Jabil, we encourage cross-pollination of skill sets as product developers, engineers, human factors specialists and others come together frequently to devise creative solutions to customer challenges. They learn from each other, experiment as a team and empathize with different points of view to ultimately produce amazing results.
The second skill is business acumen. It’s critical to know the ins/outs of the business to be a leader. I recommend listening to CEO and earnings calls, as well as attending town hall meetings to gain a full understanding of what’s happening at both macro and micro levels. I advise aspiring women leaders to read everything they can relative to their company’s business strategy. Devour it. Understand it. Internalize it. Then connect what they do to what the company does. That is the language of business—and it has no gender boundaries. In fact, the language of business obliterates gender boundaries, glass ceilings or walls while leveling the playing field.
Once you understand the language of business, make sure you speak it. Not sure what to do? Take a course, read a book. I highly recommend ‘Financial Intelligence,’ one of the best books out there. Learn how to align yourself with your company’s strategy and identify your impact on that strategy in an economic way.”
How does your work as an advisory board member on the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning, and UT’s work with its Total Educational Experience digital learning platform, open doors for women?
“UT is empowering lifelong learners—women and men—with a couple of overarching goals. First, the attrition rate at a college like UT—or any college, really—is atrocious. After the first year, the dropout rate is more than 60 percent. Our goals on the advisory board are to keep these learners engaged after year one and get them through to graduation. It’s about applying the kinds of tools and technologies to learn and make the process more engaging. I’m applying all I know about the customer experience in the workplace to improve students’ experience.
I also share personal experiences as much as possible. I caution all students to stay current with technology as it will continue to drive ongoing digital transformations. A continued focus on learning and desire to stay relevant are the best leg-up on the corporate ladder. It will drive students of all ages to adopt the new skills necessary for longevity and success in the digital economy.”
I understand you have a goal to inspire one million women in technology by 2020; what are you hoping to accomplish with this endeavor and how close are you to reaching that milestone?
“My goal is to inspire one million women to consider STEM-based careers or further their development in their chosen professions. The number may sound daunting, but I think it’s achievable. I probably have reached a couple of hundred thousand at this point, counting subscribers to ‘The Butterfly’ e-newsletter as well as people I’ve reached through face-to-face and virtual conferences, keynotes and panels, including Diva Tech Talks.
In some business sectors, there are blatant gaps in pay, titles and roles. In others, there is no ceiling and women have ample opportunities to attain leadership roles. Personally, I never felt the ceiling or if there was one, I crashed through it! For that reason, among others, I do my part to mentor and nurture women professionals so they have the confidence to become the leaders I know they can be.”
The human factor behind the advances in technology leads to the greatest growth prospects — and encouraging a diversity in voices contributing to the conversation is critical to future progress. Through a range of initiatives and efforts, Moretti is working to ensure that leadership can benefit from a range of experiences that will drive the future of tech. Companies like Jabil and Radius have gathered strong teams to push strong initiatives in innovation, and we should all be prepared to hear much more to come on these fronts.
Share your thoughts in the Joanne Moretti forum at 3DPB.com.
If you are interested in sharing your story, or know a woman we should get in touch with for this series, please reach out any time. Send us an email or connect on Twitter. We’re looking forward to sharing more stories about women in 3D printing. Find all the features in this series here.