Jabil Joules Europe: Bridging the Gender Gap and Encouraging Greater Diversity in European Manufacturing

Jabil Joules launched its European initiative in April of 2015 with the mission of educating, mentoring, networking, and promoting a dialogue of gender diversity. Now, more than 7 months later the program has seen implementation in multiple sites and creation of the Regional Jabil Joules Steering Committee along with numerous other successes in site-initiated programs, community projects, and programs of increasing diversity within the sites.

In 2010, the European Commission launched the Women’s Charter to drive gender equality. The aim is to have equal pay, equal in decision-making, and equal economic independence by 2020. Despite a liberal European agenda for gender equality, only 17 percent of Jabil’s European managers were female in April this year, less than the European average of 28 percent for female directors in the top FTSE 100 companies according to the EEF’s Women in Manufacturing 2015 report. With the current European measures in place and the shortage of females in leadership positions, Jabil and other companies are recognizing there is a case for gender balance in leadership.

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But why is having a diverse workforce important for Jabil and manufacturing? According to the 2015 Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Skills Gap Study, 60 percent of open skilled production positions are unfilled due to a talent shortage even when manufacturers are willing to pay 80 percent more than market rates. Thus, we need a diverse workforce to fill in the work shortage. Not only is the employment shortage, but companies with diverse teams are more profitable due to a larger and varied talent pool, more innovative due to the differing viewpoints, ideas, and more competitive with better market insights due to access to a wider industry knowledge. “Our future success depends upon our ability to attract, retain and develop from diverse backgrounds, enabling us to target the best available talent pool, while at the same time being recognized as an employer of choice, regardless of gender, creed or nationality,” Robin Forster, Regional HR Director, Europe. Therefore, we need a diverse workforce to fill needed positions and for Jabil to maintain and exceed its competitiveness.

To tackle these problems, Jabil Joules Europe launched a series of Educate, Mentor, and Connect guides to inspire sites to recruit women, encourage women to take the next step in their career, and create a Jabil Joules community. The Educate arm includes programs for training development, diversity blogs, and Manufacturing Day to promote manufacturing awareness and STEM education. The Mentor arm encompasses informal mentor programs, creation of development programs for women, and partnership with local schools and universities. As for Connect, it comprises initiatives such as webinars, leaders roadshows, and encouraging partnership with external organizations and networks. The goal is for each site to launch a Jabil Joules initiative and select a Jabil Joules champion to create a team to execute such initiatives.

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Since the launch in April 2015, Jabil Joules has received a positive response in many sites and seen numerous changes in support of diversity. Since April, there have been 17 new female managers across Jabil’s European sites. Not only that, but 86 percent of European sites have chosen a Jabil Joules champion and declared various Jabil Joules initiatives. Fantastically, 11 sites have declared Celebrate Manufacturing Day plans with some involving the media to spread greater awareness of Jabil and manufacturing.

Site initiatives address various gender specific issues and the greater issues of diversity. For instance, Tver and Tiszaujvaros implemented payment programs for expectant mothers and for employees with newborns. Tiszaujvaros creatively installed pink lights in its main entrance and outside their facility in the month of October as a reminder of Breast Cancer Awareness along with open discussions about Breast Cancer. At Vienna, a group of employees for the new leadership program were identified, 25 percent of which were female. Additionally, Vienna and Nypro Germany participated in career fairs at local universities. Livingston held a two day workshop for Employment for Young Adults with Learning Disabilities. In Waterford, they implemented an INTRO programme supported by the Irish government to support the unemployed in the locality in finding work. These are just a handful of the numerous initiatives the sites in Europe have implemented.

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The Jabil Joules initiatives were also a part of several of the Manufacturing Day plans in Europe.  Eight sites have hosted a Manufacturing Day with great success. At Livingston’s Manufacturing Day, the site held tours and activities for employees’ families including a chocolate building activity for children. Many other sites, such as Tver, Waterford, and Nypro Germany, used Manufacturing Day to host students from local universities to educate them about the opportunities in manufacturing; more than 72 female students and 130 male students from engineering and technical programs across various regional schools and universities participated in Jabil’s events. However, this is only a small insight to the diverse Manufacturing Days held and in planning at Jabil Europe.

Jabil Joules Europe has started to bridge the employment gap and encourage greater diversity throughout Europe and has seen great success in the past 7 months. However, as Robin Forster says, “We still have work to do promote the programme at our sites, with our managers and employees, with our local communities and also with our customers.”

May Zhao: Embracing Diversity & Collaborating for our Employees

BK8A3738May Zhao, Human Resources Manager at Jabil Shanghai, tends to be shy. When she presented on behalf of her team during the 2015 Deliver Best Practices Competition, however, she spoke with confidence, grace and knowledge. May was anything but shy as she helped her team win first place in the Human Development category. Their team developed a hiring plan that explored unique channels to increase hiring efficiency aligns perfectly with Jabil’s cultural tenant of embracing diversity and collaborating.

From October 2014 to March 2015, direct labor headcount shortage had become a serious issue at Jabil’s Shanghai site. In order to resolve the direct labor shortage in Shanghai, the team developed a direct labor hiring program called the Model Direct Labor Hiring Program.

The team set four aggressive goals in order to address the problem and change the current situation. The goals aimed to improve the direct labor fulfillment rate, self hiring percentage, decrease labor agent cost and labor contracted employees percentage.

In total, Zhao’s team spent 15 months defining, measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling the project. During this time, they utilized Lean tools, including the fishbone diagram, value stream mapping and a cause-and-effect matrix. After measuring the project’s effectiveness, they found that the fulfillment rate increased to 100 percent, the labor agency hiring percentage decreased to 0 percent, agency contracted employee percentage decreased to 11 percent and labor agency cost decreased by 10 percent.

The team’s achievements through the hiring program led them to receive recognition from the government, customers and other teams within Jabil. The team also shared best practices with sister plants and the government. The program has now been replicated at almost all Jabil sites throughout China.

“Looking back, Jabil’s culture was shining from beginning to end,” said Zhao during her presentation.

May Lin: Helping to Improve Our Communities & Environment

May Lin 3- 480x260May Lin, Line Supervisor at Taichung Tooling, understands the importance of improving our communities and the environment. May and her seven project members identified an increase in power consumption and high CO2 emissions at their site. With a focus on integrity, they set out to determine the root causes and make necessary changes to reduce power usage and CO2 emission in Taichung.

In order to reduce heat inside the workshop, the team designed 28 oil coolers, added a heat-guiding cover and replaced the previous cooler with an air-cooled chiller. Their project, “Green Energy, Green Earth,” saved 14.2 percent of the power being consumed and reduced CO2 emissions by 14 percent.

To put it into perspective, the amount of CO2 emission their project will have reduced by 2016 is equivalent to flying an airplane around the world 118 times!

With the theme song, “Heal the World,” by Michael Jackson, it is evident the team has a passion for sustainability. Their project incorporated and illustrated Jabil’s company-wide Lean initiative.

May, whose favorite thing about Jabil’s culture is challenging the impossible, was very excited to represent her team in the Social & Environmental Responsibility category of this year’s Deliver Best Practices competition.

Kathy Xie: Changing the Game with RapidResponse Game-Changing Solutions

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Kathy Xie, Senior Manager of Supply Chain Solutions at Jabil St. Petersburg, understands what achieving success looks like, at least by her definition.  As the first place finalist in the Operational Excellence category of this year’s Deliver Best Practices competition, she says success is achieving what you set your mind to, no matter how big or small.

Her team set out to create a best-in-class capacity solution that is scalable, user friendly, fast, flexible, accurate and standardized. The title of their project is RapidResponse Capacity Solution and in just eight months it had met, and far exceeded, their own expectations.

Their project helped to create a solution to strategically lay down a foundation for Master Schedule Planning in one platform for Jabil. The end results included reduced process times, improved analysis accuracy and faster response times. She says she is happy to have had the opportunity to showcase what her team achieved.

Xie, who started at Jabil in 1999, says the best part of her job is knowing her work can make a difference. With 157 global business units now leveraging the team’s capacity solution, there is no doubt their project made a difference.

She says she gets her inspiration from being a mom and role model to two young kids. When she gets home from work, she spends time engaging in activities with them and helping them with homework.

Georgina De Loza: Embracing Diversity by Empowering Women

Tie 2 - 480x260Georgina De Loza, Communications Coordinator at Jabil Guadalajara, says her proudest moment at work thus far was achieving the 2014 Best Site Communications award. After this year’s Deliver Best Practices Competition, De Loza has a new accomplishment of which to be proud. Her team’s project, titled Women Empowerment, tied for first place in the Social & Environmental Responsibility category with Emmanuel Joseph from Penang.

With their chosen theme song, “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, this team’s project is about providing women with the appropriate tools to feel confident when taking the next position or opportunity in their careers. During her presentation, De Loza spoke about several topics that contribute to the low number of women in leadership positions: skills & personal development plan, self confidence, stress level and culture. In order to combat these issues, her program created a networking committee that encourages men to be more aware and supportive of gender issues in the workplace. The program also hosts conferences for women in the working world.

When the team began their project a year ago, only 19% of candidates applying to positions at Jabil were women. By the end of their project, 36% of applications being sent in were by women.

During De Loza’s presentation, she asked Chief Executive Officer Mark Mondello to sign the United Nation’s Women’s Empowerment Principles, which is a set of principles offering guidelines on how to empower women in the workplace. Mondello eagerly agreed, yielding yet another accomplishment for DeLoza and her team.

With 100% of the initial program goals completed, De Loza’s team is looking forward to future opportunities and replicating this program at other Jabil sites.

De Loza proves to be much like her hero, J.K. Rowling, as they are both brave enough to go against what is considered “normal” and take part in creating something meaningful.