Erich Hoch challenges standard operating practices as executive vice president and CEO of Jabil Circuit Inc.'s Digital Solutions group, including its Packaging Solutions division.
"Many years ago, I worked with a person who challenged everything we were doing at the time and taught me to think much the same way," Hoch said. "The ideas he proposed may have seemed crazy then, but there was a true and brilliant logic to this approach."
Hoch worked for a Koninklijke Philips NV unit in Austria and was with Philips for 18 years.
"Through this mentor, I have come to understand and practice this same reasoning," he said. "As a result, I believe that successful organizations are never complacent. Instead, they always aim higher and question every assumption to become better."
Hoch has perspectives on emerging demands of end-market customers.
"With recent technology such as hands-free voice-controlled devices, consumers are moving more and more toward an instant gratification model," he said. "They speak it — and it appears. No longer do they have to get in the car to go to a store and buy something."
He has the same view about "online purchases that allow the press of a button to drive a package delivery to their door. These consumer trends are driving unique requirements for consumer packaged goods providers who need to think more about the digital shelf than the store shelf — and all of the considerations of package delivery with a powerful customer experience for the consumer."
Customer-enabled technology drives industry changes that are highly disruptive, Hoch noted.
"Jabil is in the perfect position to lead the market in addressing this disruption and putting the power back in the hands of the brands to address them," he said.
Jabil's largest customers include Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Technologies Inc., General Electric Co., HP Inc., Ingenico SA, Telefonaktiebolaget L.M. Ericsson, NetApp Inc., Valeo SA and Zebra Technologies Corp. Including Apple's 24 percent, Jabil's five largest customers accounted for approximately 49 percent of net sales totalling $18.35 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016.
Hoch, 48, lives in Vienna but spends most of his time visiting customers and facilities around the world.
At age 15 in Austria, he started as a toolmaker apprentice and became a certified toolmaker in 1988.
He joined Jabil as a business unit manager in 2002, became a vice president presiding over the digital sector in 2005 and served as senior vice president and chief supply chain officer from 2008 to 2013.
Hoch said the latter position was his most interesting.
"The challenges involved globalizing Jabil's supply chain, increasing agility and developing true business partnerships with our 17,000 suppliers," he said. "Winning meant leading the way with innovative solutions like the Jabil InControl SaaS Intelligent Digital Supply Chain platform, which changes supply chain management forever and provides our customers with untold supply chain management analytics and decision support to ensure global efficiency and risk mitigation."
For one key project, a customer's use of 3D printed parts facilitated printing samples, modifying the part design and changing the tooling. "As a result, and compared to the traditional re-loops that would have been required on the tool, the customer estimates a saving of five months in time — one month versus six months — and $10 million in tooling," he said.
Publicly traded Jabil of St. Petersburg, Fla., appointed Hoch to head the Emerging Technologies Solutions group in 2013. He took over the Packaging Solutions division in March 2016 and was given the higher-level responsibility for the Digital Solutions group in July 2017.