EMSNOW Executive Interview: Steve Frisch, COO of Plexus on Manufacturing in Guadalajara

EMSNOW Executive Interview: Steve Frisch, COO of Plexus on Manufacturing in Guadalajara
Since 1979, Neenah, Wisconsin-headquartered Plexus has been partnering with companies, in their words, “to create the products that build a better world.”  No small vision, but with over 16,000 employees worldwide  providing Design and Development, Supply Chain Solutions, New Product Introduction, Manufacturing, and Aftermarket Services,  Plexus is an industry leader that specializes in serving customers with complex products used in demanding regulatory environments.  Their heartland inspired culture is built around innovation and customer service.
They recently announced construction of a second facility in Guadalajara, Mexico. EMSNOW caught up with Chief Operating Officer Steve Frisch to find out what was behind that decision:
EMSNOW: Congratulations on your exciting plans for a new factory in Guadalajara, why did you choose this location for your expansion?
Steve Frisch SEP low resSince opening our first site in Guadalajara in 2014, we have had significant success in exceeding our customers’ expectations. In order to meet our continuing demand from customers for a Mexico-based manufacturing solution, we have chosen to add additional capacity in Guadalajara.  This new site is strategically located within the same industrial park as our current facility. At full capacity, the site will employ about 3,000 team members who have the opportunity to bring exciting products to life.
EMSNOW: Mexico, and Guadalajara in particular seems to be a hotspot for innovation as well as manufacturing, how have you seen the region develop since you’ve been there?
Mexico is an attractive destination for manufacturing services.  The state of Jalisco, where Guadalajara resides, boasts an innovative business environment and has seen a substantial surge in electronic and IT-related industries over the last several years.  In terms of location, we are able to access a strong transportation network and supply chain partners familiar with our industry. 
With over four million people in the metropolitan area, there is a large pool of talent to recruit from.  Specifically, we see a significant number of people entering the workforce with attributes that fit incredibly well with Plexus. On average, there are over 6,000 college graduates each year with an engineering emphasis and skill sets in highly specialized, technical programs. Overall, we see a great deal of talent, idea sharing and industry experience in-region that makes doing business in Guadalajara a great place for growth and the continuation of providing a world-class service to our customers.
EMSNOW: You mentioned Plexus’ Integrated Global Network’, can you elaborate please?
Plexus has 22 facilities that are strategically located around the world to best serve the needs of our customers. Using standard tools, processes and best practices, we are able to provide our customers with a consistent solution no matter where their product’s end market is located. Our global network of engineering, manufacturing, supply chain and aftermarket service centers allow us to support a product around the clock and at every stage of its lifecycle.  
EMSNOW: With all the talk about Smart Factory or Industry 4.0, how will this new site be different from previous facilities?
Trends like “smart factory” and “Industry 4.0” are driven by integrated systems that allow for real-time decision making and improved efficiency. Our new site will use state-of-the-art production equipment, while also leveraging the software and tools used across Plexus to share data and streamline processes.
As Steve pointed out, Guadalajara has emerged as center of innovation for Mexico and the companies that locate their manufacturing there. While there is some uncertainty coming from the upcoming elections, the momentum is not likely to slow. EMSNOW contributor, Philip Stoten was there recently and filed this report:

There are plenty of good reasons for being here in Guadalajara. For one, the sun shines every day for most of the year and the temperatures are around 30 Centigrade (86 Fahrenheit). The food is great and the people are wonderful. But in terms of working in the electronics manufacturing space there are few cities on earth with as much happening. Whilst here, as well as Plug n Play, I’ve visited Intel’s research center, where close to 2,000 of their engineers work, met several of the region’s largest contract manufacturers and the largest Mexican equipment distributors and gained even more insight what makes this city, with close to 100,000 people in electronics manufacturing, tick!

The city is awash with innovation and with technology; it really is Mexico’s Silicon Valley. That’s why we chose to have the first InnovationsFORUM outside Europe in Guadalajara last year. That’s why it attracted more than 250 registrations in the first year. This year we are expecting even more delegates on July 17 and 18; you can learn more about the InnovationsFORUM at https://www.innovationsforummx.com.

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