Art & Science in Guadalajara

Posted on behalf of SCC Zapopan team member Patricia Waldron

We spent a day with the IBM Mexico team at the Guadalajara (GDL) campus. Over 5000 IBMers work there and it is an amazing place – the facility, the people and the products.

The facility

The IBM Guadalajara facility was built in 1975 with the objective of creating a plant for people integrating the Mexican Character with the local environment.   The overall exterior design has a certain rhythm offering a variety of “claro oscuro” with a sense of order creating a pleasant atmosphere. Typical of Mexico is the use of plaster finish with strong color on the exterior walls.


The view above shows how the architects also took creative license with the building – doesn’t it look like a punch card??

The people


Eugenio generously spent time with our team giving us insight on IBM’s long history in Mexico, the current industry and business challenges. Over half of the people in GDL work in manufacturing, and it is where all the Power Systems shipped to the Americas and EMEA are produced. Santiago Bribiesca gave us a tour of the factory – it was the first time that many of our #SCCZapopan team had been to this type of IBM facility – more on that below. There are an additional ~1700 people in the shared services group for finance, admin and supply chain.   The balance are GBS AMS teams.

IBM is part of an ‘Industrial Cluster’ in the Guadalajara area that includes other tech companies like HP, Foxcomm and Siemens. This area of Jalisco is known as the Silicon Valley of Mexico. Our Smarter Cities Challenge is to help the municipality of Zapopan replicate this concept for the Agro-Food industry.

The Products

 Year-to-date more than 20,000 Power Systems have been produced and shipped from GDL. The plant is immense! The team configures, tests and packs the systems.


 Two of our #SCCZapopan have special ties to this plant:

Manuel Avalos lives in GDL. We are the first team to have a local IBMer as part of Smarter Cities Challenge for a local municipality. We think it’s great, as Manuel has given us lots of insight and has relationships with some of our stakeholders.

Claude Basso is a DE who worked on the research team to develop the Power Systems chip set. The plant team was excited to meet Claude as he was to see his efforts brought to life!


Speaking of IBMers …… Carlos Saucedo, Corporate Citizenship Director for Mexico, is in some respects the most important member of our extended team. He and his organization have been responsible for the amazing agenda, arrangements and media coverage of #SCCZapopan.   And stay tuned – a film crew is arriving next week to start production of a video on our project.


I think the Smarter Cities Challenge is equally beneficial for IBMer development as it is for the municipalities we are supporting!

Next week we meet more of the GDL local team next week. We’ll spend our time turning our observations and recommendations into final deliverables and rehearsing our presentation to the Mayor of Zapopan.


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