In our first post on the recent webcast by Mark Remson, vice president, IT, NXP Semiconductors, and Julie Fraser, principal, Iyno Advisors, we examined the pressures in the semiconductor sector forcing manufacturers to reassess their current manufacturing execution systems (MES). We also outlined the observations, from both a business and IT perspective, that indicate the time has come for changing that critical system. In this post, we will review Fraser’s research into the industry drivers moving the semiconductor sector into changing MES, as well as how IT can assess the business needs that justify the change.
According to Fraser’s research, “The customers of semiconductor manufacturers now expect more in terms of information, because their own MES systems can deliver this,” explains Fraser. “Our research has shown conclusively that semiconductor manufacturers have older MES than their customers, which is a change from the way things used to be, and which is a problem for those semiconductor concerns whose MES is lagging.”
Because of the limitations of legacy MES, this change is a difficult one for semiconductor manufacturers to address. Older MES are designed for one-time configuration and set up, but today’s semiconductor customers want specific or unique processing data. This means engineering teams must conduct new analysis that often takes weeks or months of IT time to configure MES and collect data from facilities, because new code is needed for legacy MES. Keeping up with the pace of change in products and customer demands becomes a major challenge or outright impossibility.
Remson says that IT must find out the business needs of the company to address the situation. Three principal areas must be considered: the high priority areas for the company, key business requirements, and the enabling role of IT.
The high priority areas for the company include:
- Customer-centric innovation
- Emerging markets
- New product delivery and new product introduction
- Globalization (which means operating on a 24x7x365 basis)
- Speed of execution
The key business requirements include:
- Having the capability to support key initiatives focused on innovation
- Cost effective and flexible service delivery
- Implementing standardized processes; focusing on simplifying and improving business processes
- Being able to address rapidly growing and changing needs on a global basis
- Being able to move rapidly from R&D to production
The enabling role of IT groups demands:
- IT services aligned with business needs globally
- Cost-effective IT infrastructure services delivery that balances cost, flexibility and capability
- The ability to track and communicate business value from IT investments, ensuring that benefits are realized and service needs met
- Providing IT services support for transformation initiatives globally
- Keeping abreast of new technologies (e.g., cloud computing, mobile) within the context of enterprise-critical business drivers