RosettaNet execs cut through babble, enabling fast standards introduction

The RosettaNet consortium recently released the news of its Semiconductor Manufacturing (SM) Board’s first completed milestone. The standard, called the Distribute Manufacturing WIP Status, or PIP 3D8 (Partner Interface Process), defines an environment for automatically tracking work between a manufacturing facility and customers or partners.

Many SM board members, such as Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, National Semiconductor, Motorola, TSMC and Winbond, have already implemented the standard. Other order management PIPs are scheduled for implementation later this year.

Tibco is one of the solution provider companies that help RosettaNet members implement PIPs. The company’s general manager for high-tech industry solutions, Raj Nataraj, clarified the difference between RosettaNet’s mission and other B2B (business-to-business) initiatives. “With RosettaNet, companies get a complete business process [product information, order, inventory, marketing information, shipping, service and support], whereas other solutions provide only a piece of the B2B puzzle,” stated Nataraj. “It’s the difference between having separate solutions for purchase orders and invoicing vs. an integrated approach that addresses all aspects of supply chain management. With RosettaNet, businesses of all sizes can do B2B transactions that normally were feasible only for larger corporations.”

Perhaps even more significant than the technological feat of forming a standards body and then defining and implementing a supply chain solution is the fact that, by leveraging the experience of RosettaNet’s IT (information technology) and EC (electronic components) boards, the SM board was able to accomplish its first milestone in nine months. The RosettaNet organization as a whole consists of over 400 member companies and is divided into three distinct boards: information technology (IT), electronic components (EC) and semiconductor manufacturing. The SM board has 30 member companies. The purpose of the organization is to develop the standards necessary to enable e-business solutions for managing the supply-chain in each of the three sectors. The IT board is the oldest and took approximately two years from formation to the implementation of standards. The EC board took about one year from initial formation to implementation.

SM board member and Senior VP and CIO of National Semiconductor, Ulrich Seif, attributed the speed of implementation of RosettaNet standards to the participation of senior executives. “This is the first time that senior executives in this sector got together and agreed that there was a problem and committed their companies to solving it,” explained Seif. He also noted that, unlike other standards efforts in which non-executive members get bogged down in emotional discussions about specification details, all RosettaNet board members are senior executives who cut to the chase.

Indeed, there are several distinguishing features of the RosettaNet standards body that help eliminate the proverbial Tower of Babel. All member companies must have a senior executive who commits to attending board meetings. Also, RosettaNet’s CEO, Jennifer Hamilton, pointed out that member companies must agree to accomplish speedy implementation of a standard, once adopted. “Our rule of engagement is ‘Don’t get involved if you won’t implement quickly’,” said Hamilton. “Another aspect of RosettaNet membership is that ROI (return on investment) is measured for all standards. One ROI study by Avnet indicated a 280% ROI as a conservative estimate and a 580% ROI when factors like customer satisfaction are included. More case studies will be published in the next 30-60 days.” The case studies are conducted by Stanford U. and the U. of Illinois.

While it’s too early to predict the kind of ROI the WIP PIP will achieve, Ben Brimhall, director of industry solutions at webMethods – another RosettaNet solution partner – pointed out that the trend to outsource IC fabrication combined with the current downturn makes it even more important to have tighter control over a company’s WIP. “Companies that outsource IC production might have hundreds of open lots being produced by a foundry or other third party,” stated Brimhall. “Because someone else is doing the manufacturing, in a downturn these companies need more information and more visibility so that they can quickly stop production or modify orders.”

— Debra Vogler, senior technical editor, WaferNews


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