Study highlights checklist for new chip industry suppliers

August 16, 2006 – A new survey from an industry group led by SEMATECH aims to promote diversity among suppliers in the semiconductor industry, by illustrating the most important strategic goals to achieve.

The study, published by SEMATECH’s supplier relations action committee (SRAC) and based on interviews with managers of major semiconductor manufacturing and equipment-making companies, outlines specific strengths required to compete as a supplier to the $213 billion global semiconductor industry. Among the findings: demonstrate innovation, support customers’ global operations, maintain financial resilience, and exhibit high technical competence and perform to plan.

“According to survey respondents, we’re finding that the semiconductor supply chain presents some excellent opportunities for diverse suppliers who are innovative and adaptable,” stated Steve McGovern, SRAC member and SEMATECH procurement representative.

Feedback from the surveys pointed to specific areas that diverse suppliers can address to stand out. One executive noted that suppliers need to be aware of what the next generation of technology will require — e.g., as wafer dies continue to get smaller, there’s growing demand for more sensitive measurement tools, and lithography will be even smaller than the 45nm node.

Also noted as important characteristics of a supplier is being able to meet rapid turnarounds and just-in-time requirements, although ramping up and providing continuous R&D is particularly challenging for smaller and more diverse businesses. Also important: being “thoroughly effective” in a chosen market niche, and maintaining tight financial controls to decrease the risk of cash flow issues, and be more insulated against the industry’s notorious market cycles.


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