In 2012 we began making further significant steps to improve the structural maturity and operational performance of ASMI. For example, strategic focus areas were identified in relation to our longer-term ambitions.
STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
These strategic focus areas, each sponsored by a member of the Senior Management Team, are:
Nurture the relationships we have with them and deliver the performance critical to our continued success.
Drive Innovation to ensure that our future product portfolio will sustain our technology leadership positions.
Build and sustain a high-performance organization.
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
Maximize the effectiveness of our product development process to Deliver Excellence.
Optimize our manufacturing capabilities and performance.
Achieve leading-edge information systems and infrastructure performance.
KEY OPERATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS
In parallel and consistent with the above strategic focus areas, we carried out a rigorous self-assessment in 2013 against a comprehensive, industry-specific, business process, systems, and performance framework. From this self-assessment, we selected key operational improvement opportunities across a range of business process areas, based on their potential to both improve our performance and Deliver Excellence to our customers.
The collective set of improvement projects was established as a company objective, with the imperative to globally harmonize our business practices. These projects were largely completed within 2014, which validated our program management methodology, and established a foundation of continuous improvement. In 2015, the critical prerequisites established in the preceding years enabled us to initiate an even more challenging and impactful set of projects, with commensurate progress. The cumulative progress in structural maturity, results, and ambition is recognized by our customers. For 2016 we will continue to drive further development in both the strategic focus areas and the operational continuous improvement program.
We recognize that our focus on operational excellence is a never-ending journey. Concentrating on the above areas collectively represents a considerable investment in our future, and is yielding significant improvements in capabilities and results. We review our progress in these strategic focus areas quarterly, regularly refresh how we search for further improvement opportunities, and continually raise the bar in our relentless drive to deliver excellence.
OPERATIONS AND MANUFACTURING
Our broad portfolio of innovative technologies and products are used by the most advanced semiconductor fabrication plants around the world, helping them to progress along their technology roadmaps. Manufacturing these products involves the fabrication and assembly of various critical components, product assembly, quality control and testing.
In addition to technology leadership, we also continue to focus on further improving the effectiveness of our organization and the efficiency of our processes. This involves providing our customers with dependable, leading-edge products and services of consistent quality that offer the best cost of ownership, increasing our flexibility to meet customer expected lead times. To achieve this, we continually optimize our manufacturing and global sourcing processes, including the migration to common product platforms.
ESTABLISHMENT OF FEMS
In 2004, we established FEMS, a manufacturing Center of Excellence in Singapore, to manufacture generic subsystems for our Vertical Furnaces product offering. This enabled us to reduce manufacturing costs in our wafer processing equipment operations. In 2009 we began the transition to full product manufacturing, including final assembly, testing and shipping systems to our customers from our Singapore location. In 2012 we strengthened the company with the addition of a global supply chain function, which includes responsibility for procurement, supply chain quality and inventories. In 2013 we made fundamental changes in the global manufacturing model, transforming from a vertically integrated model to an outsourced model, which reduced complexity, increased supply chain leverage, and drove improvements into our core internal manufacturing capabilities. Over the last few years we have continued to move non-core activities to value-added contract manufacturing, which has resulted in lower total costs and increased capability and flexibility. By 2014 we had expanded our outsourced manufacturing model to manage all production into FEMS.
In 2015 we invested in a Supply Chain Excellence team to focus on critical technologies and key suppliers, which will drive supplier capability in alignment with our technology roadmap.
As we enter 2016, we are continuing to focus on increased order flexibility through lead time and cycle time reduction programs, such as a Merge-In-Transit (MIT) delivery model and the introduction of lean / Six Sigma production processes to optimize our manufacturing capability.
In March 2016, we were awarded Intel’s prestigious Preferred Quality Supplier (PQS) award for performance in 2015. This is our first such award. The PQS Award is part of Intel’s Supplier Continuous Quality Improvement (SCQI) program that encourages suppliers to strive for excellence and continuous improvement. This achievement reflects our long partnership with Intel, the value of our leading-edge materials deposition technology – essential to Intel’s success – and the significant progress we have made in our relentless drive toward operational excellence and safety leadership.
The PQS achievement requires outstanding performance in quality, cost, availability, technology, customer service, labor and ethics systems, environmental sustainability, as well as social responsibility and governance goals. This achievement is the culmination of many years’ focus on operational excellence across all key areas of our business.