Semiconductor manufacturing produces enormous amounts of data which must be gathered, analyzed and interpreted effectively. Yield analysis systems enable data management but it’s not always clear when it’s the right time to invest in yield management systems.
We have been in contact with key engineers of a prospective customer in chip manufacturing for several years. Every year, they tell us that they have budgeted our software for optimizing their semiconductor manufacturing process for the next fiscal year.
The business of this semiconductor manufacturer is somewhat cyclical, and in the following year one of two things happens:
- Business is slower than expected, and we get a call that the investment budget has been cut, so the acquisition of yield software has been postponed to the following year, or
- Business is much better than expected, and we are informed that there is no time for any strategic project, because all internal engineering resources are needed to fulfill the semiconductor production orders.
We just received a type #2 call this year. Which leads to the question:
When is the right time to invest in semiconductor yield analysis systems?
Investments in better manufacturing software are often triggered by other major projects, such as the construction of a new fab or the production ramp-up of a major new product. It follows that the decision to support such endeavors with state-of-the-art yield software should be obvious.
Take the case of a more mature factory that is striving to stay competitive and is considering an upgrade of their analysis tools.
Should a company invest in yield software in times of booming business or use the industry down-cycles for this?
The reluctance to start a new project when a fab is running at 100% capacity is logical.
At DR YIELD we have a standardized process for the roll-out of our turnkey YieldWatchDog solution that will get our software operational in less than four weeks without needlessly burdening our customer’s engineering resources.
While the times of slower business seem more suited to sharpening your tool set in preparation for the next upcycle, the downturns in the semiconductor manufacturing industry can be brutal.
When you’ve cut every cent of your travel budget and are considering layoffs of your workforce, an investment in new semiconductor yield systems would understandably be the last thing on your mind.
YieldWatchDog has a proven net positive impact for our customers – preserving semiconductor product engineering resources with faster yield ramps and preventing costly yield excursions.
YieldWatchDog saves our customers money, each year and each licensing period. Our customers continually renew their license and service contracts with us, demonstrating their overwhelming satisfaction with DR YIELD.
Our prospective customers have forfeited valuable opportunities to optimize their semiconductor manufacturing process, save costs and increase yield every year that they have put off their investment decision.
Data is said to be the gold of the 21st century, and we know that a lot of optimization potential can be mined from yield manufacturing data. While some companies are still hesitant to adapt to this, others – especially younger ones – are more dynamic. We had a record number of new YieldWatchDog installations at smaller, rapidly growing companies last year.
The answer to our question “when is the right time” for a manufacturer that wants to stay competitive to invest in yield analysis software is simple: It’s always the right time to invest.
About DR YIELD software & solutions GmbH
DR YIELD provides the leading-edge advanced analytics software YieldWatchDog for analysis and control of semiconductor manufacturing and test data. This enables semiconductor manufacturers as well as Fabless companies to improve important manufacturing dimensions such as equipment availability, throughput, operating costs and yield. Once installed YieldWatchDog allows you to get actionable insights into your data. For detailed information click here