In the setting of the three-pillar smart manufacturing framework of ‘Connect, Sense and Predict’ as advocated by SEMI it turns out that a fourth pillar ‘Act’ should possibly deserve prominent consideration as well: Because whatever has been predicted, most value-add can be realised once some decisions with regard to how to ‘Act’ can be derived from such a prediction. In a semiconductor frontend facility in particular, the ability to pro-actively adjust action plans in a timely manner, based on high quality predictions and forecasts, is essential to overcoming challenges arising from changing customer due dates, mix profile changes, untimely production line issues, and production capacity to be shared with R&D lots effectively, so that ultimately capacity can be enhanced, cycle times be reduced and due-date performance can be improved. The presentation will describe some of the lessons arising from the specific characteristics of the production environment of a semiconductor frontend facility and some of the challenges to be addressed to make such facilities operate in an even more agile and cost effective manner.
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