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SSIA Summit 2016 - Fab Labor Productivity Improvement through a Combined Modeling Approach

"Powering the Innovation Economy", "Internet of Things". What do they really mean for a semiconductor Fab? How will Fabs adapt to enable their companies to compete in this new realm? What do they mean for Fab survivability?

Areil Meyuhas, COO & Co-Founder of The MAX Group shared with participants of SSIA Summit 2016 the staffing modeling method developed by The Max group for increasing direct labor personnel productivity in legacy Fabs where the focus is on transforming their operational performance to seize the IoT market opportunities just as they are transforming their business landscape.

Legacy Fabs are challenged by the need to increase their competitiveness, which often meant driving cost reduction. Tooling and material handling automation are always expensive investments thereby leaving direct labor as the key enabler to meet cost reduction requirements. Legacy Fab layout are typically complex and in many cases inhibits productivity and management teams struggle with resource optimization all the time. Therefore, how each Fab can "Smart Model" the 3 keys of accurate, effective and quick staffing requirement will determine their success in meeting those legacy challenges.

A 200mm wafer fab with a capacity of 40 thousand wafers/month is typically about 40,000 square meters with well over a thousand tools and will cost about US$3.5billon. The MAX Group projects that in Asia, direct labor cost is between 10-15% of the total cost of each wafer mask layer, which is a significant motivation for fabs to seek better ways of optimizing that cost. Today the approach in labor modelling is to use transactional modelling which typically based on static activities. The MAX Group proposes a combined approach of pairing up the Transactional Model used to determine the right number of operators per work area with the Activity Based Model using activity samplings to determine how to change the baseline assumptions for constrained areas and optimizing them. The combined modelling approach continues to have the Transaction Based Analysis to quickly assess the staffing requirements for different activity levels based on current conditions, with the Activity Modelling to provide information about the time required to complete all the activities in the fab while identifying improvement opportunities for work standards. The Max Group's combined modelling uses an Activity Based Optimization Model (ABOM) which was developed by observing multiple operators and shifts for key locations with the most variable prediction and where the headcount is significant and intensive. This modelling provided a simple management tool for shift supervisors to effectively assign resources per location and toolset and can help to pinpoint specific wastes and identify improvement opportunities for specific constrained tools and locations for standard work development.



Article contributed by:


Executive Committee Member, SSIA