Production Planner: Dinie Abbas ensures that all the materials needed to keep
production on track are where they need to be, when they need to be there

A year into her internship at a local hospital, Dinie Abbas decided that biomedical sciences was not for her.

“It was about procedures and looking for patterns,” she says. “The work was repetitive and too routine.” What the 25-year old wanted was a job that would involve more creative problem-solving, and where she would be challenged to think on her feet.

She found this in the semiconductor industry.

As Production Planner for Applied Materials (Applied), which builds the equipment used by chip manufacturers, Dinie’s job is to ensure that all the materials needed to keep production moving and on track are where they need to be, when they need to be there, and that the finished product is shipped on time, every time.

It is a job that keeps her on her toes and in close contact with colleagues around the world. Shortages, real or anticipated, see her in urgent communication with the company’s buyers. “If something is damaged and we don’t have a replacement in our warehouse, it can bring production to a halt,” she says. “So I get into a conference call with our buyers from the different regions and they source for the part from their suppliers or warehouses.”

Dinie’s days start with a morning meeting where technician managers, buyers, schedulers and planners share the latest updates on the status of the production line. “That includes any technical issues faced, if shipments are on track, if we are facing any material shortages, the outlook of the next few days…”

Material availability, the sequence of production, deadlines and shipping schedules are meticulously plotted on a “Gantt chart”, a critical document that is continually updated to accurately reflect the evolving situation. And from there, it is a daily dance keeping all the balls in the air.

Eye for detail: Dinie combines her love for engineering and
creative problem solving with meticulous planning skills

A year and a half into her job, Dinie continues to be fascinated by the industry and her role within it. “Our customers manufacture leading-edge smart devices that we use every day. The scale is huge and I am so proud to be part of it,” she says.

It was at a career fair at Nanyang Technological University where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering specialising in Manufacturing Engineering that Dinie encountered and was recruited by Applied.

“An Applied ambassador approached me and asked if I was interested in working for the company. I was. A few days later, I received a follow up email asking if I was interested in joining his team as a Production Planner,” she recalls. “It’s been a good fit for me, and gives me the opportunity to take a more macro view of the manufacturing process.”

She also likes the combination of team work and working solo. “We prepare our reports in the morning, then share the information during the morning meeting and work together as a team to resolve any issues or reflow any changes. After lunch, we do our part of the action plan for the day.”

Her advice to those thinking of joining the industry: “the semiconductor industry is very fast paced. If you like a job that is non-monotonous, interesting and where each day is different, then this industry is for you.”