When Singapore-based STATS ChipPAC, Ltd., a leading semiconductor manufacturing solutions provider, needed to rapidly launch a critical new growth product, executives, managers, and trainers were confident that teamwork would help get the job done—but they also knew that teamwork alone would not be enough.
Executive leadership had already hired brandnew management, supervisors, engineers and operators. They had invested vast sums ($100 million) in a new, advanced technology. They had essentially created a whole new subdivision of their company from scratch. The catch? Ramp time was just a matter of weeks. They needed to get all those brand-new employees working with that brand-new equipment—completely up-to-speed— and fast.
In any normal situation, all of this outlay coupled with such time constraints would have been quite a gamble, the leadership at STATS ChipPAC turned to 100% Proficiency® training methods from Effective Training Solutions. “I have never seen such a successful ramp—ever—in our industry,” says Choong Hoe Wan, Chief Operating Officer of STATS ChipPAC and a veteran semiconductor manufacturing executive.
A HIGH-STAKES GAME
Smaller, faster, lighter and less expensive: It’s a game that those in the technology industry have been betting on for some time now, but these days, the stakes have never been so high. Worldwide demand for mobile applications—which run on portable electronic devices—continues to stack up like never before. In semiconductor manufacturing and packaging, meeting such demand means smaller, faster, lighter and less expensive semiconductors to power all those devices. While other companies are forced to throw in their cards and fold, the manufacturing company was betting it all on the launch of a new technology—an efficient new technique enabling them to manufacture the smallest possible, yet highestperforming semiconductor package technology available anywhere.
THE STRONGEST SUIT
Harry Kam is the operations director over the new production line. “We had a very aggressive time schedule mandated by the customer,” he says. Working with Ai Kiam, or ‘AK’, an engineer and the new production line training manager—Harry had to make things happen quickly. Of their manufacturing specialists, only 12 percent had prior production experience and only three percent had prior semiconductor fab experience. “Everything was new—equipment, employees, product, the whole manufacturing line, the material set, and the people,” says AK. “We recruited more than 90 percent of the staff from the outside,” she says. “We had no other known methodology to train so many so quickly.”
STATS ChipPAC started by having ETS train management and supervisors in how 100% Proficiency works—because it’s so different from what people are used to. Then, ETS trained 18 engineers in how 100% Proficiency works; how to develop procedures and work instructions that meet the standard; how to develop training checksheets which are the training process that guarantee that all trainees achieve proficiency; trainer skills so each engineer will train their trainees to a full 100%. They also certified three people to deliver “Learning How to Learn”—an employee prerequisite for training using 100% Proficiency checksheets.
Manufacturing organizations need to look at how they can bring out the best in their employees, according to Harry. “Equipment is important, but competitively, it does not play a role,” he says. “You can buy the best technology, the best equipment, but the question is—the people.” There are different methods from all over the world, and it’s important for people to be very well trained, according to Harry. “The challenge,” he says, “is to find a system that can provide continual training and upgrading while keeping the people motivated and wanting to contribute.” This, Harry says, is not the way typical companies run. Management usually dictates expectations and seeks compliance—but the real trick is to find training methodologies that make people happy in knowing they add value to the company. “Our first job was to find a good, workable system,” he says. “We found it—and business-wise, we are very, very happy.”
AN END-TO-END SUCCESS
One equipment engineer happily and knowingly adding value to the company was Ravi Kolan, who created 100% Proficiency training material for conducting preventive maintenance (PMs) on equipment, and trained other engineers with this training material. In manufacturing, equipment uptime is of utmost concern. “I don’t wish to boast,” says Ravi, bursting with pride, “But due to the steps we have taken and with 100% Proficiency training, the equipment downtime is a bare minimum. This is consistently being delivered for the past 15 to 18 months—and average uptime is greater than 95 percent,” he says.
Employees, quite simply, love the training. Another employee had this to say: “Learning How to Learn opened me to a new world of learning. I’m able to use these tools to identify obstacles and barriers when learning new skills. It makes me understand and gives me the ability to really use what I learned here and use it well.”
From the operators, engineers, trainers and managers— all the way up to the executive strata of the organization—feedback has been—well, 100 percent positive. Hon Sang Lew, or ‘HS’, oversees STATS Chip- PAC in Singapore as well as their facilities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “100% Proficiency rocks! I see employees who are breaking through the barriers to learning—and I like it. Why is this so great? There are a certain set of rules that clearly distinguish these barriers for training and employees love the training. When an operator is confused, they have the skills to handle it. It’s fantastic! It trains our operators to know exactly what they have to do with their equipment and their operating procedures.”
In sum, the training methods were not just an “ace in the hole” for STATS ChipPAC. Sure, their business goals were to achieve 99 percent yield—which they achieved; they also met their planned revenue goal for the year and they also had an excursion-free ramp— there were no instances where the customer had to shut down the line. In fact, they were an end-to-end success. “Now, our specs and procedures are meaningful for any layman to read and learn,” says Harry. “Any new operator can learn the skill. Specs can be passed on to future generations.”
Victor Rivero has written before about the merits of training transformed by 100% Proficiency for other publications. He is the editor-in-chief of EdTech Digest, and also writes white papers, articles, and features for technology firms. He has toured the U.S. with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and he has written for Intel, Dell, AMD, Microsoft, HP, and many other companies. He has published interviews with leading scientists, visionaries, government leaders, training experts, and technology executives. Victor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the 100% Proficiency® Training method can be found at Effective Training Solutions website at www.EffectiveTrainingSolutions.com.