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The FabTime Cycle Time Management newsletter is a forum for introducing and discussing best practices in wafer fab cycle time management.
In this issue, we have an announcement about new FabTime software training videos that are available to our customers, as well as an announcement about the availability of the new SEMI E10 and E79 standards. Our FabTime software tip of the month is about editing the appearance and content of individual charts. We also have one subscriber discussion topic, concerning improving cycle time and on-time delivery for a fab.
In our main article this month we address the general question of how we can become better at what we do, whether what we do is manufacture computer chips, develop software, or something else altogether. We revisit Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, discuss several projects that we are working on internally to make our own company more productive, and then discuss the necessary steps for planning cycle time improvement initiatives.
In this issue we have a community announcement about the next Fab Owners Association meeting. Our software tip of the month is about navigating the different “Go” buttons within the FabTime user interface. We have no subscriber discussion this month (though we would certainly welcome your questions or suggested discussion topics for the next issue). In our main article, we provide some specific answers to the question: how do I identify the sources of arrival variability to a particular toolgroup?
In this issue we have three announcements: one about a new FabTime User Group started by the Fab Owners Association IE Team; one a call for papers; and one about an update to the SEMI E10 and E79 standards. Our FabTime tip of the month concerns the use of Tab Filters to change a filter setting for all charts on a home page tab on the fly. In our subscriber discussion forum we are pleased to announce a winner in the challenge issued by Frank in the last issue.
In the last newsletter, we talked about helping people to become better problem-solvers. In our main article this month, we review some of the many problems that there are to solve in wafer fabs. We group these issues under categories including capacity planning; starts planning; dispatching; and operations. While space does not permit us to delve into all of these questions here, we do seek your feedback regarding which of these problems would be most beneficial to work on going forward.
In our main article this month, we offer some suggestions for helping people to become better problem-solvers. This is something we have been working on internally at FabTime, and we felt that some of our subscribers might find our advice useful. In particular, we focus on the need to question assumptions, and on the benefits of digging down to detailed data, rather than trying to solve problems based on top-level results.
We have two announcements in this issue, one about a promotion for Lara Nichols, now our Director of Engineering, and another with a call for papers for the MASM conference. Our FabTime tip of the month is about identifying the states in which your bottlenecks spend the most time, so that you can seek opportunities for improvement. We have two subscriber discussion topics, one from Mike Hills in response to our last issue, and one with a new question about maintenance staffing models.
In our main article this month, we revisit and generalize upon a topic first introduced in the newsletter in early 2000: the impact of changing a fab’s lot size. Where previously (in Issue 2.02) we had looked at the question of whether a lot size reduction was likely to be beneficial overall, in this new article we discuss both lot size reduction and lot size increase.
We have one announcement in this issue, about the upcoming Fab Owners Association Collaborative Forum. Our tip of the month is about identifying the lot that has been on hold the longest in your fab (the first of a new series of step-by-step skills instructions that we are working on). We have two submissions from subscribers, one about foundries and cycle time, and the other about the impact of increasing lot size.
In our main article this month, we present the results of a series of simulation experiments conducted by FabTime’s Mike Krist and Frank Chance. The goal of this experiment was to evaluate the impact of several commonly-used dispatch rules on linearity of shipments. The results showed that, of the rules tested, some had problems with WIP bubbles. This was initially less apparent under critical ratio dispatching than the other rules. However, in the presence of late lots, WIP bubbles were also observed under critical ratio. We believe that these results call for further investigation of line balance-focused dispatching.
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