At yieldHUB we work with consultants and semiconductor experts, like André van de Geijn, Semiconductor Expert and author of Collaboratism.
He supports our customers on the west coast of the US. We asked him about the benefits of various yield management solutions. In this article we will explain the benefits with insights from André.
Today, people look at their current problem and try to find a solution. They often overestimate the importance of now, forgetting about any future-proofing. Looking at a yield management solution holistically will save you time and money in the future. And you can avail of any new features and tools as the system is upgraded.
In his book Collaboratism, André Van De Geijn outlines what he believes are the four pillars to consider when evaluating a yield management system, whether it be an internal option or a through a bespoke YMS vendor. They are:
- Time to market
Today you might want to perform simple analysis where charts are sufficient. Next year your automotive products might need to go through a screening process. For both, the source data is the same, your test data, but are used differently.
Because your team will try to solve current problems and adhere to the instructions from the team, they could miss out on a lot of functionality. Serving many customers, yieldHUB has a rich set of functions developed for its users. They can be switched on with the touch of a button.
yieldHUB works from high-level to die level to give you both a birds-eye overview as well as an in-depth look at a wafer map and each die. It shows a holistic approach to functionality. It will benefit you now and in the future when your needs grow.
There are so many functions available out of the box, they would fill a book on their own. Here is a sample:
- Gage R&R
André: “I recommend starting with a YMS that can do analysis. You can upgrade and switch on functions as needed.”
Added functionality: The holistic approach
And there is not only focus on YMS functionality but also functionality that helps make your engineers awesome and happier in their roles. Here is a unique yieldHUB example:
sharing reports between engineers, managers, subcontractors, and anybody else who uses the system.
If an engineer spots an anomaly, it is much easier to explain their findings with a chart rather than trying to explain it with words in an email, or over the phone.
He or she can share the report immediately with others. This allows the team to get up to date much faster, no need to try to recreate the same result at another location! This helps your team to solve problems earlier.
You can add comments which are seen by other members of the team. In an industry where teams who work closely together are often stationed thousands of miles apart, this communication functionality is invaluable.
André: “Communication is the key to collaboration. For a company to be truly effective when designing and manufacturing semiconductors and ICs you need to communicate, share ideas and data. A good yield management system enables good communication.”
Time to market
If you decide to develop your own tools, your team will need time to do so. This impacts and slows your time to market. Yield management systems like yieldHUB are ready to go.
Need some customization? The team is ready to support you immediately. They have a lot of experience in building software for the semiconductor industry.
When you need extra functions, it is likely that an external solution provider already has them. Why wait months for your team to develop a tool when a provider can install it with the touch of a button?
André: ”They support others with NPI, so why not benefit from day one?
And with functionality like shared communications, loops between design centers and manufacturing can be shortened.” For example, When the OSAT uploads the data in the YMS, the designers see the results immediately. They know which areas are running smoothly and what needs attention.
Many people think that an internal option is free! They forget that they have to pay the development and engineering team to work on the solution.
Developing a YMS system is not just implementing a few functions. It also needs a solid architecture that stands the test of time.
Andre “yieldHUB has both. Software architects and yield management experts build a solid cost-effective solution.”
In the end, you need to pay for the services you need. Most customers find that by using yieldHUB, they save money and have less need to take on additional engineers.
Opportunity cost: When your engineers are extracting data and transferring it to Excel, they aren’t solving problems or identifying clever ways of doing things. Imagine what they would do if they spent more time doing their core job?
Reports from YMS are shared between users with their specific experience, be it managers, product engineers, test engineers, etc. They have oversight of each project and product with their expertise. Imagine what they would do with an overview of the entire process?
André: “You could be missing out on huge gains by not using a solid yield management system.”
And last but not least: quality.
The quality of a YMS directly affects the quality of semiconductor products. When a YMS has been around for a while the system has been road-tested by thousands of users, many different companies, a wide selection of different products and terabytes of data.
Imagine those users trying to break the system and find an anomaly! Bugs have been fixed, issues have been ironed out and the architecture has been proven.
If your team developed a system, it could be years before they spot an anomaly. Finding a serious error could invalidate the data previously stored. This is unlikely to happen with an established solution of a solid company that does it for a living. Their solution is reliable, verifiable and repeatable.
André: “By investing in a YMS, you’re safeguarding the quality of your output and products.”
Is a YMS a complete solution?
No. And that is the advantage. Because it’s never perfect and the industry is always changing, good providers invest in development and research to stay ahead of the market. Yield management is an iterative process. Just as industry-needs change and develop in complexity, YMS solutions adapt to accommodate it.
In yieldHUB, many of the latest innovations come from our customers and the market. They may have an idea that they’d like to see. If we see the value, we will develop it. We often roll it out to new customers. Any new customer benefits from the queries, ideas and in some cases challenges from other customers. Current customers know that we are open to new ideas. Some of our latest innovations include yieldHUB Characterize. We’re working on a few novel ideas at the moment, and once they are ready we will work on more.
André: “A good system is never finished, it should be holistic and ready for the changes that come.”