Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates designs, manufactures, and services semiconductor processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. With over 30 years in the industry, Gloucester, Mass.-based Varian Semiconductor meets the exacting ion implantation needs of IC manufacturers worldwide. Varian implants more than five million wafers each day for its 3,300 customers, which is more than all of its competitors combined.
But capital equipment for the semiconductor industry is a highly cyclical market that involves complex products that are subject to significant customized requirements and ongoing engineering updates. Add to that an inconsistency between long lead times required from suppliers for intricate parts, and short order lead times called for by customers due to inevitable delays in their capital expenditure decisions, and you have an organization, like many others, plagued with potential threats to operations performance and customer satisfaction. Varian Semiconductor required a response management solution that would help it not only satisfy customer demand in short order, but quickly and effectively respond to ever-present product and engineering changes, reduce excess and obsolete inventory levels and avoid or address other potential performance impediments.
According to Bill Monroe, inventory control manager for Varian Semiconductor, his company turned to Kinaxis for a software package called RapidResponse that allows it to perform what-if analyses in minutes versus hours with its existing ERP system. Within four months, Kinaxis had the RapidResponse software deployed and providing immediate payback by providing the visibility and flexibility to quickly respond to the constant changes to build plans.
Monroe explains that a typical what-if build-plan analysis used to take days to complete. Now, RapidResponse, integrates with Varian's SAP ERP and provides the ability to review the full impact of engineering change orders prior to implementation. Monroe's team can schedule new product cut-in dates and analyze high-level assembly outsourcing opportunities that can deplete current inventory.
RapidResponse has reduced the time it takes to do what-if analysis of changes to build plans from hours or days to just minutes. Using the Live Scorecard feature and a Varian Semiconductor-created workbook, RapidResponse provides quick results that can be e-mailed to key participants throughout the supply chain for a jump start on changes. Producing a receipts forecast was reduced from two days to just minutes.
"Kinaxis RapidResponse enables Varian Semiconductor to meet customer commitments without sacrificing quality or operational performance, which is paramount to its long-term business success," says Monroe.
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