Speeding Better Business Results

By Ajit Manocha, president and CEO, SEMI


These are heady times for our industry. SEMI members’ stock prices have soared in the last year – many topped year 2000 levels to notch all-time records in 2017.  Memory investment has come roaring back and China is ramping steeply after more than 24 new fab announcements in 2016. This year’s semiconductor revenue is widely expected to increase 10 percent compared to 2016. With at least 15 IC companies, each making capital expenditures of billion dollars or more, semiconductor equipment billings have increased by 50 percent this year. These are the best of times!

When business is up, our industry works intensely to take full advantage.  When business is down, everyone works feverishly to do more with less.  As our industry is almost never flat, SEMI’s members are constantly running full-tilt, up and down the rollercoaster.  Our industry works astonishingly hard to be successful.  When I joined SEMI in March, it was critically important to me that SEMI not only keep pace with the relentless intensity of the industry – also, SEMI needs to speed the time to better business results for its members across the global electronics manufacturing supply chain.     

In my first 100 days, I have focused on listening and learning.  I’ve been reminded that SEMI, in a given year, delivers 170+ global programs to over 27,000 attendees and hosts seven global expositions that attract over 300,000 attendees. 

SEMI itself is made up of over 2,000 member companies with over 1.2M individuals, and 5,000+  SEMI Standards volunteers, who have created over 970 SEMI Standards that enable our industry’s interoperability, efficiency, and environmental, safety and health performance (over 50,000 SEMI S2 assessments to date). And SEMI’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are vibrant communities where experts from member companies come together to develop solutions to shared challenges.

In the last three months, I met with hundreds of diverse SEMI stakeholders around the world:  SEMI International Board and Regional Advisory Board members, SEMI member company leaders and employees, and partners and representatives across the electronics supply chain.  Universally, I received positive feedback on SEMI’s value; and learned that more can be done to deliver more tangible value.  “Connecting” is no longer sufficient, SEMI needs to advance for impact – ensuring better SEMI member outcomes, industry leadership, and amplifying the voice of the industry.

There are four focus areas that will increase impact and speed the time to better business results for SEMI members:

Industry Advocacy is critical at a time when geopolitics are shifting, new regions are coming on line, and the industry is starved for qualified candidates.  SEMI will be increasing its intensity on Advocacy and Work Force Development.  New Work Force Development programs will augment SEMI’s High Tech U (HTU) program, which last month, delivered its 211th program at Micron in Milpitas, topping more than 6,000 students in seven countries to motivate the next generation of innovators. Sustainable Manufacturing (including EH&S) will also be elevated to ensure SEMI members are fully informed and engaged on the changing regulatory, materials compliance, and safety issues.

Collaborative Technology Platforms have provided SEMI with the opportunity to cover more breadth while offering more depth in key inflection areas.  While initiatives such as the Strategic Innovation Platform (SIP) have successfully delivered pre-competitive technology insights, we need to give them higher visibility to all SEMI members. Also, living in a post-ITRS roadmap world, SEMI will continue to champion critical activities like the Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap where SEMI members see great challenges as well opportunities for collaborative work.

Thought leadership, among other things, means seeing the future and distilling the implications for the industry.  SEMI now has two Strategic Association Partners – FlexTech and MEMS & Sensors Industry Group – and these communities are critically important as we look at the world in 2030 and report on the implications for the electronics manufacturing supply chain. Emerging segments like flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) and sensors, and the opportunities they provide to SEMI members in vertical applications such as MedTech and Automotive are truly astounding. In June, FlexTech hosted 2017FLEX.  This conference felt like the semiconductor industry in its early days – technologists were matching new solutions with a nearly limitless range of applications and discovering entirely new business opportunities.

Industry visibility is critically important for its place in the $2T electronics supply chain.  At a time when the general public, policy makers and those making career decisions more easily associate “technology” with internet companies, it essential to reestablish recognition of the electronics manufacturing supply chain -- with its $350B+ IC manufacturing, $50B+ Packaging & Test, $45B+ semiconductor materials, and $45B+ semiconductor equipment sectors.

An explosion of new applications are driving increased silicon content -- from autonomous transportation, to the IoT, to AI, to new computer architectures. SEMI members’ contributions must be seen and valued. 


While the industry is running hard to make the most of record-breaking quarters, SEMI will keep pace.  And based on the feedback and guidance from our International Board of Directors, SEMI will begin its transformation to SEMI 2.0.  I will keep you updated on how SEMI will increasingly speed the time to better business results for its members across the global electronics manufacturing supply chain.  In the meantime, we will continue to listen, learn, and act for SEMI member impact. Exciting times indeed!

Global Update
July 5, 2017