“Before we implemented the system, our customers’ quality groups were constantly scrutinizing the type of quality systems we had.” —John Lilleland, Owner and President, STS
ERP and quality system project bolsters customer confidence
When a large semiconductor manufacturer hands over critical parts of a $5 million ion implanting system to Semiconductor Tooling Services Inc. (STS) for refurbishment, the company wants to know exactly when that asset will go back into production and whether the job is on track.
Unfortunately, until recently, STS couldn’t easily answer those kinds of customer questions, nor could it easily compile quality and cost information that it needed to improve internal process and profitability. While the company’s core business—refurbishing semiconductor manufacturing equipment using 75 unique elastomer bonding formulations—is ultra-high-tech, its internal systems were not. Data related to job tracking, sales tracking, and quality management was typically stored and updated on spreadsheets. As a result, it sometimes took STS days to respond to customer requests for information, to resolve
inventory discrepancies, or to track down quality issues.
To get a handle on all those issues, STS implemented a new ERP system from Epicor Software Corp. and integrated it with quality management software from IQS Inc. As a result, STS now has a continuously updated, unified repository of all information related to bonded assembly work from which it can easily track jobs and analyze costs. The project has allowed STS to reduce by a factor of 10 the amount of labor required to respond to customer queries. And it earned STS a PM100 Award in the Data & Integration Mastery category.
A key piece of STS’ project was the company’s integration of the Epicor ERP software with the IQS quality application. Using Epicor’s Service Connect business process management tool, STS built a link between the two platforms that allows STS to instantly recognize when quality results suggest that a manufacturing process is going out of conformance. The system notifies STS engineers, who immediately review and correct production processes.
That capability has not gone unnoticed by STS’ customer base, which includes some of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in Silicon Valley.
“Before we implemented the system, our customers’ quality groups were constantly scrutinizing the type of quality systems we had. The meetings were long and tough,” says STS owner and president John Lilleland. “Now, the perceived risk factors have gone away. Customers have relaxed significantly due to these improvements.”