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Meeting semiconductor supplier challenges

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:competitive advantage? value proposition? customer support? distribution? automotive pixel link?

As the industry continues its conservative recovery from the severe downturn of the past few years, customers increasingly require that semiconductor suppliers provide the technologies and products that enhance their competitive advantage. To succeed in this environment and seize the opportunity the recovery presents, a semiconductor supplier must address some important challenges:

???A supplier must clearly define their competitive advantages and value proposition, identifying why they are the best option compared with the competition.
???A supplier must collaborate more closely than ever with customers on design and solutions.
???A supplier must provide strong, consistent product delivery and support on a global basis.

Shinichi Machida

Machida: To succeed in this environment and seize the opportunity the recovery presents, a semiconductor supplier must address [three] important challenges.

Defining core value globally, delivering locally
Perhaps the most fundamental challenge for any successful semiconductor supplier is to define its competitive advantages, its core value proposition. Value can be defined as a specific technology, applications expertise, or support services. For most global competitive suppliers, value is a combination of all three capabilities, with the added capabilities of localized design and support services, and state-of-the-art manufacturing services, usually in several different locations. Whatever its form, value must be at the core of a successful semiconductor business model.

For example, consumer electronics manufacturers, including mobile devices manufacturers, seek power-efficient semiconductor products with the lowest pin counts or smallest form factors possible, to save cost and power, and to reduce the end product footprint. On the other hand, telecommunications and networking systems solution suppliers require optimal performance, with advanced product designs that move their systems to the leading edge of customers' markets. The semiconductor company meeting these needs provides the value such customers require.

And time is of the essence. As end-product lifecycles shrink from years to months, time-to-market pressures mean semiconductor suppliers must deliver first-pass success in IC development and fabrication, and support customers through a wide range of engagement models.

Collaboration on design, solutions
A second challenge semiconductor suppliers must meet is to become more collaborative. Design engagements are becoming highly collaborative in industries such as automotive, consumer electronics and household products. Semiconductor suppliers work with ODMs in Asia to develop and deliver the most innovative and advanced mobile or wireless solutions possible.

Particularly important are collaborations with software or IP partners. For example, Fujitsu Semiconductor worked with BMW and Inova Semiconductors to integrate the Automotive Pixel Link (APIX), a bi-directional serial link, with the Fujitsu graphics display controllers (GDCs). This enabled BMW to reduce behind-the dash space requirements, develop more modular architectures, and save cost.

BMW was involved from the outset to ensure stability in the development process and to make sure that the company's concerns were addressed, including the weight associated with the wiring, and interoperability with other bus standards.

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