Applied Mechanical CEO speaks at SEMI Austin Forum

semi-newsTim Hayden, the CEO of Rite Track Inc. (West Chester, Ohio), started it, and then Kelly McAndrew, CEO of Applied Mechanical Corp. (Austin, Texas) added his own lively observations about what is going on in the United States and the wider chip manufacturing industry.

Kelly McAndrew, the CEO of Applied Mechanical, a 300-person company which provides engineering services to semiconductor fabs took up Hayden’s lament for engineering creativity.

“This industry increasingly is being run by the scoreboard, and it is killing innovation, creativity, and drive,” he said. On the plus side, he recounted examples of how innovative fab managers had saved their companies money by thinking out of the box.

Rather than do business in an adversarial atmosphere where the customer starts out being suspicious that costs are being padded by the supplier, the industry needs to value trust and openness, the qualities which foster creativity, McAndrew said. Opening the kimono a bit warily before a sold-out audience of ~130, McAndrew said his own company has turned away customers that discount engineering creativity, with the result that Applied Mechanical’s revenues declined by a few percentage points last year while profits inched up a few points.

Posted by David Lammers, Semiconductor International, on March 20, 2008