Q and A Archives

Peruse a rich archive of questions and answers that ran from 1999 to 2017
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December When we talk about the "World-wide Electronics Food Chain" what do we mean?

Markets are interdependent upon each other. Demand can be looked upon as a "pull" system where entities higher up in the chain create demand on those immediately beneath them. These demands in turn create demands that cascade down through the system, layer-by-layer, in a sort of waterfall.

Another source of demand, however, is generated through a "push" system where technology makes available new resources that improve the ability of those higher in the chain to produce products and services and to generate more revenue. Specifically:<

Demand for electronics stimulates demand for semiconductor devices that stimulate demand for manufacturing equipment—this is "pull".

November How many 300mm fabs are planned or probable by the end of 2001?

Fourteen, Five in the United States, five in Japan, two in Taiwan, and two in Korea.

October What does is the difference between a company that is said to be "technology driven" as opposed to one that is said to be "market driven?"

A "technology driven" company is one that considers its ability to design and build newer and more advanced products the key to its success. These products are conceived based upon the talents and abilities of the technical staff. The belief is that if "you build a better mouse trap, customers will beat a path to your door." The problem is that the technologist's perception and the customer's perception might be entirely different.

A "market driven" company is one that considers its key to success is to design and produce products that meet the needs of customers in its markets. Those needs are determined by talking to the customers and gathering lots of data from which the product requirements are determined. Note that such a company is "market driven," not marketing driven. Marketing does not drive the company, the market does.

September The Robinson-Patman Act makes "price discrimination" illegal. What does this mean?

The law prohibits price discrimination between different purchasers of product of like grade and quality, if this discrimination may substantially injure competition (1) with the person who grants or the person who receives the discriminatory price, or (2) with customers of either of these people." Price differentials are considered to be unlawfully discriminatory only when their effect may be to substantially lessen competition. In other words, a price difference is allowed if it does not substantially reduce competition.

If you are in doubt, discuss it with your corporate council.

August If two products are relatively equal in price, quality and after sales service, what is most likely to influence the buying decision?

The sales person or account team becomes the critical factor. Understanding the account's business, current needs (not wants), the account personnel, and the how the account functions internally provides the smart sales person or team with critical information. Proper relationships and a special level of confidence in the selling company can be built that will provide the necessary competitive edge.

July When speaking of manufacturing wafers, what is meant by a "Supplier Driven Facility"?

As we move toward the end of the first decade of the new millennium semiconductor manufacturers could potentially ask suppliers to provide the tools, processes, and personnel to run and maintain the plants and the materials to be processed. Initially this could be on a fixed fee basis but could evolve in a price per wafer processed. The groundwork for this can be found in the Cost of Ownership and Cost of Consumables models now in use. At that juncture, the role of a company that serves as an "Integrator" and its team will be even more critical to providing finished product in the form of processed wafers, in-spec and on-time.

June How close did the mid-90s forecast of 300mm conversion meet reality?

The 300mm conversion is another in a long line of industry examples of over-optimism. Pilot lines were initially forecast for 1997/1999. Very few pilot lines for 300mm wafers came into operation by 2000, and production will probably not begin before 2003 or 2005.

May What is the most important post-exposition/tradeshow activity in which sales people need to engage?

Follow-up and follow-through!!! Every person who visited the booth during the show should be contacted soon after. If they requested literature, the company should send it. But the smart salesperson will give them a call—to make sure they received it . . . or better yet, set up an appointment to stop by and personally drop it off.

The other follow-up that is critical is to keep promises made during the show.

April What is the primary law of "positioning strategy" when competing with a company that is number one in your market/segment?

Never go head-to-head with an established competitor on his own turf. Instead look for another market; or re-segment your market to allow your product a leadership position; or re-position your competitor, etc.

March What is an MRS (Market Requirement Statement) and who is responsible for preparing it?

The M.R.S. (Market Requirements Statement), is the driver to better understand and quantify true market/customer technical and business needs. In addition to the typical technical specifications and business-related issues, it emphasizes product offering differentiation attributes required to be successful relative to anticipated competition. It's used as the internal company foundation/ pre-cursor document for relating key specification and product offering needs, including business requirements and expectations. As such, it is the Guide for subsequent internal product R&D, Engineering/Development specification generation, leading to a funded company program and related activity.

Credible M.R.S. generation and responsibility is essential in product marketing.

February In technical, or any type, of sales the customer often objects to the "price". What is he or she actually questioning?

A price objection is always a question of "value". As such, there is never too high a price, only too low an actual or communicated value.

January What is Moore's Law?

It was coined by Gordon Moore from Intel who said "The number of bits and gates will double every year as markets expand. " His law held true in the 60s and 70s and continues today, except that the rate of doubling has slowed more recently.