The Client: One of the largest and most well-known semiconductor companies

Overview

Fairchild (NYSE:FCS) is one of the largest and most well-known semiconductor companies focused solely on high performance multi-market products. Its products are the building block components for virtually all electronic devices, from sophisticated computers and Internet hardware to telecommunication equipment to household appliances. Approximately 10,000 Fairchild products are sold to over 50,000 OEM and channel customers worldwide. In turn, Fairchild products reach millions of end-consumers.

OEM and channel relationships in the high-tech industry are built on strategic commitments around product design and quality. Given the complex nature of semiconductor manufacturing and the varied scenarios in which they are used, Fairchild works closely with its customers to ensure responsiveness to and alignment with customer needs. Handling and resolving product quality issues reported by customers in a consistent and predictable manner is key to customer retention. In addition, proactive communication of product changes, obsolescence, alerts and recalls to affected customers is critical to ensuring customer loyalty while reducing product liability and risk. 

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Solution

After extensive evaluation of various quality management solutions on the market, Fairchild selected MetricStream. The key driver for choosing MetricStream was the unique combination of its broad-based Enterprise Compliance Platform and specific functional modules that support individual quality processes that tie together to unify the enterprise-wide quality operation. "We wanted a company-wide system that could provide a 'foundation' for our closed-loop quality initiatives. MetricStream's platform provides this strategic foundation while providing specific solutions that enable Fairchild to achieve our near-term quality improvement objectives", says Mark Rioux, Vice President of Global Quality & Reliability at Fairchild. "After a thorough analysis, we selected MetricStream. We felt that it will provide us a functionally rich solution at a cost-of-ownership that was clearly superior to other alternatives".

MetricStream's Customer Issue Management module allows Fairchild customer support engineers to carry out investigation and tracking of customer-reported quality issues including containment, failure analysis and corrective actions. The system can track the manufacturing history of failed components and enable engineers to get to the root-cause of the problems. Company wide standardization of failure codes ensures consistency across all sites and drives trend analysis. One of the most time-consuming and labor intensive task was consolidating all the analysis and investigative information and reporting to the customers for their final approval and case closure. With the MetricStream solution's powerful reporting engine, these reports can now be generated at the click of the button. All relevant data is pulled from various stages of the process and a document is created in Microsoft Word using a desired template and format applicable to a particular customer.

MetricStream's Change Notification module has enabled Fairchild to standardize and automate the processes for initiating and communicating product changes to enable systematic decision-making and timely communication to all affected customers as well as internal groups. The module covers product changes as well as product obsolescence.

MetricStream's Document Management module is at the core of Fairchild's quality management system, enabling an electronic and automated approach to managing control documents across the enterprise. It integrates with the central repository of documents and provides tools for collaboration and workflow management. It has accelerated review and approval cycles as documents automatically moving from one stage to the next as per the prescribed lifecycle. The solution facilitates communication and teamwork across departments and functional areas reducing the cycle-times significantly.

The underlying infrastructure for all the applications is the robust MetricStream Enterprise Compliance Platform. Deployed in a clustered environment to provide 24x7 availability, the system supports 15 sites across 8 countries and over 2000 users. The platform provides core services and capabilities such as automatic email notifications and alerts, roles-based information routing, real-time analysis of data on reports and dashboards, and ability to slice-and-dice statistics by a variety of parameters such as product lines, sites, and customers.

MetricStream worked very closely with our quality and reliability organization to develop these applications," says Mark Rioux. "We believe that these modules capture the best practices in customer quality management in the industry today".

Challenges

Being a pioneer in semiconductor manufacturing, Fairchild has established quality management processes that are seen as the best practices in the industry. But as these have developed over decades during which Fairchild operations have spread worldwide and into a variety of product categories, the challenge faced by the company was ensuring adoption of these quality management processes across sites and product lines consistently and efficiently.

For instance, Fairchild has in place an elaborate procedure to log customer quality cases and take them through a complete cycle of investigative and resolution steps and, finally, close the loop by sending a comprehensive report to the customer in a prescribed format. An internal system that was combination on homegrown or desktop applications and manual processes could handle this to a certain level. But as the number and complexity of products grew, operations became globally distributed, and customers started demanding quicker turn-around on issues, the internal system just did not offer the flexibility and power Fairchild needed to stay ahead in the competitive environment.

Limited reporting and data analytics, lack of collaboration between teams at different sites, manual and inefficient follow-up on action items, time-consuming data gathering for customer reports, poor integration between applications, and constraints around system configuration were issue that Fairchild wanted to resolve by deploying an integrated customer quality management solution to streamline and modernize its global quality and reliability operation.

Why MetricStream was Selected?

Robust Enterprise Compliance Platform with a broad set of functional modules that serves as the foundation for the company's quality and compliance needs

Ability to configure off-the-shelf modules to adapt to best practices followed in the company

Powerful reporting for internal data analysis as well as customer reporting

Multi-site web-based access with collaboration tools to support teamwork

Low total-cost-of-ownership

Benefits

  • Efficiency:
    The average issue resolution time for customer quality issue has gone down substantially as the automated workflows take cases through the investigation and closure process without delays. Email notifications, task list, and case status reports on the users' homepage keeps pending tasks on top of the mind improving responsiveness and proactive participation.
  • Visibility:
    With MetricStream, Fairchild and its customers have complete visibility into quality issues as well as upcoming products changes in real-time and across the global enterprise. This transparency has made customer quality management a predictable process while improving customer satisfaction and lowering product liability.
  • Data-driven:
    Access to global data and the ability to analyze this data in real-time is allowing Fairchild to monitor process performance metrics that provide a sound basis for ongoing continuous improvement. Quality issues are now proactively identified, tracked and resolved and decisions are based on hard facts and metrics. The powerful analytics and reporting capability with graphical dashboards allows managers to adopt a data-driven approach to quality management.

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