A “wafer fab” or wafer fabrication facility is the factory where silicon, the basic element in sand, is manufactured into integrated circuits. The process is truly an incredible engineering feat. These facilities cost over $1 billion to build and the knowledge in this area literally increases every day. When you hear about computer chips becoming obsolete in a matter of months, it’s because at the wafer fab, they managed to yet again increase the number of components on each chip. Wafer fab management is all about reducing cycle times and increasing tool utilization. Typical business goals include improving line yield, reducing carrying costs, decreasing risk of obsolete inventory, increasing revenue by shortening time to market, etc.
Enterprise dashboard technology is a natural for this industry and is being used in performance dashboards and optimization dashboards.
Here is a screenshot of a cycle time management dashboard for a wafer fab. This series of graphs show KPIs critical to cycle time optimization. The underlying dashboard product is from fabtime.com. They have extensive resources discussing the optimization of wafer fabrication and the use of KPI charts and dashboards to drill down to problem areas.
Homework: Of course, we all know Moore’s Law but did you know that Gordon Moore is truly a warm and funny man? For a great discussion with him, please see this video. Fast forward to the interview itself and start at minute 19 to hear Gordon talk about his love for chemistry. He goes on to recount the early days of silicon technology. At minute 1:08, he discusses his first fab.
Update: Every once in a while, there is a debate about whether or not Moore’s Law will continue to hold up in the future. There is always the speculation that a ceiling is approaching, etc. Today (9/18/06), the New York Times ran the article entitled “A Chip That Can Transfer Data Using Laser Light” in which the following is stated:
The advance will make it possible to use laser light rather than wires to send data between chips, removing the most significant bottleneck in computer design. As a result, chip makers may be able to put the high-speed data communications industry on the same curve of increased processing speed and diminishing costs — the phenomenon known as Moore’s law — that has driven the computer industry for the last four decades. The development is a result of research at Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Commercializing the new technology may not happen before the end of the decade, but the prospect of being able to place hundreds or thousands of data-carrying light beams on standard industry chips is certain to shake up both the communications and computer industries.
So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books on business dashboards.
PS: If you find yourself part of an enterprise dashboard effort, you must study Enterprise Dashboards: Design and Best Practices for IT, the only book on actually implementing enterprise dashboards.