The microelectronics industry is experiencing tremendous growth, and lithography technology is changing at an unprecedented pace. This necessitates that equipment suppliers continually implement new ways of building employees’ technical knowledge and capabilities, as well as optimize internal operations, and provide innovative, cost-conscious support programs for customers.
Nikon recognizes that although the nature of lithography tool failures are increasingly complex, chip makers need their systems repaired and back in production as quickly as possible, with full confidence that the tools are ready to return to manufacturing. A vital aspect of delivering the best service and support to our customers has been through the development and implementation of a new, comprehensive and efficient, internal worldwide 7 day x 24 hour (WW/7x24) escalation path for resolving tool issues. To align with this WW/7x24 escalation system, the Nikon Supply Chain continuous improvement program has linked worldwide spare parts inventory data with the technical escalation. This sophisticated link provides technical teams the opportunity to optimize action plans based on location and availability of spare parts, including access to production-line inventory.
To meet the dynamic requirements of our broad customer base, Nikon also continues to innovate by adding new and specialized customer support programs to satisfy individual fab objectives. Nikon has highly skilled Field Service Engineers located throughout the world, and the industry’s most experienced Applications team dedicated to supporting an installed base of over 8000 systems. Behind this skilled front-line team, there is a well-defined support infrastructure of specialists and factory engineers that stand ready to engage as required. Recognizing that not all operations are the same, Nikon actively works with our customers to tailor programs to align with their specific operational goals. From scheduling, to dispatch, to call tracking, Nikon can manage all of the necessary logistics; and a wide range of service support/coverage plans are available. Our organization can also track and analyze the performance metrics of a fab’s unique toolset, and leverage information across our worldwide installed base to identify opportunities for improving overlay, productivity, or other customer-specific objectives. Nikon gauges our success by how well we’re supporting customers in meeting their goals.
Nikon believes that effective employee onboarding, on-going employee development, and far-reaching training initiatives are all essential pieces in enabling our company to better support customers and prepare for the particular challenges of this industry. Recognizing the dynamic markets Nikon operates in, the training team has been relentlessly working to optimize the value and efficiency of our training programs. These programs are intentionally designed to strengthen customer service and support. Additionally, Nikon recently enacted multiple talent management strategies aimed at career development, progression, and knowledge transfer. These strategies enable Nikon employees to better support our customers today, and in the years to come.
Microelectronics manufacturing is extremely competitive, and lithography performance and productivity requirements are increasingly aggressive. Nikon is committed to continuously improving our internal training and operations, as well as enhancing our customer support programs to meet the demands of this ever-changing industry.