X-FAB – Mixed-Signal Foundry Experts

X-FAB is the world’s largest analog/mixed signal foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs), offering a manufacturing capacity of approximately 1.2million 200mm-equivalent wafers per year and employs approximately 3,800 employees worldwide. At its six manufacturing sites in Germany, France, Malaysia and the U.S., X-FAB manufacturers wafers on modular CMOS and BiCMOS processes with technologies ranging from 1.0 to 0.13µm, and special BCD, SOI and MEMS long-lifetime processes.

The Challenge

In 2015, Leadership Resources (the representative for Franklin Covey) began on a journey with X-FAB Sarawak to facilitate a transformational process that would bring to life the organization’s Vision, Mission and Values. The process started with creating awareness among employees that leadership starts with oneself; that one’s ability to lead others is predicated by how effectively we can lead ourselves. A key outcome was then the empowerment of managers and leaders to be the role models of the organization’s Values. Finally, there was also a need to sharpen the organization’s focus on “Customer Orientation” by creating a Win-Win culture with both internal and external stakeholders. The pursuit of these outcomes will enable X-FAB Sarawak to build a great organization that produces sustainable growth that ultimately leads to the achievement of the corporate vision: “To be the Foundry of Choice in the Analog world”.

The Partnership

With those objectives in mind, X-FAB Sarawak engaged Leadership Resources (the licensee for Franklin Covey in Malaysia, Brunei and Myanmar) to deliver Franklin Covey’s award-winning leadership development solutions, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “Leadership: Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results”.

A total of 120 employees (Principal Engineers, Managers, Senior Managers) attended the workshops, and implemented the cutting edge skills and tools presented through a pre-defined post-workshop implementation contracts.

The implementation contracts are geared to helping leaders focus on the tasks and practices that would give the highest leverage in helping them to positively impact their most important stakeholders and predictably lead to the achievement of their highest priorities.

The Result

In recent months, a project team successfully worked towards achieving a major breakthrough to dramatically increase X-FAB’s manufacturing yield. To produce this dramatic result, the project team had to overcome a significant manufacturing and technical challenge within a very short timeframe of six months. This was an unprecedented achievement for the company. It started with an urgent need to meet increasing customer demands. X-FAB needed a solution to quickly ramp-up production. Through collaboration with another manufacturing business partner, they were able to produce a dramatic improvement in “sort-yield”, from 65% to 95%. Especially noteworthy is the fact that this increased yield has been maintained consistently at a healthy level of 95% since. This result represents not only a major milestone for the organization, but also significantly increased customer confidence in X-FAB’s ability to meet their demands. On top of improved customer loyalty, this major breakthrough has generated a substantial and positive financial impact to the bottom line.

The Project Team Leader, Ms. Chai Sian Han, attributed the success of the project to her team members. This was achieved through the strong commitment, hard work and unleashing of the talent of team members (Imperative 4: Unleash Talent). In helping each other to stay focused on the unique contributions they can make, to always strive for Win-Win outcomes with team members and business partners, and constantly clearing each other’s paths, they were able to overcome many challenges that surfaced along the way and moved the project inexorably forward to stellar results.

The project team had recognized early on the need to establish a collaborative and synergistic relationship with a key client, a key business partner in manufacturing. Initially, there were many challenges as both organizations worked together to clarify purpose and align systems towards achieving common goals and objectives (Imperative 2: Clarify Purpose, Imperative 3: Align Systems and Habit 6: Synergize). According to Sian Han, the breakthrough came when project team members started to adopt a Win-Win mindset (Habit 4: Think Win-Win) and worked hard at understanding the differing viewpoints (Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood and Habit 6: Synergize). Soon, a spirit of creative-co-operation emerged as both parties felt understood and respected; paving the way towards the creation of a truly synergistic outcome. Even though the goal was changed along the way several times due to increasing customer demands, project team members were able to respond quickly as the firm foundation of trust had been built over time with their business partner (Imperative 1: Inspire Trust and Emotional Bank Account).

Sustainable Change

X-FAB has also seen positive behavioral changes in their people. Leaders are now more conscious in aligning their teams toward the organization’s Vision, Mission and Values. Communication and staff engagement has improved. Within teams, leaders now volunteer to take on the role as “Values Promoters” to ensure that people are living the Values of the company and that application of what they have learned through the Franklin Covey solutions are cascaded to the entire organization. They have also seen evidence of overall improvements when comparing the pre-training 360 assessments with similar post training measures.

At a personal level, Sian Ha, a loving mother and wife, have reported that she is now better able to balance the demands of work and the needs of a young family. She credits “The 7 Habits” with helping her build the tenacity and inner strength to stay focused on the things that matter most to her every day. In her own words, she said “Defining my mission statement (Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind) and planning my week (Habit 3: Put First Things First) has made the biggest difference for me.”

X-FAB continues to champion a strong learning culture and continuously focuses on investing in its human capital. Leaders are engaged and adopt learning and teaching mindset. This sets the tone for the rest of the workforce and provides an excellent platform for building a great team of talented and engaged employees.