Program History:

The CSM program brings together faculty and students from Berkeley's College of Engineering, Haas School of Business, and Department of Economics in a continuing program addressing key aspects of semiconductor manufacturing. The program was established in 1991 by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It has received continuing support from the Sloan Foundation and additional support from the semiconductor industry in the U.S. and Asia. The program has several elements:

  • Comparative studies of the world's best semiconductor plants to identify world-class managerial, organizational, technical, and human resource practices.
  • Specific research projects focused on improving key semiconductor manufacturing processes and related business and management practices. These typically provide the basis for master's theses and doctoral dissertations in engineering, business, and economics. Fifteen doctoral degrees have been completed.
  • A dissemination program that has produced 52 RESEARCH REPORTS, a similar number of conference presentations and archival publications, and three professional short courses targeted at managers and engineers in the semiconductor industry.

The goal of the main comparative study, begun in 1992, is to develop a systematic account of the practices which explain best manufacturing performance in semiconductor production on a world-wide basis. The effort has established comparative benchmarks and performed comparative evaluation along dimensions of technology, business practices, and business environment.

More than 30 semiconductor wafer fabrication sites (fabs) have been evaluated over the past 5 years. Sites are selected by our research team based upon a firm's willingness to participate and on our judgment of their effective manufacturing performance. Detailed quantitative data on production equipment and processes, staffing, production volumes, and yield of salable product is collected using a 100 page questionnaire and collected in an SQL database. We collect time-series data over 3 or 4 year intervals in order to track progress in factory productivity. Data is reported only in anonymous or aggregated forms to protect confidential information. We give participating fabs detailed reports on their comparative performance on each quantitative metric.

Today there is considerable uniformity around the world in specific manufacturing equipment and processes. Many semiconductor products are commodities in the sense that fully equivalent products are available from several or many manufacturers. Despite the many similarities, we observe large site to site variations in all measures of productivity.

Following return of a completed questionnaire, a team of 6-8 faculty and student researchers visit each site for 2 days. Interpreters are included when needed. The team interviews personnel, separately at each level from production operator to site manager, in an effort to understand the practices and systems that underlie best performance.

CSM Personnel:



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Research Reports:


Other On-line CSM Resources:

  • Metric Scores for ten CSM participant fabrication plants during the period 1996-2000  (.doc, 3.3MB)
  • Executive Summary for Final Report on Findings from Benchmarking Eight-inch, sub-350nm Wafer Fabrication Lines   (.pdf, 15K)
  • New Benchmarking Results presented at the "Brooks Automation Seminars" Spring 2000. Includes latest graphs of comparative performance by region in (.pdf, 132 K).
  • Slides for a summary presentation on benchmarking results (.html, 6.8 MB, incremental transfer, indexed)
  • Same Slides for a summary presentation of benchmarking results (.pdf, 0.85 MB in one file, no index)
  • Benchmarking Semiconductor Manufacturing, paper from IEEE Trans. on Semiconductor Manufacturing, May 1996 (1.6 MB Adobe .pdf). Copyright 1996, IEEE.  Includes data from 16 fabs, 1992-94.
  • Benchmarking Semiconductor Manufacturing, a paper presented at the International Reliability Workshop, October 1997 (35 KB Adobe .pdf).  Includes summary data from 28 fabs, 1992-96.
  • Spreadsheet list of major international semiconductor manufacturing partnership and alliances, 1989-96.
  • Fab Economics Models. Excel Workbook to compute fab expenses and foregone revenues as functions of scores for CSM technical performance metrics. Costs are expressed on a per wafer basis.

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Last updated 03/05/2007 by David Hodges