Gopal Rao at The ConFab: Scaling isn’t enough anymore

By Shannon Davis, Web Editor

The core element of the semiconductor industry’s roadmap has been scaling – but Gopal Rao believes that isn’t enough anymore.

“The roadmap has never taken into consideration what the consumers were asking for,” said Mr. Rao, on Wednesday’s closing session at The ConFab 2014.

The industry has enjoyed a stable, predictable industry for many years, as we made PCs and a lot of PCs. However, these are no longer the driving devices in the consumer market, and with different cost structures and more pressure to innovate than ever before, Mr. Rao stressed that the industry’s tendency to solely focus on scaling was no longer going to be enough to keep up with shifting consumer demands. Mr. Rao’s main charge: the industry needs to intercept consumer thought and demand and determine how it is going to impact the semiconductor industry and supply chain.

“We need to cater the roadmap to the technologies that are coming and the products that consumers want,” Mr. Rao said.

In order to adapt, Mr. Rao explained that it was imperative to integrate the entire supply chain into the roadmap if we really want to make significant strides in the manufacturability of these new products.

“We need to look at the roadmap as an ecosystem – not just materials, not just equipment, but the entire picture. We need to understand how to bring the supply chain into the picture,” Mr. Rao said.

To do this, Mr. Rao outlined the elements of effective problem solving and encouraged his audience to become masters of it. To be effective in the evolving technology landscape, Mr. Rao stressed the importance of understanding and analyzing every aspect of the supply chain, down to the smallest component, all of which contribute to defects and can no longer be ignored if quality is to be maintained.

“You need to understand to the smallest degree of your supply chain,” Mr. Rao charged ConFab’s attendees. “You need to analyze and trace the data. If you don’t do that, then the time to market and time to money are sacrificed.”

“We can’t follow Moore’s Law conveniently and forget about what’s two years down the road,” he concluded.

Gopal Rao presents at The ConFab 2014 on June 25, 2014.

Gopal Rao presents at The ConFab 2014 on June 25, 2014.

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