Technologies Garners Semiconductor Award
S. McVey - October
Semiconductor International, a leading technical publication covering the semiconductor
industry, awarded top honors to i2 Technologies for its Rhythm suite of semiconductor
template solutions. The award is part of Semiconductor International's 1999
Editor's Choice Best Product Awards Program that recognizes superior performance
of equipment, materials and software that have advanced the progress and conditions
of the semiconductor industry. Winners are selected based on materials submitted
from both users and creators of the technology.
International's Best Product Award is the latest in a series of accolades for
i2 and reflects the Dallas-based vendor's leadership in the semiconductor solution
marketplace. Built on years of project experience in working with semiconductor
manufacturers, i2's template offers solutions to the unique challenges they
face, including chronic capacity shortages, forecasting difficulties, and high
inventories. In addition to providing data-ready modeling constructs for representing
aspects of wafer fabs, assembly-test facilities, and distribution centers, the
template links to an optimization engine that addresses simultaneous material
and capacity constraints. Several high profile clients deserve a large measure
of credit for i2's recent honor, including Samsung, Toshiba, Texas Instruments,
and Motorola. i2 updates and improves its template with each successive implementation,
in which clients benefit from lessons learned in past engagements, while contributing
experience to the next version of the template.
Though i2 enjoys
a comfortable lead in the semiconductor market, other vendors are looking for
ways to narrow the gap, though most of these attempts have fallen flat. In June
1998, Manugistics Group acquired Tyecin Systems, adding a customer base of over
350 companies, including 8 of the top 10 semiconductor manufacturers. However,
its declining financial situation prevented Manugistics from successfully completing
the planned integration of Tyecin's semiconductor software capabilities into
its product suite. Likewise, little has been heard of Chesapeake Decision Sciences'
semiconductor template solution since it became a division of Aspen Technology
in May 1998. Given i2's strong head start, it is unlikely that competitors will
wrest significant market share within the next 2-3 years. Vendors can improve
their chances by offering price breaks to customers, a strategy that will enhance
their semiconductor-specific functionality in the long term through collaboration.
The best industry
templates are founded on implementation experience and address business processes
unique to the given industry. Due to i2's vast experience with semiconductor
manufacturers, its template offers manufacturers the best chance for success.
However, prospective clients need to be wary of extravagant claims of quick
implementations from pre-sales consultants. The best that manufacturers can
hope for is a quicker implementation, assuming business requirements do not
entail large deviations from template capabilities. No template provides features
able to address every nuance of real business processes and organizational infrastructure.
Users should fully assess their requirements before negotiating a contract and
seek price advantages where key needs fall outside the capabilities of the template.
Also, users should not be mislead in thinking that the Rhythm Semiconductor
Template resides in a single, discrete software module. Depending on the scope
of the implementation, the template may span multiple products, such as Demand
Planner, Factory Planner, and Supply Chain Planner, each involving additional