Making a $200 million bet on the semiconductor business
Vivek Jain, senior vice president of manufacturing operations for Maxim Integrated Products, talks about the company's decision to expand its plants.
In the highly competitive global semiconductor business, Maxim Integrated Products Inc. made a big bet on American manufacturing by investing $200 million to expand its plants in Beaverton, Ore.; Dallas; San Antonio; and its home office in San Jose, Calif. Vivek Jain, senior vice president of manufacturing operations for Maxim, talks about that investment and its impact on overall business.
PE: Why is this the right time for Maxim to invest in these facilities?
Jain: This current investment allows us to bring the latest mixed-signal analog process technologies to each of our U.S. factories. This investment will improve our ability to meet customer demand for highly integrated products.
PE: Maxim’s chip manufacturing business is highly competitive worldwide. How will these expansions help you maintain a competitive edge?
Jain: We have cost-competitive manufacturing in the U.S. This investment continues to give us geographical diversity, guarantee long-term supply to our loyal customers, and protect critical intellectual property. These vectors help us maintain a competitive edge.
PE: You’ve also embarked on an aggressive energy management campaign. Talk about your goals for that program, and why energy management is such an important part of your manufacturing strategy.
Jain: Natural resources are precious and limited. Cost of energy has been steadily going up. Through conservation we help the environment as well as keep cost in check. As you know, we have been recognized by many agencies on our conservation efforts for energy and water usage.
PE: One key issue our readers face is workforce development. How to do you find, train, and retain workers in this field?
Jain: Despite a shrinking number of companies doing manufacturing in the U.S., there is still a tremendous talent base for semiconductor technology development and manufacturing here. One competitive edge we enjoy is directly the result of being able to supply this talent with the opportunity to work on leading-edge mixed-signal analog technologies. We empower our employees to reach higher and be the difference. A combination of opportunity and employee empowerment provides high retention.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.