A two-stage stochastic programming approach for new tape-out allocation decisions for demand fulfillment planning in semiconductor manufacturing

Chien, Chen-Fu; Wu, Jei-Zheng; Wu, Chien-Cheng
September 2013
Flexible Services & Manufacturing Journal;Sep2013, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p286
Academic Journal
Demand fulfillment and capacity utilization directly affects customer satisfaction, market growth, and the profitability of the company in the semiconductor industry. These characteristics boost the significance of allocating various customer demands to a number of wafer fabrication facilities (fabs) with different capacity configurations. Before volume production, the introduction of new semiconductor product, namely new tape-out (NTO), requires extremely sophisticated and lengthy qualification with high-cost masks and pilot runs in the qualified fabs. Thus, the NTO allocation will affect future product mix of the qualified fabs, and the flexibility to fulfill the volume demands of the allocated NTOs in the corresponding fabs. This research aims to construct a two-stage stochastic programming (2-SSP) demand fulfillment model. The first stage considers NTO allocation decisions to a number of qualified fabs before the corresponding demand volume is realized. The second stage allocates the capacity to fulfill demand requirements based on the results of four options of capacity reconfiguration: (1) qualifying a product to more than one fab (share); (2) physically transferring a set of masks for a product from one fab to another, where a requalification is required (transfer); (3) moving tools from under-loaded fabs to over-utilized fabs (backup); and (4) utilizing different technologies to capacity inside a fab to support the technology with insufficient capacities (exchange). Both the share and transfer options require long lead time for qualification, whereas the backup and exchange options can be accomplished within a planned timeframe. A numerical study based on real settings is conducted to estimate the validity of the proposed 2-SSP model via values of stochastic solution (VSS) and expected values of perfect information (EVPI). The results showed the benefits of adopting 2-SSP models, especially in an environment with high-demand fluctuation. Furthermore, the proposed 2-SSP can provide near-optimal solutions similar to those of deterministic models with perfect information.


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