• Joe Rizzo. Director of the New England Lean

RECAP: Lean Leaders Meeting at Applied Materials

The New England Lean Consortium held its September Lean Leader Meeting at Applied Materials in Gloucester, MA on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. From the Applied Materials website: “We are the leader in materials engineering solutions used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world.

Our expertise in modifying materials at atomic levels and on an industrial scale enables customers to transform possibilities into reality. At Applied Materials, our innovations make possible the technology shaping the future.”

The Gloucester facility, formerly Varian Semiconductor, designs and manufactures ion implantation equipment. A silicon wafer is a non conducting material. Applied Materials makes equipment that bombards the silicon wafer with ions, to make it a “semiconductor”. Applied's leadership in delivering atomic-level precision on an industrial scale helps their customers get to market sooner and generate the most value from their products.

The attendees were given a brief history of the company and a presentation on the very sophisticated and highly technical products that Applied Materials manufacture in Gloucester, by Tom Faulkner, Managing Director, Operations. There was great interest in Tom’s presentation and many questions were asked.

Jane Mosco, Continuous Improvement Manager, followed Tom with a presentation on Applied Material’s Lean Journey. Jane also articulated Applied’s Continuous Improvement Strategic Plan which has a strong focus on continuous improvement culture.

Goals of Applied’s Strategic Plan

  • Daily continuous improvement with understood visual goals and status

  • Engaged and empowered employees

  • Consistent problem-solving methods and tools

Applied’s Strategic Plan Deployment

  • Steering Committee formed and active

  • Eight members

  • Weekly meetings

  • Recognition program

  • CI Subcommittees formed

  • Platform for Continuous Improvement

  • Training and Certification

  • Measurements and Scoreboards

  • Visual Work Aids and 6S

The attendees were also given an extensive plant tour where they saw many applications of Lean including: great Visuality, 6S, Flow, Point of Use Storage, Cell Design, Gemba Boards, Information Boards, and some unique and innovative applications, some of which are shown below.

Communication Board Notice the Category “Morale”

Flight Board A gravity fed scheduling system indicating the priority of work to be performed in the respective work areas

POUS for Safety Labels Tilt out bins for the POUS of Safety Labels in multiple languages.

Shadow Board

This board is typical of many boards throughout the work areas.

Training Matrix One of the keys to Applied Materials 100% on-time delivery performance is the workforce flexibility which allows them to assign trained people in any of the work areas to get the work out on time.

The Green Mile This is the pedestrian walkway which guides people safely through the manufacturing area