#149: The Evolving Supply Chains of Semiconductors

#149: Diversifying Supply Chain for the Semiconductor Industry Featured Image

Vijayan Chinnasami is the Chief Operations Officer of Ultra Clean Technology (UCT). UCT is one of the leaders and providers of products and services for the semiconductor industry. They are the ones that make the tools that make the semiconductors. An extremely essential key point in this extremely valuable industry that we’ve read about and seen so much in the news lately.

Vijayan is a seasoned professional within operations and supply chain and manages roughly 29 plants in UCT. Within his career, he’s done a lot of different things. He started from an industrial engineering background and ended up in operations then general management positions running full P&Ls. He also worked for some large companies like Ericsson, Jabil, and Flextronics.

Listen to the full discussion here:

  • Stream by clicking here.
  • Download as an MP3 here.



Connect with the Guest:

Vijayan Chinnasami: LinkedIn

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Inflection points in Vijayan’s career – expanding portfolio and exposure and avoiding boredom
  • UCT’s growth journey for the last three years and principles for building relationships with suppliers.
  • The importance of transparency in the supply chain
  • Diversifying the supply chain and investing in Business Continuity Plans 
  • Getting people excited to join the company 
  • Supply chain as a business enabler

Show notes:

  • [01:31] What are some of the key inflection points in your career that have shaped you?
  • [03:18] “Not accepting the status quo and always looking to expand my portfolio and expand my exposures has been something that I’ve always wanted to do and something that has driven me all this time.”
  • [04:00] As the COO, tell us about your journey of growth in the last three years.
  • [07:23] What are some of the principles that you apply in building relationships with suppliers that enabled you to scale up so quickly? 
  • [09:49] “You want to make sure that your suppliers are not solely dedicated to you. They should have the flexibility to grow their business because they are also running a business and they also need to survive.”
  • [12:30] “I think transparency is going to be really important. You cannot let people second guess, because if you let people second guess then the trust is gone.” 
  • [13:10] How do you deal with risks and the reshuffling of your supply chain network? What are some principles that keep it in check, healthy, and efficient?
  • [14:41] “We started to diversify our supply base. For example, wherever we have a single source supply base in China, we created a BCP in Southeast Asia. In that way, we have two supply bases.”
  • [16:30] “The pandemic sort of opened up our eyes in terms of how resilience and scalability of supply base need to be both for manufacturing and supply chain.”
  • [17:35] On the topic of people, how do you fix that? Or is there a way to fix it? How do you address the challenges within it?
  • [19:38] “Getting people excited about joining the company is one of the areas that we continue to address and also the global footprint that helped in terms of how we can mitigate some of the shortages in one location versus the other location.”
  • [20:44] What’s keeping you up at night? Looking into the next few years, what are some of the key points that you’re focused on? 
  • [23:13] “Sometimes when we talk about supplies, we only talk about Tier 1, but there are multiple sub-tier suppliers that can also become a bottleneck for you. Right. So, you need to start engaging these suppliers and try to understand what the bottleneck is and what you need to do to be prepared for it ahead of time.”
  • [24:39] If you look at your operations inside UCT, what would be one area that you would want to improve?
  • [26:30 ] “I think one area that we’re working on right now is to try and integrate digitalization so that we get better visibility. Another is building that trust in the supply chain and getting much more coordinated with our suppliers. That’s one area that will help us big time.”
  • [28:04] How would you see the role of supply chain evolving as a strategic business enabler?
  • [29:06] “80% of what we do is materials and if you don’t invest in that area, you just don’t understand what it means. So we are investing and we are escalating the role to be more prominent, especially on where we should invest.”
  • [31:16] If you were to give some pieces of advice to somebody that’s graduating now and looking to build a successful career like yours in operations and supply chain, what would it be?
  • [32:28] “Many times people come to me and say, “Please tell me how to plan my career.” which is okay, but don’t make that a selfish objective. Make it all about the team, your boss, and the company as a priority. I always use that as my principle and it’s always worked out.”

Quotes from the Episode:

About the Host:

The host, Radu Palamariu is the co-author of “From Source to Sold – Stories of Leadership in Supply Chain”. He has been named one of the top 3 Global Supply Chain Influencers on LinkedIn and was featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, WEF, Bangkok Post, and MIT Supply Chain Talent magazine. Radu invites executives to share stories and perspectives around technology, logistics, e-commerce, supply chain, and manufacturing, and their views on how the future will look.

Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.

The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.

Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.

We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.

Related Episodes:

#146: Reinventing Supply Chain Through Data and Automation

#147: AI versus Soft Skills in the Era of Digitalization

#148: Hospitals and Supply Chain




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