Supply Chain Goes Automatic

Custom chipmaker turns to Oracle's E-business suite so customers get real-time status
The chip outsourcing market is growing, and customers don't want to wait long for their specialized chips. Both factors played into eSilicon Corp.'s decision to improve the processes for collecting data from its partners. In the next few weeks, the custom chipmaker, which doesn't have its own manufacturing plant, expects to process orders for two of its customers using a fully automated supply chain.


Customers now can have great visibility, eSilicon CIO Ensell says.
ESilicon, which uses outsourced foundries for chip fabrication and test and assembly companies, manages the production of chips from design through manufacturing to packaging and delivery. The company recently implemented several Oracle E-Business Suite applications, including Oracle Shop Floor Management and Oracle Financials, to smooth the process. The Oracle applications are integrated with eSilicon's Access portal, which customers use to get a real-time and historical perspective of their chips' development and manufacturing status, as well as billing information.

"Our customers are seeing where the chips are at any given point in the process," says Jim Ensell, VP of business development and CIO at the company. "With such an early-alert mechanism, nothing is festering days or weeks at a time."

ESilicon's IT team worked with the company's program-management, supply-chain, order-management, and finance personnel to develop adapters that regularly collect data from supply-chain partners such as Agilent Technologies, inSilicon, and TSMC. Data is fed into the Oracle apps and then presented to eSilicon Access. The data feeds occur multiple times a day, Ensell says.

The Oracle applications will help eSilicon scale to meet growing chip outsourcing demands. "The complexity in integrated circuits has grown so rapidly that the need for specialization is increasing," he says. "That's what's driving outsourcing." Ensell says eSilicon's annual projected growth exceeds 200%.

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