Intel® Business Computing
Wacker Siltronic* Manufactures e-Business Efficiencies
German-based Wacker Siltronic* is a top supplier of silicon wafers to the chip industry, with a list of customers that reads like a Who's Who of semiconductor companies. Wacker's advanced, hyper-pure silicon wafers are a key ingredient in the recipe for semiconductor devices, and the company relies on cutting-edge facilities in Germany, the U.S. and Singapore to meet the increasing demand.
Wacker Siltronic is a business division of Wacker-Chemie*, a global company with headquarters in Munich. Wacker-Chemie's core business areas are hyper-pure silicon, polymers, silicones and materials. It has 16,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of around (deutschmark) DM$4.9 billion.
With the world's economy moving at Internet speeds, it's not enough to make your own business processes more efficient. True success requires integrating your information and services with those of your customers, making their processes more efficient too.
That's the approach Wacker Siltronic is taking to ensure its own profitabilityand that of its customers. It's stepping up its business relationships to run on Internet time, forging direct links with customers to deliver customized information, optimized data flow, and streamlined processes.
Wacker takes a broad view of e-Business. According to Dr. Peter Alexander Wacker, a member of Wacker-Chemie's Board of Directors, "Wacker is a diverse company with key customers in everything from the construction to the semi-conductor industry. e-Business isn't about IT or technology. It's about the way we will support customers and work with suppliers in the new millennium. It's about business."
Michael Splinter, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group, lay down a challenge at Intel's 1999 Supplier Day. Focusing on the importance of an optimized supply chain, he stressed the need to shrink the information and materials supply chain and cut costs.
Wacker took Intel up on the challenge, and the two companies initiated a pilot project that targeted electronic processes for invoicing, purchase orders, notification of advanced shipment, and supplier administration. The companies set aggressive deadlines and met them, with the electronic invoice and purchase order modules in production by December 1999, electronic advanced ship notification in January 2000, and the supplier administration platform implemented later in 2000.
Since Wacker had extensive experience with EDI*, the companies decided to use EDI for its initial data transmission technology. Wacker selected GE Information Systems* (GEIS), a global international EDI leader, to manage its EDI transactions. The next phase of the project is to migrate to solutions based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML), to improve speed and lower costs. Wacker has decided to adopt the BDE* file transfer software, believing it to be the most secure and reliable solution of its kind.
To support the e-Business services, Wacker chose servers based on Intel® Pentium® III Xeon" processors. This decision brought them three key benefits, according to company representatives:
- Flexibility. Internet technology and open, industry-standard building blocks allow flexible integration with other Web-based solutions. This enhances the quality of service for existing and future customers by putting data where it belongs, in the hands of customers as well as suppliers, and enabling a more dynamic environment.
- Investment protection. Intel® Architecture-based servers, along with standard operating software and applications from companies such as Microsoft*, give Wacker a future-proof system that it can upgrade and enhance as technology advances. There is no risk of being locked in to a proprietary platform without a development path.
- Price/performance. After evaluating alternative solutions, Wacker decided the Intel Architecture-based platform provided the best power and functionality at the lowest cost. This decision has been vindicated now that the system is up and running. Performance levels have exceeded expectations.
Wacker-Chemie also re-engineered its corporate Web site, www.wacker.com, to enhance the consumer-oriented functions and provide protected access to key accounts.
Wacker has seen benefits both within its corporate walls and with its supply chain partners. Non-value-added work has been significantly reduced, while speed and efficiency have improved. Quality improved because the elimination of manual systems reduced the potential for errors and inaccuracies. Costs have been cut through inventory reductions and tighter schedules.
More important, the company has made itself even more attractive to do business with. It can deliver the critical product and orders its customers need, when and where they need them, and do it faster, more efficiently and with fewer errors. These moves increase customer loyalty and offer Wacker Siltronic and its supply chain partners a crucial advantage in the fiercely competitive semiconductor industry.
By focusing on customer-centric e-Business relationships with its key clients and suppliers, Wacker is promoting its own continued profitability and that of its customers. It's creating a supply chain that moves Wacker and its customers closer together, with old boundaries erased and new values added. In the words of Markus Langgartner, global manager for Data and Document Management and e-Business project leader at Wacker Siltronic, "Not only will the success of the project change the way Intel and Wacker do business with each other, it will be a benchmark for other e-Business projects of Wacker and its business partners."