|University||Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS)|
|Subject||BUS353: Project Management|
Case Background About Semiconductor Industry One of the competitive advantages of a nation is its technology capability which the semiconductor industry plays a crucial role. From the invention of the transistor in 1947 by AT&T’s Bell Lab in the USA, human life has been transformed tremendously in the last seventy years benefitting from the developments in semiconductor technologies. Today, billions of transistors can be packed into a thumb-sized microprocessor to provide advanced computing and mobile communication functions that improved many aspects of our life. The making of a microprocessor goes through four stages; each can function as a business:
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i. Integrated Circuit (IC) design: An IC designer develops an electronic circuit and uses software to convert the circuit into layers of overlapping path patterns of different semiconductor materials. A microprocessor, e.g., the A13 chip used in iPhone 11, is an advanced IC designed to process data at high speed.
ii. Fabrication of the IC: A fabrication company uses a Lithography machine to project the IC patterns with ultra-violate (UV) light onto a silicon disc a 12-inch in diameter. This is followed by several chemical processes to deposit different semiconductor materials onto the disc. The smaller the semiconductor path width (in nanometer, which is termed as nm process) the denser the transistors, which translates to a faster and more powerful microprocessor. To increase profitability, each silicon disc is made to accommodate hundreds of ICs. LMSA from Iceland is the leading Lithography machine supplier. Its latest machine can produce the 5nm process, although there is no live deployment yet. LMSA has a BUS353 Group-based Assignment SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES (SUSS) Page 5 of 10 regional support centers located in Science Park in Singapore. Its closest competitor, Nokcin from Japan, is falling behind with the 16nm machine.
iii. Packing of the IC: The company cuts the fabricated silicon disc into individual IC and encapsulate each of them into a raisin package with external connector pins.
iv. Testing of the IC: The company tests the functionalities of the ICs according to their specifications before the original designer can sell them to customers to be incorporated into electronic products. Traditionally, semiconductor companies, e.g., Intel from the USA and Samsung from South Korea, operate all four stages in-house.
However, due to the increased complexities of technologies and processes, specialized companies emerged to focus on each stage. These companies include
i. IC Designers: These companies are innovative at designing circuits but they do not want to invest in expensive IC fabrication plants. For example, QCom from the USA is a leader in designing advanced mobile communication microprocessors such as its Dragon series chips. These microprocessors are fabricated by their contractors. QCom then sells the Dragon chips to smartphone manufacturers, e.g., Dami and Roppo, for their phone assemblies. The latest QCom Dragon 860 uses the 7nm semiconductor process. There are many smaller IC design companies developing ICs for various applications, e.g., controllers for vehicles and consumer electronic devices. Some of them are located in Science Park in Singapore.
ii. Semiconductor fabrication plants: This industry is both capital and knowledge-intensive. The fabrication plants are expensive to build and involve several fields of technology, e.g., electronic, chemical, mechanical automation. Currently, the world’s leading semiconductor fabrication company is Champion Manufacturing Semiconductor Technology (CMST). It is the only company capable of fabricating ICs with the 7nm process. CMST’s closest competitor is ZXEC which works with the 14nm process. Hence, CMST is QCom’s sole contractor to fabricate the Dragon 860 chip.
iii. IC Packing and Testing companies: The technology used here is not as sophisticated as the prior two stages. Hence there are more players in these industries, e.g., Stat ChipPAC in Singapore whom the IC design companies can contract their packaging and testing works.
About Mobile Communication Industry
Human life has been immensely transformed by the development of Telecommunication Technology. Mobile communication has made great progress since 1984 with the sparse deployment of the slow First Generation (1G) mobile technology to the wide-spread deployment of 4G technology that enables the ubiquitous eCommerce, video conferencing, and online entertainment services. However, newer applications, such as the Driverless Car System and the Internet of Things (IoT), cannot fully rely on 4G technology.
A faster and more sophisticated mobile communication technology, commonly termed 5G technology is BUS353 Group-based Assignment SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES (SUSS) Page 6 of 10 needed. Although there is no official 5G standard being adopted, there are several variants of 5G mobile technology trials being conducted in different countries.
WeSing Technology (WST) WeSing Technologies (WST) was founded in Singapore in 1990 by an ex-Defence Science Engineer, Michael Ner.
The company’s core business is in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. WST’s vision is to bring fast digital connectivity to every person, home, and organization so as to achieve an interconnected and intelligent society. With thirty years of hard work, WST has become a world-leading ICT company. It has three main aims:
i. WST Telecom arm which develops and deploys mobile base stations for telecommunication service providers.
ii. WST Corporate arm which provides network equipment to large corporations, and
iii. WST Consumer arm which provides terminal devices, such as smartphones and computers, to consumers. WST has invested heavily in the development of ICT technology and has successfully filed many patents based on 5G technology.
Its Telecom arm is working with several telecommunication service providers to conduct local 5G mobile trials. WST has formed an IC Design Department to design its own microprocessors. One of the designs is named the Lion 9X0 chip. WST’s Consumer arm has launched a series of MX0 high-end smartphones.
Its M20 smartphone, based on the current Lion 920 chip, launched three months ago was well received in Asia. WST plans to launch the M20 smartphone in Europe soon and hopes to replicate the success of the previous M10 smartphone there. The Lion 920 chip is fabricated by CMST using 7nm processes. WST has also newly developed the M30 smartphone, based on an advanced Lion 930 chip with 5G mobile capability, which is targeted to be launched in December 2021. Ideally, the Lion 930 chip shall use a 5nm fabrication process.
The Trade Sanction The world’s superpower, ASU Company, which possesses much of the world’s technology advancements, did not prepare well for the emergence of 5G mobile technology. Its once-flourishing telecommunications companies, including the Almighty Tech and Moto Roller, which led to the introduction of 1G and 2G mobile technology, had been split up or sold off in the past ten years. ASU has accused WST of imposing a security threat to the world in its 5G mobile technology. It has rallied its allied countries not to adopt WST’s 5G mobile system. It has also demanded ASU’s leading mobile phone operating system designer, Toggle, not to license the Google Mobile Services (TMS) Apps System, which includes the apps store, GPS, email services, etc., to WST’s future smartphone models.
The sanction does not apply to WST’s products that have been licensed previously, e.g., the WST M20 phone. Using its political muscle, ASU demanded CMST to stop fabricating microprocessors for WST’s products, after a grace period of 120 days. In this grace period, CMST can supply WST with ICs for its one-year’s needs.
Section 2: Developing a Project Plan and Managing Project Risk Before the project starts, the CEO, Mr. Michael Der, briefed you on Senior Management’s expectations.
The project must start on 1 April 2021 and completed by September 2021 for the Consumer Arm to have sufficient time to test and launch the M30 5G phones before Christmas. BUS353 Group-based Assignment SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES (SUSS) Page 8 of 10 Your team then worked out the list of activities as shown below:
Table 1: Activity List for IC Fabrication Plant (IFP) Project Activity Number Task Name Duration (days) Predecessors 1 WST IC Fabrication Plant (IFP) Project 2 Project Initial Meeting 2 days 3 Customise Lithography Machine Specifications 12 days 2 4 Design gas and water systems 15 days 2 5 Purchase equipment 21 days 3,4 6 Design work processes 15 days 3 7 Apply for renovation permit 10 days 4 8 Renovate building 15 days 7 9 Install water, gas and electricity systems 15 days 8 10 Set up computer network 12 days 5,6,9 11 Set up clean room 20 days 5,10 12 Install Lithography Machine 20 days 3,5,11 13 Set up process stations 15 days 11 14 Test production 14 days 12,13 15 Train technicians 10 days 12 16 Commission Fabrication Plant 1 day 14,15 Note on the schedule:
1. The project will be carried out on weekdays which are not public holidays. You are required to do research on the official Public Holidays during the project implementation period by referring to a Singapore government website. If a Public Holiday falls on Sunday, the following Monday will be a Public Holiday. There will be no holiday-in-lieu for Public Holiday that falls on Saturday.
2. The table shows activities before grouping according to Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Activity 1 is the Level-1 Activity. The project team has decided there will be three Level-2 activities with their respective Level-3 activities grouped below:
i. Administration: Activity number 2,5,7,15,16
ii. Building Mechanical & Electrical Works: Activity number 4,8,9,10,11
iii. Semiconductor Production Process: Activity number 3,6,12,13,14 You are not required to create a separate WBS diagram. However, you need to list the activities in MS Project according to the grouping above.
BUS353 Group-based Assignment SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES (SUSS) Page 9 of 10 3.
All four project members have subordinates/partners/
There is no need to resolve role resource conflicts. You are not required to fill in the Resource Names in MS Project.
Question 2 (a) To execute the project efficiently, you are required to: Design a Gantt Chart with MS Project. The activities shall be shown in three levels. Activity 1 “WST IC Fabrication Plant (IFP) Project” shall be the Level-1 Activity. The other activities are grouped into three Level-2 groups as listed in Note 2 above. You shall refer to Textbook Chapter 4, Pg. 115, Exhibit 4.1 for a similar format. You must show the Task Name, Duration, Start Date, Finish Date, and Predecessor columns on the left of the Gantt Chart. Critical path activities shall be shown in red. Assemble the following information from the Gantt Chart:
(i) Project duration.
(ii) Completion date.
(iii) Comments on the project schedule.
Note: You are not required to resolve any schedule issues. (18 marks) Note on using MS Project for
1. You must mark in MS Project all Public Holidays and Holiday-in-lieu as Non-Working Days. (Project Change Working Time)
2. Click Project Project Information Set Start Date as directed by CEO.
3. Click View Gantt Chart Gantt Chart, then View Table Entry to enter the Task Name, Duration, Predecessors. Do not change the order of the activities yet.
Set Activity 1 as the Higher-Level Activity by highlighting all activities before and right indent them to the second level. Click the task(s) row (individually or in the group) and drag them up or down to group them into respective temporary Level 2 Activity. Then add a task (row) for the actual Level 2 Activity. Right, indent the original tasks to be Level 3 Activities.
Check each task that the duration and predecessors are the same as those in the Activity List in Table 1. Manually change the information if needed. 4. You must show the Gantt Chart on the report instead of referring the marker to an embedded file. You may do a screen capture of the MS Project view with the necessary cropping. Any answer that is not processed and presented with MS Project will result in mark reduction.
BUS353 Group-based Assignment SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES (SUSS) Page 10 of 10 (b) The project team must be proactive to prevent risks from happening and plan to manage them should the risks arise.
(i) Analyze four (4) potential risks that may happen during the IC Fabrication Plant (IFP) Project implementation period, one from each of the following categories:
You should use Table 2 to present your answers.
Table 2: Risk Analysis Item Category Description of Risk Consequence
Risk 1 Technical
Risk 2 External
Risk 3 Organisational
Risk 4 Project Management
(ii) For each of the risks raised above, examine the most appropriate risk response way followed by an effective response plan. In total, you must use three (3) or more risk response ways. Note: You are not required to do any Risk Contingency Planning.
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