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Chip maker sees speedy return on consolidation

Antony Adshead
Silicon chip manufacturer National Semiconductor is about to start the last stage of a project to consolidate 200 enterprise systems to three core applications.

The £12m migration project will see National Semiconductor centralise on IFS systems for manufacturing and procurement, i2 for corporate-level planning and SAP for financials at its six manufacturing sites in the US, Scotland, Malaysia, Singapore and China.

National Semiconductor's chief information officer Ulrich Seif said, "Each site used to work as an autonomous body, with some factories having different versions of the same software.

"We had a mixture of legacy and more modern applications, but even where the systems were modern, in-house modifications had made it impossible to have any kind of visibility across them."

The board demanded fast return on investment on the project, he said, and enforced the buy-in of local executives by insisting they specified exactly how they would meet return on investment targets.

The result has been a rapid improvement in productivity, said Ulrich.

"Within the first six months, maintenance and labour costs have been reduced, we have experienced savings in materials management, and cycle time has been significantly improved," he said.

"And all implementations now have met our requirement of six-month implementation and 18-month return on investment."

The new systems run on a variety of platforms: IFS runs on Sun Solaris, SAP on HP-UX and i2 on IBM's AIX.

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