Global automotive semiconductor supply chain faces change

As the electronics industry gradually recovers from the severe decline of the past few years, more and more customers demand that semiconductor suppliers provide technologies and products that can strengthen their own competitive advantages. In order to succeed in capturing the recovery opportunity in such an environment, semiconductor suppliers must now address some key challenges:

* Suppliers must clearly define their competitive advantages and value propositions and determine why it is the best choice compared to their competitors.

* Suppliers must work more closely with customers on design and solutions than ever before.

* Suppliers must provide consistent product delivery and support on a global basis.

Defining a Global Core Value Proposition Perhaps the most fundamental challenge for any successful semiconductor supplier is to define its competitive advantage and its core value proposition. Value can be defined as a specific technology, application expertise, or support service. For most global suppliers, value is a combination of three functionalities, including added functionality for local design and support services; support services; and state-of-the-art manufacturing services. Regardless of its form, value must be at the heart of a successful semiconductor business model.

For example, consumer electronics manufacturers, including mobile device manufacturers, are looking for energy-efficient semiconductor products, the smallest number of pin-outs, or the smallest form factor to save cost and power consumption, and reduce the final product total. cost. On the Other hand, providers of telecommunications and network system solutions require optimal performance and advanced product design in order to push their systems to the most advanced customer market. Semiconductor companies must try to provide the value that these customers demand.

At the same time, time is a key. As the life cycle of the end product is shortened from several years to several months, the pressure of time-to-market forces semiconductor suppliers to provide ICs that can be successfully developed and manufactured once.

The second challenge to working closely with customers on design and solutions is that semiconductor suppliers must work more closely with customers. In the automotive, consumer electronics and consumer products sectors, product design increasingly requires highly collaborative operations. Semiconductor vendors must work with ODMs in Asia to jointly develop and deliver more innovative, advanced mobile or wireless solutions.

The most important of these are software or IP partners. Take Fujitsu as an example. We once worked with BMW and INOVA Semiconductor to integrate the Automotive Pixel Link (APIX, a bidirectional serial link) and Fujitsu's Graphic Display Controller (GDC). This cooperation enables BMW to reduce the space requirements behind the dashboard, develop a more modular architecture, and save costs.

BMW has been involved in this project from the very beginning to ensure stable development and to ensure that the company's concerns are addressed, including weight and cabling, interoperability and other bus standards.

APIX's main features include a high 1Gb/s channel speed and will soon expand to 3Gb/s. Unlike other high-speed serial links such as LVDS, APIX provides a full-duplex, bidirectional back channel to support commands and controls. This is a key feature for deploying smart displayable systems.

Direct cooperation between semiconductor suppliers and automakers has changed the traditional operating model in this area. The traditional model is a one-way flow of information. Usually, the first-line suppliers introduce the market trends, product development directions, current product blueprints, and related details to the automakers.

Typically, first-tier suppliers design, manufacture, and provide complete subsystems for automakers. The entire process also includes select semiconductor and component suppliers.

However, unlike the traditional market operation model, Fujitsu has adopted another two-pronged strategy. Basically, Fujitsu is in contact with automakers to provide technology and products. This approach has implications for the technology and design direction of automakers. On the other hand, Fujitsu is also in touch with first-tier suppliers to provide them with the necessary technology and product information.

The cooperation between semiconductor suppliers and automakers is a global trend. This cooperation model is becoming more and more common in the United States, Japan, and Europe. Eventually it will also take place in Asia. Creative car manufacturers are working hard in this direction to obtain key digital vehicle systems and subsystems to increase value, create brand image, control costs, and gain market leadership.

However, it is still not enough to establish these partnerships. Global leading IC suppliers must constantly develop suitable solutions based on their design goals and the needs of different regions. This requires companies to optimize the communication process with customers and their internal organization to ensure smooth communication with customers and different organizations.

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