The trouble with working in a high-tech industry is that the focus is almost exclusively on the latest technologies and components. Short-termism is endemic and components are made obsolete with barely a thought for the impact that this has on the customers who designed them in just a few years ago. Microchip’s approach is a little different because, even though we shipped our 10 billionth PIC® microcontroller in 2011, we have never made a part obsolete whilst there was a customer out there who is still using it. Our production lines still produce the PIC16C54/55, which were among the first microcontrollers to be manufactured, whilst our recent acquisition of SST has provided us with the 8051/80C51 family, which preceded PIC® technology. These legacy parts are manufactured next to our latest, state-of-the-art microcontrollers, analogue and memory devices.
By Ken Millar, Senior Sales Channel Manager – Europe, Microchip Technology Inc.
Continuity and innovation
For Microchip, continuity is as important as innovation and supporting our customers’ procurement teams is as important as the support we give to their engineers. Every aspect of Microchip’s business shares a single goal: To help our customers to succeed. For buyers, we do this by ensuring that we make it as easy as possible to buy Microchip components and that we achieve lead-times which are the shortest in the industry.
The fact that we have our own manufacturing facilities, rather than out-sourcing production to third-party fabs, is crucial because it gives us complete control over our production processes. It enables us to prioritise lead-times more effectively and to have redundancy in our capacity which means that output can be increased or even doubled at very short notice.
Multi-model indirect supply-chain
Another important factor in our ability to help customers to succeed is in mixing direct and indirect sales channels. Our indirect sales channel combines global broadline distributors and regional narrowline specialists with internet-based distribution houses. Customers can choose whether to engage face-to-face with a distributor and or to buy components quickly and easily over the internet.
Direct sales and support
Microchip was one of the first silicon manufacturers to extend the direct supply channel beyond Tier 1 OEMs by introducing microchipDIRECT. Initially offering an online procurement process, microchipDIRECT is used by customers of all sizes, from credit-card users to major multi-nationals, to order samples, production volumes and device programming, as well as to schedule deliveries and to manage buffer stocks for high-volume orders.
Global support network
It is not just engineers who have technical questions, so Microchip provides buyers with 24/7 online support. Our support teams are based worldwide, in Europe, India and North America, and achieve response times which we believe are among the best in the business. Technical forums and blogs also give buyers access to a global community of Microchip customers.
This global approach extends to our support for customers who decide to move their own manufacturing off-shore. Philosophically and culturally, Microchip is geared to be a global organisation. As such we actively help customers to migrate production to off-shore locations rather than take a more protectionist approach which would seek to keep the revenue in the same local business unit.
Although we can’t do much about economic climate, we can work with customers, directly and indirectly, to realise our inherent corporate philosophy that we are here to help every one of our customers to succeed.