The Most Important Efficiency/Productivity Metric Is… - January 2023

The most important efficiency metric when working in a semiconductor factory 🏭 (the places that make processors that go into your computers, phones, and everything else) is just as important to your success…

On one end you start with a wafer (thin & disc shaped) of silicon. On the other end you have a lot of semiconductors/chips. The steps in between can be hundreds to thousands.

I was part of the team in one factory that worked to make it more efficient.

The real bottlenecks are caused by variability πŸ“‰. Average performance is important, but the variability of performance was far more important.

For example, if there's one machine (among several hundred) that can do step 77 and that machine stops working, the wafers pile up in a queue waiting for that machine. The performance of the machines at steps 78+ basically don't matter at that point.

What lessons are there for your own ability to meet your goals? 🎯

Winning is not about 1 Herculean effort to get a ton of stuff done. It is more about consistent, aggressive, targeted action that are aligned with your priority action areas. Your priority action areas should be aligned with your top goals.

Jumping around from 1 project to another without finishing tasks is very wasteful. You're starting a wafer in the steps and then halting it midway. A half made chip is almost worthless. A half completed task set is almost worthless.

I mess this up myself a lot as well, so if you do some of this, don't worry, forgive yourself and move on with intention to be better.

There's a balance here because we want to do deep, high quality work, so the consistent work has to be long enough to reach the point to where you're delivering quality. 5 minutes every day on most tasks is not going to cut it even if you did it 365 days a year. You also need to work long enough to complete your action set(s) — again a half completed action set is often near worthless.

Sometimes there are opportunities that call for aggressive bursts of lots of work over a short period, but this should be the exception and not standard operating procedure.

There's an additional benefit to spreading the work out over a long period of time. You give your brain a chance to learn and grow more by processing your work while you sleep. 🧠

I have NOT been perfect about this in the past, so I'll be holding myself accountable as well.

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