It’s a remarkable fact that all but one of Micron’s many microchip manufacturing plants around the world are operating at full output (latest: since the interview with Bhatia, all Micron plants have returned to full production capacity), without putting our people at risk. All the people in those factories (and many more besides) work for Manish Bhatia, executive vice president of Global Operations, so he was the obvious person to ask how Micron achieved this feat.
Bhatia told me that Micron started putting new procedures and protocols in place in mid-January, ahead of reported cases outside China. So everyone who could stop going into a factory physically did in fact stop going in.
Bhatia is clearly proud of the innovative ways Micron and its on-site partners have found to keep going. It turns out videoconferencing can replace more than just meetings: remote augmented reality (AR) capabilities enable our engineers to remotely assist our technicians on the shop floors to tune equipment and perform tool installations.
I wanted to know how manufacturing will change once we can return to our usual work patterns. Quoting Stanford economist Paul Romer, Bhatia says that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” We’re already planning to make manufacturing even more sophisticated with artificial intelligence and augmented/virtual reality. But beyond that, there’s a new desire to support each other — not just inside Micron, but also our team members, customers, suppliers and the communities we live in. As he puts it, “I’m really excited by the collaboration and unity across the world.”
You can learn more about how Micron is supporting our worldwide communities at www.micron.com/covid-19.