Date: January-April, 2017



Microchip’s Gresham factory has set itself an aggressive goal: to change its cost structure to compete with low-cost factories in Asia. One strategy to support this goal was to speed delivery of cost reduction projects and yield-enhancement projects. Identifying an approach was easy, but the organization was struggling: historic methods weren’t delivering results.


Steaming Kettle assessed Microchip’s situation carefully, taking into account the organization’s structure and players, management’s desire to make rapid headway, and the risk of change to ongoing operations in a high-tech factory.

To address the needs and constraints effectively, we supported a set of techniques, including:

• Adoption of Agile project management model

• Using a Kanban to control the flow of project work 

• Adding a special validation step in the project process in order to minimize impacts to ongoing production

• Changing the accountability of a small number of key personnel on every production shift from an operations focus to a project focus

• Choosing an around-the-clock project execution model over the historic pattern of specific projects being owned by specific shifts

• Changing the organization of project information to aid the transfer of project information across shifts

Key Accomplishments

• Provided experiential learning to executives, production supervisors, and industrial engineers

• Demonstrated the value of the new work techniques

• Helped devise work processes, success measures, structures of support for the change, and methods for testing operational improvements

• Provided assistance regarding change management, including analysis of risks and opportunities as well as training