Flexible production capacity
All hardware production uses external suppliers. The management of and relationships with manufacturing partners are thus decisive to the company’s delivery quality and capabilities.
The Fingerprints Operations team is divided into three units: sourcing/purchasing, which qualifies suppliers; production planning, which creates forecasts and suborders production volumes; and quality assurance, which tests and assures the quality of the production.
All planning is cross-functional, with the sales and operations teams working together.
THE CHIP MANUFACTURER – A GLOBAL PLAYER
Fingerprints’ largest purchase in terms of volume is the silicon chip, which is primarily made using two of the world’s four largest foundries, i.e. semiconductor manufacturers. One of them is the Chinese firm SMIC, which is listed on the NYSE and Hong Kong Stock exchanges. In 2016 Fingerprints also began to work with with one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers, the Taiwanese firm TSMC, which is listed on the NYSE and Taiwan Stock exchanges.
The sensors are manufactured in wafers, which come in a particular size so that smaller sensors provides significantly more sensors per wafer.
NOT JUST CHIPS
In addition to purchasing from semiconductor manufacturers, there is also reprocessing by suppliers known by the industry term OSAT (Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test), that encapsulate chips for further assembly.
DELIVERY RELIABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY
Wafer manufacturing is comparable to a process industry, where a production flow is continuous once it has been started and requires a minimum volume to take advantage of production capacity. The cost is kept at the lowest possible unit price thanks to the large scale. Therefore semiconductor manufacturers prefer customers who can fill their capacity. This means not only existing capacity, but the motivation to invest in new capacity.
Thanks to high volumes and good advance planning, the company has formed very good relationships with semiconductor manufacturers. The possibility to manufacture a broader product mix at varying volume levels has increased.
Additional production capacity is preceded by the qualification of the production unit according to the JEDEC industry-standard, where durability tests are performed on components in order to approve production quality.
This step is important in order to maintain consistency and a high quality level of hardware, with a high yield, i.e. a low degree of scrapping.
In order to ensure delivery reliability at higher volumes, several hardware variants apply FIngerprint’s dual sourcing for each chip series, i.e. two different plants are used.
CODE OF CONDUCT
Purchasing and production are covered by the Code of Conduct, in other words the business ethics program, in order to combat bribery and corruption as well as protecting the company’s assets. The Code of Conduct is also intended to reduce the company’s direct and indirect environmental impact, as well as regulating working environment and safety issues for Fingerprints staff and efforts to follow up these issues at the company’s suppliers.
Since 2016, the code of conduct is included when contracts are signed. Existing suppliers have been informed about the Code and Fingerprints’ expectations about compliance. As a result, Fingerprints has also begun updating requirements and processes for approval of new suppliers. The code is based on the EICC (Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition) Code of
Fingerprints’ conflict minerals policy also prohibits suppliers that purchase minerals in the “Conflict minerals” category from purchasing minerals that were mined in conflict areas.