In recent years, capital investment has been accelerating in semiconductor-related markets, driven by factors such as the advancement and sales of smartphones, progress in automobile electrification, and investments related to data centers. There has also been a marked evolution in semiconductor technology to correspond to digital innovations, primarily including IoT, cutting-edge driver assistance systems, and AI. Advantest places the foremost priority on proactive, speedy provision of products and services to respond to these market changes and the development of competitive next-generation technologies.
Basic Policy for Improving Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the most fundamental principle underpinning Advantest's business.
- (1) Provide technology, products and services that will satisfy our customers worldwide in a timely manner.
- (2) Promote quality creation, from early in the design process, and overall optimization of the process.
- (3) Compliance to applicable statutes and regulations.
- (4) Properly administer and implement continual improvements of the quality management system.
By sharing the above product quality policy throughout the Group, we strive to offer products that provide not only superior performance but also superior environmental friendliness and safety. We are committed to keeping our customers satisfied at every stage, from design and manufacturing to sales and service, by providing an ever higher level of guaranteed quality, top-notch service, and support on a global scale.
Sales and Marketing Practices to Ensure Higher Customer Satisfaction
Advantest prioritizes the important challenge of proactively providing products and services quickly in order to respond to market fluctuations and technological evolution. As one measure responding to this issue, we integrated our business units’ marketing into our sales headquarters in December 2016 before integrating system solutions in June 2017. By integrating sales with marketing, more efficient product development and delivery to customers has become possible due to accurate, timely understanding of market and customer needs, which are collected directly by the sales units for sharing with the marketing units. These are in turn then provided as feedback to business divisions. Integration of system solutions has also led to more robust technical support for customers.
The sales and marketing units within the sales headquarters were integrated in March 2020.
We aim to further improve customer satisfaction by taking measures in accordance with these changes.
Sales and Marketing Activities to Improve Customer Satisfaction
There is a need to demonstrate leadership within the industry and to continuously communicate information related to technology and markets in order to continue supporting our customers’ technical innovations. Nevertheless, exhibitions at Face To Face and conferences have been cancelled or postponed due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this situation, Advantest held its first online exhibition, the "Advantest Virtual Tradeshow," on March 10 and 11, 2020 for the United States, and on July 10 for the Asian region. The March exhibition welcomed approximately 200 participants from 47 companies, and the July exhibition saw approximately 500 participants from more than 30 companies. This event introduced new test solutions and showcased presentations related to new Advantest technologies, provided via both live and prerecorded streams.
In addition to providing our customers with test solutions, Advantest also holds the annual VOICE Advantest Developer Conference, which generally takes place in the United States and Asia. However, in June 2021, it was held online as "Virtual VOICE 2021." We will continue to keep pace with the "new normal" while globally expanding our activities to enhance communications based on our customer support improvement initiative.
Promoting Customer Support
The Advantest Group has established its basic policy for customer support with the aim of realizing the globally-oriented restructuring of the Group's service businesses.
Our basic policy is outlined as follows.
Basic policy for customer support
- We will propose total solutions in the form of support packages designed to deliver maximum efficiency to our customers in their device measurement operations.
- We will propose unified service support matching the customer's business model from development to the mass production environment.
- We will respond to customer demands by proposing service support packages that encompass total solutions.
- We will always take the customer's point of view and draw on our global organization in offering solutions.
- Our premium services and customer support will not only be efficient, but will also take the environment and safety into consideration.
- We will offer high-value-added professional services.
- We will strive to maintain our zero-accident record by thoroughly observing safety standards in field service provision and elsewhere.
Better Customer Support with a Global Focus
Advantest is building a global support framework capable of responding effectively to service support requests and other inquiries from customers. While responding to everyday service support requests through contact centers in each country, as well as by telephone and e-mail, we are also implementing primary support consisting of technical service and onsite repairs by field engineers.
We place expert support teams in product development bases to carry out secondary support, allowing us to respond appropriately based on the content and difficulty of service requests.
We have developed a global supply-chain network covering customer operations ranging from their development bases to mass production facilities. Moreover, we also operate a supply-chain control mechanism through which replacement equipment and parts at service centers in each country are monitored to determine inventory needs at respective locations worldwide.
We continue to run an engineer exchange program between overseas subsidiaries and our secondary support division, which helps engineers improve their professional skills and raises the quality of our support. This two- to three-year program aims to sharpen engineers' technical skills, develop cross-cultural competencies, and raise foreign language and communication proficiencies. In the mass production facilities of customers, we offer on-request expert consulting and solutions regarding productivity issues. We also offer device measurement training to our customers, and provide professional advice in that regard.
Global Support Center System
First place in the VLSIresearch Customer Satisfaction Survey for the second consecutive year
Advantest aims to grasp customer needs accurately and strives to provide customers with high-performance, high-quality total test solutions in a timely manner.
We make efforts to gain a better understanding of our customers' needs through information that we acquire from our daily business activities, and also through yearly participation in the customer satisfaction survey conducted by VLSIresearch, a company renowned for its semiconductor market research.
In the 2021 survey, Advantest earned the top spot for the second consecutive year in "THE BEST Supplier" category for semiconductor testing devices and the "10 BEST Suppliers" category for semiconductor manufacturing devices (large suppliers). Furthermore, our company received a score of 9.5 out of 10 for the five categories of "recommended supplier," "reliable supplier," "technological leadership," "collaboration," and "field support." Although Advantest has always ranked in the top spot for "THE BEST Suppliers," we were the only supplier to receive five-star certification for semiconductor testing device suppliers in 2021.
<Some reviews from our customers>
- STMicroelectronics and Advantest Collaborate on an Advanced Automated Test Cell for IC Testing
- Advantest Named a Preferred Supplier by Elmos Semiconductor
- Advantest Developing Innovative Methodologies for High-speed Scanning and Software-based Functional Testing
- Advantest's Hadatomo™ Z Photoacoustic Microscope Wins 13th Laser Industry Encouragement Award
Taking on a challenge in the life science field with nanoSCOUTER™
As part of our efforts toward the future, Advantest has been promoting development in fields that transcend semiconductors and telecommunications, using the nano-level semiconductor processing technologies, electron beam lithography technologies, three-dimensional length measurement technologies using the Scanning Electron Microscope, and precision electronic measurement technologies we have cultivated thus far.
nanoSCOUTER™ is a precision nanopore (nanometer-scale pore) sensor module created through a semiconductor process, which also incorporates the ultra minute current measuring techniques we have fine-tuned since our establishment, as a particulate measuring device that swiftly and accurately measures the quantity and particle sizes of 100 nanometer particles such as viruses, exosomes, and liposomes. This degree of accuracy has been confirmed to be able to identify the COVID-19 virus quickly with high precision. This physical and chemical device is expected to facilitate early detection of new pathogens when combined with machine learning per virus type.
Advantest is making efforts to contribute to the medical field and other fields to achieving a healthy future for people based on our contributions to realizing a safe, secure, and comfortable society through semiconductor testing.
Enhancing the reliability of semiconductors through Advantest Cloud Solutions™
Advantest has been promoting Advantest Cloud Solutions, which integrates data generated through customers’ semiconductor manufacturing processes with semiconductor testing data, which is then analyzed to generate new value.
Semiconductors are manufactured through a few hundred processes (a supply chain) that spans multiple companies and countries. These processes generate many types of data, and the test data generated by Advantest semiconductor testing devices is the most important for determining semiconductor reliability. Testing is conducted in multiple steps to confirm the quality of each process.
By centrally collecting and analyzing the test data that has been scattered at various points throughout the supply chain in addition to the data study at each points, it becomes possible to perform an overall assessment of semiconductor reliability through the supply chain. Furthermore, combining the data generated from various process steps with test data facilitates early detection and improvement of issues with processes.
Advantest Cloud Solutions™ construct a test-centric data ecosystem, aiming to contribute to enhancing the reliability and security of semiconductors that is required in the DX era.
Achieving fully automated test cells based on Industry 4.0
Advantest has achieved automation of post-processing testing in collaboration with our clients.
Through optimized operations that require less labor, we have improved the working rate of test cells, which in turn improves the energy efficiency per test and contributes toward reducing GHG emissions.
This system is comprised of two types of hardware, the Advantest SoC test system "T2000" and the "M4841" handler alongside software (created by our clients) that controls the hardware. Software-controlled, autonomous robots travel between device storage areas and handlers with trays. The software implements real-time communication with an Industry 4.0 tracking system, which manages the operation status of work in progress and equipment while monitoring and controlling the testers and handlers. Combining these test cells and software achieves a fully automated testing process, improving yields with machine learning and monitoring as well as boosting the efficiency of the overall process while reducing cost-of-ownership.
Advantest will continue to contribute to developing technologies that are useful to society towards our vision of "Adding Customer Value in an Evolving Semiconductor Value Chain."