Walking The Floor, by Tsuyoshi Kawanishi
‘When I started out in the semiconductor industry in the 1960s, the star players were young female operators called “transistor girls”, recalls the legendary CEO of Toshiba Semiconductor, Tsuyoshi Kawanishi, in his book ‘Chip Management’.
‘Semiconductor manufacturing in those days was a typical labour intensive process, and it was often compared to the agricultural industry,’ continues Kawanishi, ‘the masking and bonding operations were all done manually in clean-rooms, and the differences in results among operators could be as high as 10 to 1. As a result, if one skilled operator was absent from work, the performance of an entire section could drop dramatically.’
‘One of my biggest worries was the safety of the workers,’ adds Kawanishi, ‘and I would walk the floor everyday prominently displaying my safety arm band.’