By Linda Rae
Patience is More than a Virtue. It’s Hard.
When I wrote earlier blog posts about creating enduring product ideas, I thought about it in general terms. But when I began thinking about creating products in the semiconductor industry in particular, I realized it takes special, shall we say, fortitude to be a product developer in this sector.
Lesson: If youÃ¢ÂÂre developing solutions for a cyclical industry like the semiconductor industry, be prepared to be persistent through its ups and downs.
In a traditional business model, R&D spending is based on the revenues a product is producing; that means too many companies tend to cut back on their development investments when thereÃ¢ÂÂs an industry downturn. However, companies that abruptly turn off the Ã¢ÂÂmoney spigotÃ¢ÂÂ when thereÃ¢ÂÂs a cyclical downturn simply arenÃ¢ÂÂt in a position to profit from the next market upturn when it arrives. Still worse, theyÃ¢ÂÂve lost credibility with their customers by not being prepared to address their new needs.
One of the things Keithley does, in addition to long-term planning, is to focus on short-term, fast-response projects, so that when we spot an industry trend, such as organic solar cells, that requires specific measurement capabilities, we can address that opportunity very quickly.