Training mag discusses KLA-Tencor Hackathon Success

The latest edition of Training magazine features an article on KLA-Tencor, a member of the magazine’s Training Top 10 Hall of Fame. A section of the magazine is dedicated to outstanding initiatives at organizations that are recognized as Hall of Famers. The article focuses on KLA-Tencor’s success in hosting a hackathon following a grass-roots effort.

Read the article on page 54 of the September/October edition of: Training magazine

For more about KLA-Tencor, here are excepts from a case history done of the organization’s implementation of software from GeoMetrix Data Systems several years ago. KLA-Tencor purchased an LMS from GeoMetrix Data Systems back in 2001 and have continued to use the LMS, with upgrades of course, until this year.

KLA-Tencor Corporation is one of the world’s leading suppliers of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor and related microelectronics industries. Headquartered in San Jose, California, the company has nearly 5,000 employees worldwide in 18 countries. Ranked among the world’s top 10 semiconductor manufacturers, KLA-Tencor offers a broad spectrum of products and services that are used by every major semiconductor manufacturer in the world.

The dynamic market that KLA-Tencor supplies faces intense competition, continuing pressure on profitability, shorter product cycles and increasing manufacturing complexities. For companies in this industry, product performance is critical.

One way that KLA-Tencor enables customers to optimize product performance is through comprehensive education of its employees and its customers. The company provides an employee training program that focuses on grooming its personnel to be the most competent in the industry with the ability to optimize the performance of its systems.

In recognition of this successful workforce development initiative, KLA-Tencor was inducted into Training magazine’s Top 10 Hall of Fame for being ranked in the top 10 of Training’s Top 125 companies for several consecutive years.

The Educational Services department at KLA-Tencor provides a number of training products based on a “blended learning” approach. Classroom programs are offered at the company’s Livermore Campus, which contains 20,000 square feet of clean-room space, the latest generation tools, expert instructors and hands-on learning. Training customized to individual requirements is also offered at customer sites, and elearning programs are designed for convenient, personalized, self-paced training.

Behind the scenes at KLA-Tencor, an LMS from GeoMetrix Data Systems has managed its award-winning education programs since 2001. The LMS was ideal for the company because of its ability to handle blended learning offering full resource management for classroom training as well as global Web-based access to training data and computer-based training courses.

Since KLA-Tencor sells training to other organizations, one of the LMS’s main selling features was its financial management module, which is a robust double-entry accounts receivable system with all the functionality needed to manage for-profit or cost-tracked training. The general ledger journal in the LMS has journal history, entry of manual items, and a separate posting process to verify payments and invoices. Automatic invoicing is as needed or monthly, weekly or daily.
Payment tracking allows partial payments and payments against multiple invoices. Cost tracking lets administrators create categories for classes or enrollments. Reports can be produced for total class costs with detailed summaries and breakdowns.

The company took advantage of the LMS’s customizable interface to add custom fields and pick-list items. GeoMetrix also created custom reports for the company.

Since the training provided by KLA-Tencor is highly technical, the program certification process was an important and somewhat complicated management responsibility. To accommodate this, revised management procedures and a customized version of the certification program were developed by GeoMetrix specifically for KLA-Tencor. A certification program is made up of a number of courses, which are grouped by certification levels. As students complete a series of courses within a certification program, they can achieve any one of several certification levels.  With technology changing over time, the courses that constitute a particular program may change, requiring students to re-certify. As a result, the LMS needed to track any number of revisions for a single certification. To facilitate this process data entry requirements were accommodated with the addition of new fields.

Each course added to the LMS was associated with one of the five certification levels. This was an important element in the definition of the certification program as it is used to calculate the current achievement level of each learner. A new pull-down field facilitated the coding of the certification level associated with the course. New date fields tracked the date the current achievement status was reached and the de-certification date. The Program Status pick-list was modified to include new values.

KLA-Tencor required a complex system of multiple “and/or” rules in its prerequisites. GeoMetrix addressed this requirement using a system of constraint rules. The complex prerequisite feature consists of a series of items in which at least one must be fulfilled for the prerequisite to be met.

Looking to the future, KLA-Tencor expects to continue to aggressively invest in new technologies that will address the yield management challenges of tomorrow.

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