Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc. in China: Transferring Knowledge (A)
While much of the work on outsourcing to China focuses on the low cost and its tradeoffs, this case examines in depth the interaction between human capital and a firm's cost and capabilities. Suitable for the MBA, EMBA, GEMBA, and executive education programs, the case presents a manufacturer of semiconductor assembly equipment looking to achieve growth in its wire bonding tools segment-in particular, capillaries and dicing saw blades-through geographic expansion. At the time, it manufactured capillaries in Yokneam, Israel, and blades in Santa Clara, California. In the A case the team is charged with designing and opening a new facility in Suzhou, China. Expanding operations to China meant cost savings, and it was where K&S's market had expanded. But it wasn't clear whether it made sense to move the capillary process, the dicing blade manufacturing, or both. And if K&S did move to China, should it keep the Israeli- and American-based factories open as well? And once those decisions were made, what exactly would the knowledge transfer look like?