Gursharan Singh, Micron’s senior vice president of Global Assembly and Test, spoke with us about the progress of Micron’s new facility in Penang, the company’s smart manufacturing advancements, its ongoing initiatives to hire and develop talent, and its support of the greater Malaysian community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Micron to Open Center of Excellence in Penang
Micron’s 52.6-acre Center of Excellence for SSD assembly and test in Batu Kawan Industrial Park in Penang is slated to open in early 2021. Micron is investing RM1.5 billion over the next five years and has committed to adding 1,000 team members.
“In parallel to the building’s construction, we have built a temporary site in Seberang Prai where nearly 1,000 of our team members have already set up the production line for SSD,” Singh said. “Once the new plant is ready, this operation will be moved to Batu Kawan, giving us the advantage to ramp up production and hit the ground running without the lag of waiting for the operationalization of a new facility.”
Malaysia to Gain From Micron’s Global Manufacturing Network
Micron’s commitment to Malaysia extends beyond business investments. As an industry powerhouse, Micron’s Malaysia operations will tap into its global expertise and best practices.
“Malaysia is in a unique position to benefit due to its close proximity with our NAND Center of Excellence in Singapore,” Singh said. “We are learning from our factory in Singapore, which implements the latest advances in smart manufacturing, as we develop the facility in Batu Kawan. Those lessons will be used to ensure that new technologies are deployed cost-effectively and push the envelope to get them to the next level.”
On the talent front, Micron is creating a pipeline of local Malaysian talent from a young age. This means driving multiple STEM initiatives targeting local primary and secondary schools and includes a Women in Science and Engineering Program we’re offering at 39 of Penang’s secondary schools. We’re also creating internships for engineering degree holders through the company’s Industry Student Engagement Program (ISEP) and continuing a training program for young diploma holders held in conjunction with Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) to give them skills that are required by the industry.
Our workforce development initiative also gives Micron an opportunity to work with young talent new to the industry so they can learn and undergo in-depth industry training from more experienced peers.
"We use our global network of expertise to train young workers and give them the opportunity to learn and participate in this start-up-like environment,” Singh said. “We have already hired nearly 40 new college graduates from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Our game plan is to continue on this path by hiring a higher percentage of local graduates and giving them access to our facilities to learn our technology and advance our Malaysia facility. More than that, we hope our collaboration with local universities can extend further into high-impact research initiatives that benefit the wider community."
Micron’s Commitment to Malaysia’s Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Micron is investing in the greater Malaysian community as the country fights the current COVID-19 pandemic. Malaysia is one of five countries prioritized to receive grants from Micron’s $35 million global relief fund. The company recently announced a RM2.6 million donation from the Micron Foundation that will help the three groups most in need – front-line workers and hospitals, children and the elderly in charitable homes, and underprivileged families in Muar and Penang near its facilities. The goal is to quickly distribute aid such as medical and personal protective equipment, food and household items, and financial assistance.
In addition, Micron is supporting its Malaysian employees by making a one-time assistance payment of RM1,300 to 94% of its workforce based in Muar and Penang. This is the percentage of the workforce meeting the eligibility criteria.
Designated as an essential services provider by the Malaysian government, Micron continues to maintain its local operations. Micron products built in Malaysia are critical to helping the world effectively cope with COVID-19. Our technology enables advanced medical devices for treatment, data centers and supercomputers used by scientists to find new solutions, and e-learning and videoconferencing capabilities that connect the world during this period of restricted movement.
Sangeeta Rajgopal is Head of Country Communications & Marketing, Singapore & Malaysia Global Communications & Marketing, Micron