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Meet Wayne Allan, ASML’s newest board of management member
Linking the semiconductor supply chain together
6-minute read - By Kate Brunton, May 24, 2023
Wayne Allan was appointed to the ASML Board of Management on April 26 as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategic Sourcing & Procurement Officer. In this new role, he will help to improve a part of ASML that’s becoming increasingly critical – our supply chain.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in a small town in Idaho and spent my youth working at farms and orchards while I was attending school. I learned early in life the value of hard work and getting up early to make full use of daylight. As any farmer knows, generating a good harvest requires you to work on a schedule dictated by nature, not you.
My first professional job was at Micron Technology, which was then still a young, local company producing DRAM Memory chips and trying to compete globally with companies in Japan. I joined the company as an operator, and spent the first 10 years of my career in the fab learning about semiconductor manufacturing (including equipment and process engineering), factory physics and leading people. I had great peers and mentors and eventually I was running Micron’s fabs around the world, which brought me to Virginia, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. I also ran their supply chain for four years before taking on global operations. During my time at Micron, I went from being a farm boy to a global citizen, and I also met my wife in the process. I got to know my wife, who is from Singapore, while I was running a fab in Virginia. We have three kids, who are now 10, 12 and 14.
Why is ASML creating a separate strategic sourcing and procurement role in the board of management?
The performance of our supply chain is increasingly important to our ability to respond to customer demand. We’re scaling up our output capacity and we need our supply chain to keep pace. We're an integrator – we build some of the modules in our machines, but we also procure a huge amount of materials and critical components from suppliers, so our overall supply chain strategy is something that needs to be driven at the board level.
Major global trends are driving a huge demand for our products, and it will continue for years. Even though we might see some ups and downs throughout the cycle, we're still very confident about the future. My job as head of Strategic Sourcing & Procurement will be to help ASML to navigate the short-term challenges while at the same time continue to build strong board-level relationships with our suppliers that will see us into the future.
What will your main focus be for the coming year?
There are many things to focus on, but I’ll name two of the most important. The first is getting closer to our suppliers so that we can better understand their capabilities while getting feedback from them on what we can do to improve. We rely heavily on our suppliers and we need to understand: Are they ready to provide the parts needed for our new technologies? Can they meet our cost targets? Can they meet our quality targets? Can they do so in a sustainable way? Part of this means bringing more ‘solving power’ to the Sourcing & Procurement teams through our centers of excellence on supplier collaboration, global supplier operations and sourcing strategy.
Second, we need to create additional leadership bandwidth to focus on supplier strategy as well as on developing and empowering our own teams. We have senior account leaders who are managing our most critical suppliers. (ASML has 5,000 suppliers, but our top 35 suppliers make up 80% of our total sourcing spend.) We plan to add more senior account leaders to help maintain a strategic view, with an eye for improving quality and collaboration and removing challenges.
Our Sourcing & Procurement organization quadrupled in size between 2012 and 2021, and it's in ASML’s DNA to drive technology at a rapid rate of scaling. We have a strong team of people with great industry knowledge and understanding of the technology and the supplier landscape. We are also passionate, with a strong desire to meet and exceed our customers' expectations. I think there is a strong understanding of the responsibility that we bear as a team internally to ASML and to our customers.
How will our customers and suppliers benefit from our increased focus on Sourcing & Procurement?
We will definitely have clearer communication and prioritization with our suppliers. But it's a two-way street: Although we'll have high expectations of our suppliers, we’ll also work hard to address concerns that they might have. For example, we'll work on longer-term and collaborative planning, remove unnecessary costs through better alignment and feedback, and address quality issues that may exist due to unclear requirements.
When it comes to our customers, making sure their voice is heard within our supplier network is as critical as it gets. Ultimately, it’s all about our customers. Our solutions need to be cost effective and enable our customers to be successful – to meet the demand coming their way. It's a chain, and our responsibility in that chain is critical. We play a role not only to lead the way ourselves but to bring others along with us.
How have your experiences at Micron and ASML Customer Support helped you to understand what needs to be done?
I learned a lot about how to better support our customers because I was an ASML customer. And I can speak the customer's language because I essentially grew up in a fab. I was one of ASML’s more demanding customers because ASML’s products and services were essential and I knew that ASML could deliver. I have always had tremendous respect for ASML, so I wasn’t critical because I thought it was a weak company – I was critical because I had very high expectations and knew it was the only company capable of delivering the most crucial technology we needed.
Now, as I go further into the supply chain all the way to our suppliers, I want to make a lot of the same improvements as we did during my time with our talented and dedicated team in Customer Support. We drove solving power into the field, closer to our customers, and you'll see that trend continue in Sourcing & Procurement. I want to take that same mindset, of being close to customers and understanding what their needs are, to our supplier network. We have a great team in Sourcing & Procurement and the best suppliers in the world, so what an excellent opportunity it is to be working with such professionals.
It's been an exciting journey so far. I’m humbled and I’m also extremely happy to be part of ASML and this whole experience.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I do have spare time, I love to keep my kids as active as possible outdoors. They’re growing up way too fast, so I try to keep them off their iPads. In the summer, we do summer sports: swimming, hiking and mountain biking. (Well, there aren’t many mountains in the Netherlands, so we’ll just call it bike riding.) In the winter, we do winter sports; things that keep us together as a family.
I also like to read a lot. I have probably 2,000 books at home. The latest book I read was Les Misérables. It's like a history lesson – it’s an amazing piece of literature and inspiring story about making a difference in the lives of others. I'm also currently reading Chip War by Chris Miller, which talks about the growth of the semiconductor industry and how it has evolved over time. I find it really interesting because I’ve lived through it. It's a fascinating read – I highly recommend it.
Read about the rest of ASML’s Board of Management or discover careers in logistics and supply chain management at ASML.
About the author
- Kate Brunton
- Freelance writer & editor
- Kate has a passion for storytelling and languages and enjoys writing about the human side of technology. After working in communications for three years at ASML in the Netherlands, she now freelances from the desert of Arizona.