Automatic solution choice; how Crossing Automation benefits from Entropy

Crossing Automation has supplied specialized equipment to the semiconductor industry since its Silicon Valley start-up in 2005. Now a global player, it was recently acquired by Massachusetts-based Brooks Automation. The company has to maintain lean resources to operate with flexibility in the volatile semiconductor market. Quality assurance is also critical, making management system standards essential.

When Michael Mackinder, now Quality Manager at Brooks, first joined Crossing Automation, he found many outdated, manually-driven, paper-based systems for ISO processes. “I wanted an automated system where data is entered once globally and is then analyzed to make decisions,” he says. The company wanted to maintain ISO 9001 (Quality Management), aspire to ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and continually improve its management systems – without increasing headcount. It needed to drive action items stemming from audits, customer issues and non-conformances. It also required a system offering global access, applicability to multiple standards and ease of use.

Mackinder explains why Entropy was the ideal solution, providing a paperless system to handle records management and get procedures, policies, and an audit trail in place. “There are significant time savings in having all the data in one centralized location, rather than having to pull together information over and over again from disparate systems,” he says. Audits no longer require a week of preparation and additional staff. Mackinder continues, “Third party auditors have easy access to reports and action items, and they can see that a sophisticated process is in place for everything from policies and procedures to corrective and preventive actions.” Entropy gives the ability to track issues from different sources – an improvement over previous Excel-based processes – and put together robust action plans. The system is also used for document control and internal audit reporting.

Entropy has brought cost savings by boosting efficiency and providing management control. For example, Mackinder no longer devotes time and effort to generating weekly reports for management, but simply shares an Entropy hyperlink, giving them access to the most accurate, up-to-date information. Customers also see benefits, with Entropy giving them almost 100% transparency, through internal and external access to the site. “They can pull together an outline plan of action items, a clear visual with milestones,” says Mackinder. “It gives the customer comfort that ‘this vendor is meeting our needs’.”

Mackinder wanted a long-term solution. “One software tool we looked at wasn’t flexible enough to grow with our company or have the ability to easily handle multiple sites.” In contrast, Entropy is a system that can be built on for years to come.