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Using Explainable Artificial Intelligence to Improve Process Quality: Evidence from Semiconductor Manufacturing
- Journal Article
We develop a data-driven decision model to improve process quality in manufacturing. A challenge for traditional methods in quality management is to handle high-dimensional and nonlinear manufacturing data. We address this challenge by adapting explainable artificial intelligence to the context of quality management. Specifically, we propose the use of nonlinear modeling with Shapley additive explanations to infer how a set of production parameters and the process quality of a manufacturing system are related. Thereby, we contribute a measure of process importance based on which manufacturers can prioritize processes for quality improvement. Grounded in quality management theory, our decision model selects improvement actions that target the sources of quality variation. The decision model is validated in a real-world application at a leading manufacturer of high-power semiconductors. Seeking to improve production yield, we apply our decision model to select improvement actions for a transistor chip product. We then conduct a field experiment to confirm the effectiveness of the improvement actions. Compared with the average yield in our sample, the experiment returns a reduction in yield loss of 21.7%. Furthermore, we report on results from a postexperimental rollout of the decision model, which also resulted in significant yield improvements. We demonstrate the operational value of explainable artificial intelligence by showing that critical drivers of process quality can go undiscovered by the use of traditional methods. Show more
Journal / seriesManagement Science
Subjectmanufacturing; quality management; artificial intelligence; SNAP value method
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