Issue 8
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McKinsey on Semiconductors

The semiconductor industry has found itself in an unaccustomed spotlight. When chip shortages first shut down automotive production lines, everyone was talking about the tiny chips that enabled so many different car functions—from interior lighting to seat control to blind-spot detection. When some high-tech and consumer-electronics companies began to experience chip shortages or voiced concerns about supply chains, the attention intensified. It’s now clear to all: we are living in a semiconductor world.

This issue of McKinsey on Semiconductors explores the repercussions of the continuing chip shortage and looks ahead to a post-pandemic future in which semiconductor companies will encounter even greater challenges and opportunities. The articles by McKinsey experts will help businesses along the entire semiconductor value chain explore new strategies that help them thrive amidst uncertainty.


Pursuing innovation and value


Value creation: How can the semiconductor industry keep outperforming?

– The industry has made vast profitability gains in recent years. Can it seize the moment to accelerate value creation even further?

Scaling AI in the sector that enables it: Lessons for semiconductor-device makers

– Artificial intelligence has significant value-creation potential in the semiconductor industry. How can semiconductor companies deploy AI at scale and capture this value?

Semiconductor design and manufacturing: Achieving leading-edge capabilities

– As chips get smaller and competition increases, semiconductor companies need a new strategy that considers everything from fab size to supply-chain issues.

The next wave of innovation in photonics

– More end products are integrating lasers with sensors and optics, opening new opportunities for photonics manufacturers.

“This is an industry where year-on-year—whether it's in actual semiconductor technology advancement, whether it's in solution development, whether it's in manufacturing process—you always see significant innovation. That's something that I’ve personally been very passionate about and excited about.”

Aaron Aboagye,
Partner, McKinsey & Company, New Jersey.

“Imagine now a world where you can recombine logic, analog, all the various elements, as a kind of a building block and build really multifunctional chipsets that can, from a performance standpoint, perform much better than the individual ones.”

Ondrej Burkacky,
Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, Munich.


Enabling next-generation vehicles


Coping with the auto-semiconductor shortage: Strategies for success

– Just as cars and trucks go digital, a scarcity of semiconductors is causing billions of dollars in lost revenue for the automotive industry. Here’s why it’s happening and how to move forward.

Automotive semiconductors for the autonomous age

– The rise of autonomous vehicles is shifting demand for automotive chips and prompting OEMs to consider in-house design. How could this reconfigure value chains across industries?

Cybersecurity in automotive: Mastering the challenge

– With the software content of cars increasing, what do automotive players need to know about cybersecurity?

“Semiconductors play a fundamental role, and we've only begun to scratch the surface of what increased computing power, increased connectivity, and increased storage can accomplish, the kind of solutions that they can create for tomorrow's problems.”

Abhijit Mahindroo,
Partner, McKinsey & Company, Co-leader of Semiconductors in the Americas.


Changing with the times


Renesas’s Hidetoshi Shibata on leadership through difficult times

– A CEO discusses past and future strategy in the evolving semiconductor sector.

Navigating through change: An interview with NXP Semiconductors’ Kurt Sievers

– A new CEO reflects on the past year and looks at what’s ahead for semiconductors.

“Every government in the world is talking about semiconductors, every company in the world that produces anything, is talking about semiconductors because we're short globally of capacity, and it makes it a really dynamic industry to be a part of.”

Bill Wiseman,
Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, Seattle.

Explore more on the McKinsey Semiconductor Digital Campus