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Work stream is such a complicated interactive database that is much different than any other that I've seen before. It is a UNIX based system that looks very old. It might look old, but the function is outstanding. In fact, it acts like it is its own operating system because it is so big and has many different commands to get you to certain pages. The input comes from two different places. One place is from the operators or technicians that make the microchips, and the other is from the tool sets (or equipment) themselves. These commands that are inputted take you to a particular page or query in the database where you can add different data about the microchips that we process, or even the tool sets that the lots of microchips process on. Every lot (or group of microchips or wafers) and every tool set has its own identification number that is inputted into the database for tracking. Everything that is done to any microchip and tool is documented. For instance, when we do preventive maintenance on the tool, we document everything that we do to it in Work stream to verify what we have done. This way, if something goes wrong, we can
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Work stream is an old system and has been around since Intel Corporation started. Its appearance looks like a dos screen with the same type of black screen with white letters. This is one thing that needs to be changed I think because it is not user friendly in this day of age. Yes, it is a good system to use and that is why Intel stuck with it for so long. But the appearance of most modern databases is so much nicer and very pleasing to look at, making it more user friendly.
Speaking of not being user friendly, Work stream requires a massive amount of training for one to be proficient and to truly work their way around in the system. There are so many different commands that we use to take us to different places to where we can either input something about a lot or tool, or retrieve information about a lot or tool. These commands are four letter commands like VLFL, LTS1, 1PCE, and so forth. They don't make sense accept to the person that created the program. All that is taught is what the commands are and what they are used for. That is all that's known. When one types in 1PCE, all they know is that they are opening a database checklist to perform preventative maintenance on a tool. There are hundreds of these commands, but one is only required to know what they need to know for their specific job. Memorizing about fifty different ones is probably the average.
Another thing that needs to be changed in Work stream is the way we input commands and data into the system. When typing in work stream, it only accepts upper case letters. Lower case letters do nothing at all. As well as when inputting data, the page doesn't automatically return to the next starting line while typing. If you didn't know to hit enter at the end of every line, you could be typing for minutes before you figure out that it has stopped. Another thing that you cannot do in work stream is cut or paste anything. If you have to input the same information into ten different places, you have to re-type the information all ten times. This is unfortunate as well.
Work stream is a very powerful tool that we all use and must be trained on to do our work in the clean room. It is our only database for keeping track of everything that goes on with any microchip or piece of equipment in the clean room. I do think another program needs to replace it soon because of its out dated functions and style, but for right now, the entire Intel world is still using it in all of their clean rooms. It doesn't look like Intel will change any time soon, but there have been talks about how outdated the system is and how it is not user friendly at all. The only way it is even okay to use is because everyone understands it and is able to use it without problem. They have been trained on this particular system and it would be hard to train and implement another system to replace it. The cost of the training plus the downtime of the factories is not worth it to Intel right now. Besides, why fix it if it works?