Culture & People

First-Class Quality Comes from First-Class Culture: Jung-Sik Park, Head of Quality & Reliability Assurance

By May 14, 2020 February 10th, 2022 No Comments

Jung-Sik Park, Head of Quality & Reliability Assurance, is ready to go to the extra mile to achieve the goals he has set at SK hynix.

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Jung-Sik Park, Head of Quality & Reliability Assurance, is ready to go to the extra mile to achieve the goals he has set at SK hynix. Whether this means studying a load of books or taking risks with new ideas, Park is always up for his next challenge with a quiet sense of confidence thanks to his experiences since joining the company back in 1990.

With 30 years at SK hynix, Park has been building up a lot of experience in the manufacturing and testing fields. Since 2002, he has built a respected career as a leader at the Memory Production Headquarters, Product Development Headquarters, and PKG&TEST Manufacturing Headquarters. In recognition of these capabilities, he was appointed Head of Quality & Reliability Assurance in December 2018, therefore taking on responsibility for the quality of SK hynix’s products.

Interviewing Jung-Sik Park, we were deeply impressed by his philosophy that emphasized “principles, learning, and growth.

“Test Expert” Leading the Front Line of Semiconductor Quality Assurance

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He is regarded as “the right person to design and lead the best quality.” What does Park think about these evaluations and expectations? He put it down to the hard work of his colleagues, with none of his achievements possible if it was just him working alone.

“I believe SK hynix can be the best in the industry, but we are not the best yet. We can’t be the best in the industry by continuing in the manner we’ve been pursuing till now; what we need to do is keep trying new things and constantly seeking better quality. We’re now doing our best with this vocation and will continue to commit ourselves to the advancement of our quality management and raise SK hynix to the highest level in the industry.”

Park has overseen tasks across various fields in his career so far, yet his role has always involved analyzing defects and establishing countermeasures. His interests have always been with defective products. Searching for failure rather than success is his main task, but he has never lost his positive mindset. Instead, he constantly challenged himself to learn from failures.

“If you do nothing, you won’t have to face failures, but this will go nowhere. Looking back to my life at the company, it seems like half of what I wanted to do ended up in failures; however, I’ve always tried to gain something from every failure. It was very difficult at the time, but as for now, I think I was able to overcome failures easily by adopting a positive mindset about everything.”

He could accumulate unparalleled knowledge of SK hynix’s products overall, since he has been dealing with various fields of the company’s business. Whenever an issue arose, Park was determined to “be an expert in another field using this opportunity.”

“I think learning from work rather than simply studying is the most effective way to become an expert. If you try hard to fully understand certain area of the business every time you take a new job, you can build the skills you need one by one. Solving an issue always gives me a great opportunity to learn properly about this area.”

Park’s always-learning attitude eventually made him the leader of SK hynix’s quality assurance. He defined his role as “creating a system that improves and manages the quality of the entire company, in order to provide products that customers want.” In addition, he highlighted that there are two things that make it possible to satisfy the customers in a rapidly changing environment. The total product quality management system and the attitude toward it. By his word, “first-class quality comes from a first-class culture.”

“Before taking part in quality assurance, I thought our products were simply not good enough to satisfy our customers; however, after closer inspection, I found that our products are already at the globally top level. The problem was not the product quality, but our unsatisfying quality management system. There might have been some “that’ll do” thoughts on our minds before, which is by all means intolerable. To be the number one in the industry, all members must be able to follow regulations carefully with even the tiniest little details. To realize this, we have been improving the way we work with the goal of achieving “better quality management culture” since last year, and ‘regulation compliance’ this year.”

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In addition, considering the importance of product quality from customers’ perspectives, he reorganized the system into a customer-centered one. In the long term, he is also making great efforts to complete the Quality Management System (QMS) that can efficiently analyze and manage multiple complex variables that may occur during production processes. To achieve this, he established a new organization in charge of managing Advanced & Quality System and plans to continue the discussions as soon as a master plan is established.

“The amount of data accumulated during the wafer-making process is enormous, but we’re not utilizing that data efficiently right now. We’re building the data-driven QMS to combat this issue. I believe that QMS can contribute to the improvement of overall product quality; it won’t be finished in a short period of time, but I believe it’s just a matter of time.”

The impact of COVID-19 is affecting every aspect of the industry all around the world including the quality assurance work at SK hynix. Park is also preparing a plan to minimize the negative effects and show a strong performance once the market stabilizes later.

“The market is stagnant overall and communication with customers has mostly stopped. As a result, we are receiving less complaints regarding quality in recent. However, when the situation settles down, we assume the accumulated problems would burst out all at once, so we are preparing an emergency response system in place for the future. When the COVID-19 pandemic passes and the market recovers, the quality issue will surely become an important factor in determining our competitiveness. To prepare for this, we are working hard to ensure internal stability and preparing solid measures.”

A “Pathfinder” Paving the Way for the Future

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Park has a firm philosophy about “leadership”. It is about how a leader should predict possible variables and prepare for five to ten years ahead. He always emphasizes that while anybody can solve issues afterward, only true leaders can prepare for issues in advance, and Park himself also aims to be one of them.

Moreover, Park stresses that employees at SK hynix should pursue changes constantly. He said that a company can achieve the best in the industry only by pursuing something new without resting.

For example, one of his most important achievements at SK hynix was shifting the goal of quality assurance from “quality satisfying us” to “quality satisfying customers.”

When the yield rate remained between 80-85% during wafer tests, employees were satisfied with the result as they considered it to be “almost perfect.” However, as customer complaints continued and the re-testing ratio at the package testing stage remained high, Park thought that he should listen to the voice of the customers first.

“We make and offer products to customers, and the customers pay for them. This means we must provide the value they expect. If we don’t live up to their expectations, we can’t be considered the best in the industry. That’s why I thought we should change. I think that SK hynix is now able to achieve great performance thanks to the devoted efforts we made, and I’d like to say thank you to my members for being supportive.”