Culture & People

In Their Words: Hearing from Employees on Get to Know Your Customers Day

By October 22, 2020 November 4th, 2020 No Comments

At SK hynix, we build our relationships with partners and customers on the tenets of trust, accountability and mutual understanding. Driven by a “win-win” model where the customer and the company succeed together, our team puts a strong emphasis on partnership and collaboration when it comes to customer relations.

To celebrate ‘Get to Know your Customers Day,’ we spoke with senior members who are experts in partner relations to discuss SK hynix’s approach to customer service, providing excellent service, and what the future holds for the industry at large.

In Their Words: Getting to Know Our Customers

Vis Valluri
Director, Market Intelligence I San Jose, CA

What inspired your career path? I have been involved with semiconductors for the past 24 years – first starting as a manufacturing engineer, then getting my MBA, working on Wall Street, and finally finding myself at SK hynix. I always envisioned working in a business role that provided significant value to my customers – both internal and external. I was fortunate to have worked in the various segments of the semiconductor industry and my current role in Market Intelligence requires me to have a global overview of the market and connect several of the moving parts that happen on a daily basis.

How does SK hynix put their customers first? This comes directly from the top. Our management has always demonstrated a customer-centric approach to decision making. This has led to closer and deeper interactions with our customers, resulting in all parties investing to make this successful.

Can you tell us about the “Double Bottom Line” process? At SK hynix, we aim to have an impact not only on our financials but also on our social presence as well. In California, SK hynix America is engaged in several community projects from Second Harvest food banks to providing school kits to underprivileged schools. All these have a tremendous positive impact – both for the organizations receiving the support and for the employees that participate.

Figure 1. SK hynix’s Double Bottom Line (DBL) Management System

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Where do you see the industry going? On DRAM demand, DRAM has enabled the steep growth in high performance computing (HPC) and this trend is only getting bigger. On DRAM supply, challenges on node shrinks will be a key debate and any alternatives to DRAM will be a hot topic. On the NAND side, I expect industry consolation on the supply side while NAND demand growth is expected to continue with significant room to grow in the enterprise storage market.

What 4th industrial revolution technologies are partners most excited about? They’re mostly excited about 5G, Autos, and the impact of AI beyond the datacenters – which are all industry-altering technologies in the 4th industrial revolution. Customers are all trying to leverage to one or more of these markets depending on the segments they participate in.

Alan Walker
Senior Director, Sales I Houston, TX

What is your goal when it comes to partner relationships? Having a close relationship with our customers allows us to help improve the SK hynix business overall. The technology cooperation helps us to develop better products, the strategic agreements help bring consistency to our business volume, and the executive relationships ensure both companies remain closely aligned.

How does SK hynix put their customers first? I think SK hynix demonstrates this from the CEO level down. Our executives are all customer-focused and our customers recognize and appreciate this. We make the customers feel important and that their business and partnership are important to us. We don’t talk about our relationship as a customer-supplier relationship, we talk about it as a partnership – a partnership means both sides are invested in being successful.

What makes a good customer-partner relationship? Closely aligned goals and a mutual cooperation at all levels. Our executives are very supportive of our business with my customers and this helps ensure we have clear alignment on both sides with the same goals.

How does SK hynix bring value beyond competitive pricing and delivery? Our marketing teams provide insight into market changes and forecasts for the industry, our technical teams provide leadership in new technology development and support our partners in standard setting bodies like JEDEC. The level of cooperation required to support certain customers extends far beyond just the account team.

Where do you see the industry going? I expect to see further consolidation amongst the major players in the NAND market, particularly as more competitors joining the market will add additional competition and price pressure to the market. Hopefully we will see some stability in the DRAM market as shrinks become more challenging and products more difficult to scale. We will see increasing complexity from the server market in particular as we adjust to the demands for more performance.

Joe Lee
Director, Sales I San Jose, CA

What inspired your career path? I enjoy talking to people and sharing my experience with them, whether it’s a novice idea or my experience with an electronic gadget. This probably fits well in a sales role where we regularly communicate and promote our technologies and products to customers. Furthermore, with a background in mechanical engineering and industrial engineering, I originally intended to go into the automotive industry in Detroit. It’s no coincidence that I’ve ended up working on Automotive at SK hynix after all these years.

What is your goal when it comes to partner relationships? In addition to having a strategic relationship, it is imperative that we establish mutual trust with our partners. That said, being humble, open, and transparent from all levels of the Company in every step of the way is important to earn that trust.

What makes a good customer-partner relationship? I envision a good customer-partner relationship to be one where every level in every relevant department of the two companies are engaged. Mutual trust and transparency are the key characteristics of a strong partner relationship.

How does SK hynix show that they understand their partner’s business? We often present and share marketing insights with customers including, but not limited to, technology trends and business projections. By demonstrating a leadership and authoritative role in these types of analyses, we are effectively showing them our clear understanding of their business and markets.

What do you see as future customer demands in the automotive industry? In graphics? Safety is of utmost importance for the automotive industry; thus we expect to see some stringent yet justified quality and reliability requirements from customers and standards committees. Bandwidth, performance, power efficiency and connectivity requirements will also be the key building blocks for the automotive industry. As for Graphics, we will continue to see the major DRAM suppliers competing fiercely in terms of density, speed, time-to-market and the bragging rights.

Driving Relationships Forward

Motivated by a common passion for excellent performance and service, SK hynix continues to deliver for customers and partners across our business. We rely on strong leaders within our company – including Vis, Alan and Joe – to set an example from the top on how relationships can be built, sustained and grown through mutual trust, consistency and transparency.

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We’re grateful for these partnerships and the success we’ve achieved together over the years. Into the months and years ahead, we look forward to the next chapter of growth together.