26 March 2020
IQE continuing production at all sites despite COVID-19
Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK says that production is continuing at all of its global sites, despite the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus. “Given the diversified nature of our global operations, there are differing operating conditions across our various sites,” notes the firm.
A consistent factor is that IQE’s manufacturing business has a ‘low people intensity’ compared to other industries, so it can operate effectively and safely with reduced numbers of staff on site.
A number of States have issued ‘stay at home orders’ to their residents, but IQE is not affected because it has been granted special exemption to carry on with production at all four of its sites. As a ‘critical infrastructure provider’ it is operating under direction from the Department for Homeland Security, which deems IQE to have “a special responsibility to maintain (our) normal work schedule”. Nevertheless, all members of staff are working from home as a default, unless they are essential to production.
As in the USA, all members of UK staff who can work from home are doing so and, in observance of the Government’s directions regarding essential trips for work, exercise, food and care, the firm’s sites are operating at minimal staffing levels and only where essential for production.
Taiwan and Singapore are currently less impacted by the virus, so operations there are unaffected.
Supply chain and order book
IQE says that it has not encountered any disruption to supply chains, and that its approach of dual- or multi-sourcing helps to reduce exposure to disruption at any single supplier.
Order demand for the firm’s products has been unaffected, and production output in March is above average levels for the previous 12 months.
“There remains an increased risk to near-term demand and therefore revenues due to the impact of Coronavirus on the global economy,” says IQE. “However, the total impact of these conditions and risks on IQE’s markets remains unquantifiable at this point in time,” the firm adds. “Our business continuity sub-committee continues to monitor risk indicators and external guidance and is responding swiftly to this rapidly evolving situation.”