KLA Corporation delivers high-tech innovation at scale by putting its people and customers first.
While the combination of a global pandemic, heightened calls for social justice, and an economic slowdown were new challenges to navigate in 2020, a strong foundation focused on employees, customers, and innovation enabled global technology leader KLA to convert challenge into opportunity. A commitment to continuous improvement, operational excellence, and focus on execution in delivering to customers positioned the company to mitigate business impacts associated with these challenges. Throughout it all, KLA’s steadfast dedication to the health, safety, and well-being of its 11,000-plus global employees remained the top priority.
The global pandemic significantly accelerated digital transformation on a global scale with increased demand for communications electronics and cloud computing to support remote working and learning and connecting with family and friends. This resulted in an increased demand for semiconductors that enable communications and consumer electronics such as laptops, webcams, smartphones, cloud services, and more. KLA is the powerhouse behind semiconductor process control, process enabling, and yield management systems that enable customers to manufacture these advanced high-tech solutions, as varied as high-bandwidth memory for datacenters and cloud services, advanced radio frequency devices for 5G communications, application processors for computers and smartphones, and high-efficiency power electronics and advanced safety sensors for automobiles. The KLA team is passionate about helping clients solve their most daunting technical challenges. This unwavering dedication to delivering its customers and a drive to innovate permeates the company’s culture and operating model, and has allowed KLA to navigate disruptions and overcome challenges in the global semiconductor supply chain.
“Our long-standing KLA operating model—which combines consistent strategic planning and execution, continuous improvement, and financial rigor to enhance shareholder value—ensures our company is prepared, organized, and agile when it comes to addressing shifts in the marketplace,” says CEO Rick Wallace. “Despite disruptions, the commitment and focus of our global teams kept our ability to deliver to our customers, invest in our long-term R&D and product road maps, and continue to make significant contributions to the semiconductor industry advances during the pandemic.”
As Wallace notes, employees are at the heart of the company’s most important breakthroughs and its ongoing ability to maximize shareholder value. “KLA’s employees are our priority stakeholders, and we have an unwavering commitment to them. With COVID came new challenges and stresses and highlighted the need for taking a whole person approach. We offered additional support programs specifically around managing stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. We offered workers more flexible hours, additional paid leave, and help with tutoring and childcare, and provided managers with remote team leadership training, encouraging them to check in regularly with employees on their well-being.”
The company has also committed millions of dollars to providing COVID-19 emergency relief, combating racial inequality, and driving social change on a global scale.
Innovation is central to KLA’s DNA, and the company’s R&D investments well exceed industry benchmarks, driving continuous advancements of the company’s product and technology portfolios. Even during the pandemic, KLA remained laser-focused on helping partners drive innovation, investing just under 15% of sales (over $875 million) back into R&D in 2020, enabling future advancements that advance humanity.
“Our mantra is that no technical challenge is too big or complex for our expert team of physicists, engineers, data scientists, and problem solvers,” says Wallace. “KLA is a place for curiosity, intellectual challenges, and industry transformation. We help create and enable advanced ideas that shape our current life and transform our future.”