Intel's supply chain chief says ready for mobile

SANTA CLARA, California Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:27pm EDT

Intel Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich is seen during an interview with Reuters at Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, California March 13, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Intel Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich is seen during an interview with Reuters at Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, California March 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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SANTA CLARA, California (Reuters) - Intel's manufacturing whiz and new chief operating officer, Brian Krzanich, says he has fine-tuned his supply chain to meet expected demand for chips for smartphones and tablets.

Krzanich, whose January promotion marks him as a forerunner to one day become chief executive, said his focus has been shortening turnaround times in the top chipmaker's cutting-edge factories -- improvements he said have become key in the fragmented mobile market.

"We will start to see more and more of our capacity and our output go to things that are mobile, like phones and tablets and other devices," Krzanich told Reuters.

Krzanich was already in charge of Intel's manufacturing, including a $12.5 billion capital spending budget for 2012, as well as much of the company's day-to-day operations.

As COO, he is now also in charge of Intel's IT and human resources departments.

Intel has fallen far behind in processors for smartphones and tablets like Apple's iPad, a market dominated by chips based on technology from Britain's ARM Holdings and made by companies like Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

The Santa Clara, California, chipmaker's new Medfield chip has been chosen for a few upcoming smartphones from Lenovo, Motorola Mobility and other manufacturers, accomplishments seen by Wall Street as a good start.

Intel is betting its lead in manufacturing technology will help it win more ground from rivals, and it is speeding up the rate at which it uses its most advanced factories to make mobile chips.

As head of manufacturing, Krzanich shortened the time it takes Intel to build a cutting-edge plant and launch it into production.

Krzanich, a three-decade Intel veteran, said that in the past five years he has halved the time it takes to manufacture a component, and cut by a similar amount the time it takes from receiving an order to delivering it.

"What have I brought to manufacturing? Speed and agility," he said. "That's exactly what the PC business and exactly what the phone business will need."

Chief Executive Otellini was COO until 2005. Vice Chairman Andy Bryant, named executive chairman last year, had been handling some of the COO duties before Krzanich was promoted.

(Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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