Bringing Operational Excellence to Enovix

5 min readApr 26, 2023


By Ajay Marathe, COO of Enovix

Nothing drives me more than if someone tells me: that’s impossible, it can’t be done.

After nearly four decades of solving “impossible” problems in industry, I have a much more optimistic view of what is possible. I’m as passionate today as I was fresh out of university. After receiving my Master’s in Industrial Engineering Operations Research, where I learned everything from queuing theory, optimizing manufacturing lines, productivity, yield and total cost of ownership, I was able to put my learning into practice and never looked back. Achieving operational excellence in high-volume manufacturing, including all of its complexities and challenges, is what I was meant to do.

Early in my career at Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) in the 1980s, it was an incredibly exciting time. AMD entered the X86 processor market, which powered PCs and other computing devices and became the instruction set that is still used today. IBM was one of the largest manufacturers of computer products in the world, and they were in negotiations with Intel. However, IBM was concerned about relying on a single manufacturer so it wanted Intel to license its technology to 3rd parties like AMD. That was 1981 and following the agreement between Intel and IBM, AMD began producing licensed X86 chips the next year.

Photo: Konstantin Lanzet — CPU Collection Konstantin Lanzet. CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1988, I was running high-volume manufacturing for AMD’s 80286 microprocessor. It was fast-paced and exhilarating. We were successfully producing millions of chips per year. Manufacturing in high volume is complex and requires systems working in concert with continued learning and improvements along the way. Our goal was to meet and exceed customer demand, providing “supply security” with the ultimate goal of driving down total cost of ownership. We had “in-line metrology,” which helps resolve defects before parts reach the end of the line. We knew our “mean time between failures” that enabled us to get ahead of anticipated problems. We also incorporated “LYT” or “low yield trigger” to find any defect as efficiently as possible. At the same time, we were scrutinizing our metrics to minimize waste and remove activities not valuable to the production process using “Lean Manufacturing” principles, with the goal of passing on efficiencies and savings to our customers. Those of us in industry understand these frameworks well, and there are a plethora of acronyms and processes that we rely on to achieve operational excellence.

Throughout my 23 years at AMD I served many roles. I began as an Engineering Manager, then moved to Director of Global Supply Chain, and eventually Thailand Plant Manager. Later, I was Vice President of Operations of the 2,500-employee Computation Products Group and after that, I was Vice President of Operations for Worldwide Assembly and Test. My last role at AMD was President of AMD India. Throughout all of these roles, I continued to hone my skills and sharpen my expertise using the same tried and tested frameworks. After AMD, I had a similar challenge as Chief Operating Officer of Lumileds, a $1.4 billion lighting company, where we had to ensure that every LED had the right color, temperature and flux (brightness). We worked to achieve the highest long-term reliability and quality that was measured in “parts per billion.” We did all of this year after year, ramping vertically for some of the most challenging mobile phone and automotive customers.

Now, I have an incredible opportunity to bring my experience to Enovix. Since joining in November of last year, we’ve made tremendous progress on our journey to scale. We are moving at extraordinary speed and applying operational excellence to everything we do. A few highlights:

· We took learnings from our Gen 1 production line and applied them to our Gen 2 Autoline. Our Gen 2 Autoline is anticipated to increase battery manufacturing throughput by over 10x compared to the Gen 1 line. The principal enhancements involve increased levels of automation, parallelism and in-line metrology. When fully ramped, the Gen 2 Autoline 1 will have the capacity to produce more than nine million batteries annually. View a short video here where I explain the 10x throughput increase.

Gen 2 equipment will run over 10x faster than Gen 1

· After applying our operational excellence frameworks to our systems in Fab 1 in Fremont, Calif., we achieved gains in yield, throughput and machine uptime during the first quarter of this year. We’re on track to produce 180,000 wearable-size cells and just over 5,000 pre-production smartphone-sized cells in 2023.

· We ordered our Gen 2 “Agility Line,” which is our next generation R&D line that will be located in Fab 1. It is designed to enable quick changeover to accommodate various battery cell sizes and to facilitate building, testing and qualifying new and custom cells before they are introduced into a high-volume manufacturing environment. Our Agility Line is designed to increase the speed of our customer qualification process and accelerate time-to-market for new, custom cells. This line is an important component of our planned success in 2024 and beyond.

· We announced Fab 2, our first high-volume manufacturing site, which will be located Penang, Malaysia. We established Enovix Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (“Enovix Malaysia”) and have already hired dozens of highly qualified, manufacturing operations experts and business leaders. Fab 2 is designed to support our planned growth and scale-up and we anticipate beginning production in 2024.

· We signed a non-binding Letter of Intent with YBS International Berhad (“YBS”) (MESDAQ: YBS:KLS), a Malaysia-based investment holding company that has segments including electronic manufacturing and assembly, high-precision engineering, precision machining and stamping, among others. YBS intends to take a significant financial stake in our Gen 2 Autoline 1 capital expenditures, as well as providing the building and labor required to run the line by working with multiple financial institutions, with minimum purchase requirements from Enovix. Malaysia, and especially the Penang region, is rich with semiconductor-trained engineers who have a manufacturing-excellence mindset.

Understanding how to improve our Gen 2 equipment and Agility Line, improving our manufacturing processes and establishing Fab 2 are intended to enable us to begin producing millions of batteries.

The founders of Enovix created a game-changing technology. We believe our value proposition — performance, safety and quality, is unmatched and we are poised to disrupt the industry. We have infused the silicon mindset and operational excellence into Enovix. With this, I am confident we will be the leader in advanced next-generation batteries that power the technologies of the future. And if anyone tells me it can’t be done, it’s impossible, I say, thank you for the motivation, now sit back and follow our progress at




Enovix Corporation (Nasdaq: ENVX) is an advanced silicon battery company with locations in Fremont, CA; Penang, Malaysia; Hyderabad, India.