f m sre liabilit y.co m
http://www.fmsreliability.co m/educatio n/reliability-o rganizatio n-part-1/
Reliability Organization part 1
Organizational Structure and Decision Making
Both organizational structure and decision-making policies have an impact on improving product reliability. T he
f ormer is more quantif iable whereas the latter involves more intangible subtleties. First, in this post I’ll discuss
the connection between organizational structure and reliability, and in a f ollow-up post I’ll address reliability and
decision f ocus, still within the structure of an organization.
T here is no single organizational structure that leads to improved product reliability perf ormance over any
other structure. Both centrally and distributed reliability teams have been successf ul and have f ailed to create
reliable products. Both small cross-f unctional teams and large f unctional silo organizations have been
successf ul and f ailed. Even the presence or absence of reliability prof essionals on staf f is not an indicator of
reliability perf ormance.
Top perf orming organizations use a common language around product reliability and possess a culture that
encourages and enables individuals to make inf ormed decisions related to reliability. Individuals across the
organization know their role to both use and share inf ormation essential to making decisions. T here is an
overriding context f or reliability decisions that balances the needs to meet customer expectations f or reliability
along with other criteria. Alignment exists among the organization’s mission, plans, priorities, and behaviors
related to reliability.
Product reliability is not the only element that benef its f rom a proactive culture. Whether top perf orming
organizations enjoy a proactive culture that naturally includes reliability activities to make decisions or evolved
while improving product reliability to become a proactive organization with collateral benef its f or other areas of
running the business remains unclear. T he latter is more likely, since it takes leadership to build and maintain a
proactive organization, although some organizations f ocus on building a proactive reliability program and
develop the benef its later in other f unctions of the business.
Moving the organizational block around the organizational chart may have some value, although it is not
directly related to improving product reliability. It entails a more f undamental change than developing the
reporting structures to transition f rom a reactive to proactive reliability program.