Product Reliability Participants Part 4 FMS Reliability
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Product Reliability Participants part 4
Reliability Participants within an Organization
T he last post moved into the role of Quality and Reliability Engineers, and the inf luence that leadership in
design and product development has on the product reliability process. Similarly, this post will move to Q & R
managers, again looking at the role of that position in relation to product reliability.
Quality and Reliability Managers
Like the Q & R engineer the Q & R manager plays a role with a broad scope within the organization, providing
advice, guidance, and f eedback to the rest of the organization on the Q & R objectives. T he scope may include
developing strategy, f acilitating interdepartmental cooperation, and providing oversight of a team of Q & R
prof essionals. Q & R managers of ten work directly with customers to understand their requirements, needs,
and objectives. T hey also work closely with suppliers to avoid or resolve supply chain impact on Q & R product
perf ormance. Whether with customers or suppliers the work may be proactively minimizing the adverse impact
to Q & R or reacting to Q & R issues. Like the Q & R engineer the Q & R manager’s most valuable service to
the organization and customer is accomplished proactively.
Setting clear Q & R goals and developing systems to predict and monitor progress toward those goals is
essential f or a proactive role. Identif ying risks, allocating resources, and promoting progress f or the
organizations approach to Q & R product perf ormance may involve changing the culture of the organization.
Consider the f ollowing example. Af ter an expensive f ield f ailure episode, the Q & R manager was tasked with
avoiding a similar product return situation in the f uture. He is given no budget and no personal and has a week
to come up with a plan. T he f ailure analysis of the current f ield f ailure cause revealed that the organization
knew about the issue in a previous product development project. In this program the product design team was
unaware of the previous discovery and f ailed to avoid the problem.
So the Q & R manager created a short list of f ield f ailure lessons learned. For example, ceramic capacitors are
like glass and their f racture reminded design teams to consider the f ragility of these common components. T he
manager’s f irst list had 16 items highlighting previous major f ield f ailure events. He then visited each product
design team program manager and asked what procedures needed to be implemented to avoid the 16 classes
of f ailure causes. For each item on the list the development team included a specif ic task, study, or test in the
product development plan. T his process raised awareness of the lessons learned.
T he Q & R manager then returned to the product design team at the f inal design review, just prior to launch,
and asked “What did you do to avoid each issue?” and ”Did your team actually proactively review and verif y the
risk?” If the team successf ully remembered the potential risk to increased f ield f ailures, he would approve the
design f or production.
In f ive years, the list has grown to 20 items and they have successf ully not repeated any of the previous
design errors that lead to major f ield f ailure events. T he process also created a culture in which product
reliability was deemed important and worth the investment to achieve the Q & R goals, as it directly impacted
the f ield f ailure rate and company prof itability.