Product Reliability Participants part 6 FMS Reliability
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Product Reliability Participants part 6
Reliability Participants within an Organization
In this installment of the series dealing with the myriad participants within an organization, we’ll start with
f ailure analysis specialists, bef ore moving to marketing and sales, and f inally getting to the f inance team. We’re
moving away f rom the positions where the f ocus on reliability is central, but there are important considerations
in relation to product reliability f or each of these roles still. T he next post in this series will be the f inal one.
Failure Analysis Specialists
Many organizations do little more than isolate the f aulty components and return them to supplier f or analysis.
T his process rarely results in accurate or rapid resolution of product f ailures resulting f rom design,
manuf acturing, or supplier issues. T he role of a f ailure analyst is to collect f ailure inf ormation and determine
the root cause. Some organizations have large well-staf f ed f ailure analysis (FA) labs and provide detailed
root-cause analysis. Every organization should have basic diagnostic and troubleshooting equipment and staf f
trained in basic FA techniques.
For issues that go beyond the internal f ailure analysis capabilities, the role of the FA specialists is to work with
outside FA labs (not the supplier lab) to determine the root cause of the product f ailure.
Marketing and Sales Staf f
T he primary role of the marketing and sales teams is to create demand and book sales, but they also act as
both consumers and providers of reliability inf ormation. First, these teams should understand and convey
accurate inf ormation about the product’s reliability perf ormance. Second, these teams should understand and
convey accurate inf ormation about customer expectations and requirements to the rest of the organization.
Warranty accruals and expenses of ten reside solely in the domain of f inance. An understanding of basic
reliability principles and prediction inf ormation can dramatically increase the accuracy of the accruals. In one
organization the product development teams created detailed and accurate models of f uture f ield f ailures and
sent the f inance team Weibull cumulative distribution plots covering the expected product lif etime. Because the
f inance team did not know how to read these plots, they arbitrarily selected the midpoint f rom each graph f or
use in warranty accrual estimates. With just a little training and understanding the accrual accuracy increased
100 f old, thereby saving the organization f rom major swings in warranty expense accounting.