Reliability Value FMS Reliability


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What is reliability management? Reliability Engineering? Would a product design or an organization benefit with a focus on reliability management and engineering? What is the value of a focus on reliability?

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Reliability Value FMS Reliability

  1. 1. f msreliabilit Reliability Value What is reliability management? Reliability Engineering? Would a product design or an organization benef it with a f ocus on reliability management and engineering? What is the value of a f ocus on reliability? Any organization, that develops and produces products, has resource limits. It may be talent, capabilities, time, f unding, or some combination of these. Yet, the goal to create a product that meets customer expectations includes the concept of product reliability. The product should provide the expected f unctions over time, without f ailure. This expected product reliability occurs, even if the design requirements and advertising do not explicitly mention product reliability. For example, consider a laptop that needs a new power supply. When this situation came up, my f irst thought was how old the machine was. Is it still under warranty? Then my thoughts turned to the inconvenience of either being without my laptop during the repair period, or the hassle of moving over to a new machine. If the machine was only a f ew months old, it would likely still be under warranty, yet my dissatisf action would be higher. It shouldn’t have failed so soon. If the machine was f ive years old, that’s a dif f erent story. I’d have had many years of use and if this was the f irst f ailure, I’d have gotten a lot of value. Besides, it may well be time to upgrade to a new machine. The inconvenience of a repair or new machine, while not totally alleviated, is still much less. Value of Product Reliability The primary value of product reliability is in meeting the customer’s expectation that the product will work as intended f or suf f icient time. The market rejects products that f ail of ten, and desires products that ‘just work’. Creating a reputation f or a reliable product assists in increasing sales. An extension of the value that consumers place on reliability is the willingness to pay a premium f or products with high reliability. Automobiles, computers, printers, appliances and test equipment are all examples where products known f or high reliability charge a premium. Its worth it, as the cost of downtime during a f ailure more than outweighs the additional purchase expense. For the business creating a reliable product, it creates value in a similar manner. Products that are sought af ter and command a price premium lead to higher sales and higher prof it margins. Additionally, the lower f ailure rates reduce the warranty expenses, which f urther increases the prof it margin. Yes, it may cost more in materials to create a durable product, but it returns rewards of higher customer satisf action, market share, and prof it margin.
  2. 2. Reliability Engineering Reliability engineering is an engineering f ield that deals with the study, evaluation, and lif e-cycle management of reliability: the ability of a system or component to perf orm its required f unctions under stated conditions f or a specif ied period of time.[1] Reliability engineering includes the use of statistics, data analysis, experimental design, customer and environmental surveys, component and product testing, f ailure analysis, design, manuf acturing, procurement, and at times marketing and f inance. It is a broad set of skills, and the proper application of reliability tools and techniques generally permit an organization to create a reliable product. I like the role due the span of tasks and disciplines. While some reliability engineers will specialize on one area of the f ield, say accelerated testing, others may f ind a role that spans nearly every f unction within an organization. The ability to inf luence and create a product the meets the customer’s reliability perf ormance expectations is both challenging and rewarding. Reliability Management The oversight and control of reliability activities is a management role. Some organizations have a dedicated reliability manager, others a senior reliability engineer, and in others reliability management is part of the organizations management f unctions. There is no one right way to organize to accomplish improved product reliability. It is more the f ocus, brought across the organization, on the impact of decisions on the resulting product’s reliability perf ormance. The management of reliability, like reliability engineering, may involve working closely with many f unctions throughout an organization. Reliability engineering and management are very similar. The f ormer works to implement activities and analysis that enables the creation of a reliable product. The latter does the same though the allocation of resources to enable the right activities and analysis. The organization that includes reliability considerations (i.e. requirements, predictions, risks, evaluations, analysis) deliberately and uses the inf ormation to guide decisions across the organization will create reliable products. Those that ignore or isolate reliability to a limited role within the organization are less likely to create a reliable product. The actual individual titles are less important than the reliability engineering activities and decisions. The reliability engineering skills are part of any engineering discipline; with some practice and encouragement nearly all engineers have the capability. The management skills are similar to any other product producing organizational set of skills. The ability to coordinate activities, allocate resources, and f ocus on reliability is augmented with a solid understanding of reliability engineering tools and techniques, just with any other management task. See also articles on ALT, Derating, and HALT Value. How is your organization addressing product reliability? Do decisions include the impact on product reliability? Do you see the value? [1] < Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (1990) IEEE Standard Computer Dictionary: A Compilation of IEEE Standard Computer Glossaries. New York, NY ISBN 1-55937-079-3>