Fall-Winter 2005

Ops A La Carte LLC
(408) 472-3889
Fax: 408-255-5789
Email: news@opsalacarte.com
Website: www.opsalacarte.com

Theme this newsletter:

COURSES and SEMINARS- Both public and in-house courses
EVENTS - Workshops and Symposiums
1) Free Admission to RAMS
2) Half-Off Warranty Seminar
3) Free Admission to Warranty Chain Management Symposium
NEWS - Ops A La Carte in the news
FEATURED SERVICE - Designing for Warranty Cost Reduction
PROBLEM SOLVER - Solve this month's problem and win a prize
ADVERTISEMENTS - Advertise here and watch your business grow
JOB OPENINGS - Looking for a job? Check our new section here !


Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) Preparation Course (pdf) - Jan 10 - Feb 28, 2006
To register, email us at CRECourse@opsalacarte.com
For details see the Ops A La Carte Schedule


The following is a list of all our public seminars for the the next few months. Most of our seminars are taught as in-house tailored seminars. To view a list of all our seminars, please go to the Ops A La Carte Course List

Designing for Warranty Cost Reduction (1 day)
Feb 16, 2006 Sunnyvale (with De Anza College CACT)
May 5, 2006 Santa Clara (with Hobbs Engineering)

Warranty costs for the computer and other high tech industries were greater than $6.2 billion in 2004. Less than 35% of that was material costs; the majority was related to support process costs. Consequently, product design teams are being challenged to reduce the warranty costs by both improving product reliability (AFR) and designing in less expensive warranty support processes (i.e., customer self diagnostics and repair). This 1 day seminar will introduce a proven warranty event cost model and supporting methodologies that help teams identify warranty cost reduction solutions which integrate both component failure rate reduction strategies and strategies that shift the support process mix to less expensive processes. The warranty cost model constructs the cost of warranty events from both event frequencies and the specific support process costs used to resolve each event. Case studies will be presented describing how teams used this model to: analyze warranty costs by event type, prioritize what events needed cost reduction options, and develop cost saving estimates for each prioritized event. In the afternoon the class will explore and practice using methods to rank the feasibility of proposed design options by identifying all diagnostic tools, product features and support tools/capabilities needed to realize its potential cost savings. Finally, how these models and tools integrate with FMEA and other reliability planning tools will be explored.

Design for Reliability (2 days)
Mar 20-21, 2006 Tampa, FL (with Hobbs Engineering)
April 6-7, 2006 Sunnyvale, CA (with De Anza College CACT)
May 1-2, 2006 San Jose, CA (with Hobbs Engineering)

This seminar will highlight a series of Selected Reliability topics and will answer the question of why each technique is important. We will also introduce how to use each technique. The major topics we will cover are: FMEA, Design Defect Tracking (FRACAS), Thermal Design, Component Stress Derating, Design of Experiments/Reliability Statistics, Supplier Reliability Management, Environmental Testing, and HALT. This seminar will help you define reliability goals, metrics, plans and schedules and then manage the activities, all within a product life cycle perspective. It will also monitor and improve processes to measure reliability related costs. From this seminar, you will be able to establish and monitor processes to track reliability growth as well as assist production and supply chain groups in reliability assurance strategy development. This seminar is targeted at the engineers responsible for product reliability who will be using these reliability techniques.

For details see the Ops A La Carte Schedule

OTHER SEMINARS COMING IN 2006 - inquire if interested at education@opsalacarte.com
Mechanical Design for IC Packaging
Design for Manufacturability (DfM)
Design for Testability (DfT)
Design for 6 Sigma (DfSS)
Design for 'X' (DfX)
Design of Experiments (DoE)
HALT and HASS Application
Statistics for 6 Sigma
Design for Climatic Conditions
Design for Vibration and Shock
Software Reliability

For details on these NEW seminars, see the Ops A La Carte Course List


RAMS 2006 - Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS) 2006 - Jan 23-26, 2006, Los Angeles, CA
Ops A La Carte shall be participating in and presenting at the 2006 RAM Symposium. This symposium is the single largest reliability symposium in the world and features presentations from the most renown reliability practitioners. We are proud to be among this elite group of presenters. Check website for details on the schedule of events. We shall also have a booth at the show. Come visit us at the show in January!

RoHS: The Countdown to Compliance - Special FREE Seminar on Last Minute Details You Need to Know before the Deadline - Feb 9, 2006 at Quanta Labs
Like the rest of the electronics industry, your products will transition to Removal of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliance prior to the deadline in July, 2006. This includes the transition to Lead-Free Solder, and at this time, there are significant reliability uncertainties around Lead-Free Solder. Even if your product does not need to be compliant, the materials and processes that make up your product are changing. As one major consumer product team concluded, doing nothing would double the field failure rate of the electronics. During this time of rapid transition, there is a significant new body of knowledge to understand to determine the areas of greatest risk to the reliability of your product. In this presentation, we will highlight a few of these significant risk areas and how to best mitigate these risks during the transition.

Warranty Chain Management (WCM) Conference - Largest conference of the year devoted to warranty issues - Mar 1-2, 2006, Las Vegas
Ops A La Carte shall be participating in and presenting at the 2006 Warranty Chain Management Conference. This conference is the single largest conference dedicated to warranty issues. The theme this year is "Adding Value to Warranty Management Through Process Improvement". Check website for details on the schedule of events.

Warranty is no longer just a concern for automotive and appliance companies. Practically every industry has to deal with warranty issues these days.

HALT Results on Lead Free Products, part of QualMark's Ask the Expert's Panel Series - Mar 16, 2006, 8-9am, Teleconference
Ops A La Carte has developed a substantial amount of data over the past several months performing comparison HALT's between lead free and leaded products and will share these results as well as how to properly perform the tests to get the best comparison. HALT has been an extremely useful tool in qualifying new lead-free products and we will show you how to use it this way.

Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Tour of a HALT Facility - Mar 16, 2006, 4-6pm, Santa Clara, CA
Visit the oldest HALT facility on the West Coast (founded in 1995) and the only test facility in Northern California with QualMark's patented xLF low frequency vibrators.

For details on these events, go to Ops A La Carte Events


This month, we have three special offers:

Contest to Win a Free Entrance to RAMS Write to us your most technically interesting failure mechanism. The winner receives a free pass to this year's Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS) in January, 2006 in Los Angeles. This symposium is the single largest reliability symposium in the world and features presentations from the most renown reliability practitioners. Check RAMS website for details on the schedule of events. This is a $950 value. To enter, submit your responses to RAMScontest@opsalacarte.com

Half-Off Admission to the "Design for Warranty Cost Reduction" Seminar In this newsletter, our featured article is on Warranty Cost Reduction and in conjunction with this, we are offering half-off admission to our "Design for Warranty Cost Reduction" seminar to the first 5 people that email us with the correct answer to our question in the "Problem Solver" section of this quarter's newsletter. This is a $250 value. Please email your solution to Problemsolver@opsalacarte.com

Win a Free Entrance to "Warranty Chain Management" Seminar This symposium is the single largest symposium dedicated to warranty issues. There are several ways to win: Engage us in either our Design for Warranty service or our Warranty Performance Analysis service, or send two people to our "Design for Warranty Cost Reduction" seminar on February 16th. First 5 people that qualify will win. This is a $1175 value. If interested, email to Warrantyservices@opsalacarte.com


Ops A La Carte’s leadership roles in the area of Reliability:

Ops A La Carte welcomes 3 new consultants to our team. Please welcome Sorin Witzman, Bob Mueller, and Greg Swartz. Sorin is the technical chariman of the local iMAPs chapter and brings a wealth of experience in the areas of Supplier Qualification, Supply Chain Management, and in the physical design of electronic components and IC packaging. Bob is a 30 year veteran out of HP who brings knowledge and experience in the areas of Warranty and Software Reliability. Greg is a veteran of Quality Statistics and Process Improvement, and is also our CQE instructor. Each consultants' profile is shown on our Our Team's webpage.

Ops A La Carte's Fred Schenkelberg is on the committee creating the IEEE guide 1624, a guideline for Reliability Assessment called "Organizational Reliability Capability". This document is due out Summer 2006.

Ops A La Carte's Mike Silverman, also chair of the IEEE Reliability Society of Silicon Valley, created an agreement with the ESD Society of Silicon Valley to hold joint meetings and cross market each other's society functions.

Ops A La Carte's Fred Schenkelberg is on the RAMS management committee which met to put the final touches on this year's symposium to be held in Los Angeles in January, 2006.

November 16 - Ops A La Carte's Mike Silverman is a guest presenter at the monthly Project Management Special Interest Group.

October 22 - Ops A La Carte's Mike Silverman is a keynote speaker at the annual IEEE Consultants' Business Seminar. Our topic was on "How to Have a Banner Year", highlighting our consulting company's phenomenal growth over the past 12 months and how we did it.

October 18 - Risks during a Restriction on Hazardous Materials (RoHS) Transition (pdf) at Wilson Sonsini Law Offices in Palo Alto, sponsored by Alliance of Service Providers in Manufacturing (ASPMFG).

October 12 - Ops A La Carte is a co-sponsor to the American Society Of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) annual Industrial Relations Dinner. Key members of the national office were there as well as over 60 distinuighed members of the local ASME chapter.

Presentations for the above events are available for download on the Resources Page of our website.

For more information on news, please visit our News Page or call (408) 472-3889.

Design for Warranty & Warranty Prediction Services

Have you ever been surprised when that new product you launched 6 months ago had warranty costs 2X higher than expected? This is, in fact, a common occurrence. With warranty costs in the computer and high tech electronic industries passing $6.2 billion annually, it also has a large impact on business profitability.

Product development teams are being challenged to design products that are both less costly to fix and more reliable (AFR). During Design for Warranty & Warranty Prediction, we identify and analyze the most likely and costly warranty events and develop design alternatives to reduce warranty costs. We then select the best design alternatives based on projected warranty savings, manufacturing costs, and design feasibility. From these, the whole product warranty cost prediction is developed and compared to product goals. Finally the deliverables of this service are integrated into your Reliability Plan.

The first step is to construct a warranty cost model for the product. The model constructs the cost of warranty events from the support process costs used by your company to resolve it and the event's frequency of occurrence. We do this to identify the material, labor, call center and overhead cost contributions for each of the major support processes used to 'service' events. With this information we can build a complete cost picture for the most likely warranty events for the new product. We often find that for many warranty events, the material cost is not the dominant cost. Consider the following Pareto chart of one product's warranty costs. Each stacked bar represents the total cost of all occurrences for a single warranty event in a year; process cost elements (labor, travel, material, call center) are displayed as colored segments of the stacked bar. As you can see material costs (yellow) vary from 5% to 65% of an event's total cost! While reducing a component's failure rate is one way to reduce cost, designing a product to use less expensive support processes to resolve the event is an equally important design choice for cost reduction.

Another valuable analytical technique is to compare alternative designs on a total warranty cost savings and a cost to implement basis. Consider the example depicted in the next figure. The design team has identified two potential design alternatives for a specific warranty event. The first cuts the AFR of the offending component by half. The second requires that the customer can self-diagnose and self-repair the product, with support for both from the call center.

Notice that Alternative 2 (Self-fix) reduces the warranty burden 25% more than Alternative 1 (Reduce AFR by 1/2). Of course an alternative that combines both AFR reductions and shifts the warranty event intervention to a less costly process might even be better! As part of this comparison process, we also identify dependencies on needed diagnostic tools and support process capabilities. Each design alternative is also scored for both feasibility and risk. For example, the above self-fix alternative needs diagnostic tools that have a high development risk and would not be the alternative to choose. The techniques used in Design for Warranty & Warranty Prediction are valuable to the development team: they allow the team to express the value of design alternatives in terms that everyone in the business understands - warranty dollars savings.

For more information on these services, please click on the following links: Design for Warranty and Warranty Performance Analysis. You can also email us at info@opsalacarte.com or call (408) 472-3889.


A product design team is developing an upgraded version of a current product. It is a high volume computer product. The current product has significant warranty issues that must be addressed. One issue requires on-site service calls to replace a $200 component with a total event cost of $720 (total service process costs of labor= $300, travel=$200, Material=$200,Call-center=$10, service overhead=$10). With the current component's annual failure rate (AFR) and the number of units under warranty, 700 such warranty events occurs annually. Design redundancy is not an option. The team has identified two design alternatives.

Alternative Design 'A' would cut the components AFR by 1/2 with cost premium of 30%.

Alternative Design 'B' would use the current component but would allow for the customer to easily self-install the a replacement component ( new service costs of call-center= $50, service-overhead= $50). Alternative 'B' requires a new diagnostic tool that will cost $40,000 to develop and deploy to the service organization. The tool will positively identify the component as the root cause only 90% of the time. The remaining 10% of the time, the computer will need to be diagnosed and repaired by a authorized service rep. Marketing has signed an agreement with an ASP to do this service for $150/event plus parts cost.

What is the warranty cost saving for both alternatives 'A' and 'B'?

The Reliability, Maintainability, and Supportability Partnership (RMS/P) organization's goal is to enhance communication, coordination and collaboration between industry and government in a manner that will encourage individuals and organizations to adopt an integrated systems engineering approach, or end-to-end management approach, when addressing RMS issues. The RMS Partnership also encourages individuals, professional societies, and industry associations to develop, use and maintain world-class RMS non-government standards. The RMS Partnership publishes a quarterly newsletter which is freely available on the Web site. Membership in the RMS Partnership is open to individuals and organizations interested in being on the cutting edge of RMS issues and initiatives both nationally and internationally.

Ops A La Carte's newsletter goes out to over 4000 subscribers. If you would like to advertise in next quarter's "Reliability News", email us at advertise@opsalacarte.com or call at (408) 472-3889.

Reliability Engineer Job Description

Microsoft is a world leader in the design of personal computer input devices.

We are currently looking for a creative and talented individual with a passion for technology to drive reliability and qualification of hardware products to advance PC Hardware's leadership position in exceeding our consumers' durability expectations.

The candidate's primary responsibility will be development and implementation of methodologies/ techniques to enhance product reliability. The candidate will be required to analyze and verify engineering design concepts of electro and optical mechanical products using simulation and test tools. He/she will be expected to propose design improvement based on analyses results. Candidate should be able to perform Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to evaluate product (mechanical) functional performance as well as address overstress and fatigue-related durability problems.

The applicant should understand Physics-of-Failure and be able to develop and implement accelerated tests to mitigate risks and qualify engineering designs during product development. She/he is expected to be familiar with using acceleration models for common failure modes in electronic products to estimate product service life. Candidate should be capable of applying Design of Experiments (DOE) concepts to develop test plans to improve product robustness and performance. The individual should be able to use knowledge of product design and manufacturing to develop Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA). Knowledge of statistical techniques and models is required to analyze test data and estimate product life cycle performance.

At the component level, the individual will work to develop reliability specifications for discrete components used in PCB assembly. He/she will be responsible for component qualification activity for components that are critical and strategic to Microsoft product requirements. The candidate will be expected to use knowledge of process capability for electronic component production as well as system-level performance requirements to establish critical to quality and reliability metrics. An engineer in this role will be responsible for implementing low cost part procurement strategies while minimizing component performance and reliability risk. The candidate will use knowledge of electronic package design as well as qualification methodologies for silicon and packages to support qualification of ASICs developed internally at Microsoft.

This role will require engagement on multiple products with cross-functional teams. Strong skill-set in analysis and problem solving as well as communication are required. Candidates must be able to travel internationally.


Masters degree in Physics, Electrical, Mechanical or Materials Engineering or a related field.

Five years work experience in:

* Product design risk analysis using analytical tools;

* reliability and life estimation of electro-mechanical products using computer aided engineering design tools, statistics and finite element models;

* developing mechanical functioning, environmental stress and accelerated life tests to evaluate product performance;

Proven experience in working with external design and manufacturing partners is a plus.

For complete job description or to submit your resume please email malk@microsoft.com.

Principal Engineer for Reliability and Test Development

Cooligy, Inc. has an immediate opening for a reliability and test engineer who will be responsible for materials, component, and product performance testing, accelerated environmental stress testing (in house and outsourced), and for data acquisition methodology and analysis. You will be expected to evaluate and develop innovative solutions (design, material selection) that directly impact system performance, such as noise, packaging, manufacturability and reliability. You will support the product development and manufacturing teams from design through conformance tests, regulatory approvals and standard compliance. Requirements: BS/MS/Ph.D. in Material Science, Chemical Engineering, Applied Physics or related field with minimum 5 years of experience, preferably in a product based development company with focus on reliability engineering. For complete job description or to submit your resume please email hr@cooligy.com or call (650) 417-0306.

Senior Reliability Consultants Needed !

Ops A La Carte is looking for Senior Reliability Consultants around the world with their own consulting practice to join our team of consultants and work on some of the most exciting and challenging projects in the industry. If interested, please email hr@opsalacarte.com or call (408) 472-3889.

Ops A La Carte's newsletter goes out to over 4000 subscribers. If you would like to put a job opening in next quarter's "Reliability News", email us at jobopenings@opsalacarte.com or call at (408) 472-3889.

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