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Spring 2011

Ops A La Carte LLC
(408) 654-0499
Fax: (408) 986-8154

Theme for this newsletter:
FREE Webinar Series


COURSES/SEMINARS - Symposium, Webinar Series, CQE
EVENTS - Book Signing, MD&M, ARS
SPECIAL OFFERS - Take a Self Assessment
NEWS - OPS turns 10, New Consultant in Europe, more
RELIABILITY BLOG - Highlights of Last Quarter's Blogs
PROBLEM SOLVER - Take a Self Assessment
JOB OPENINGS - Ops A La Carte, Sentient, Deeya Energy


Welcome to our 25th quarterly newsletter. Our newsletter comes out the first week of March, June, September,and December. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

My book "How Reliable Is Your Product: 50 Ways to Improve Your Product Reliability" is now out and sales are going very well. We have also received some great reviews from very reputable magazines. Here are a few of the reviews: PCB News review, ECN Magazine review, SMT Magazine review, review.

The book is available for purchase at SuperStar Press or You can preview the First 3 Chapters at How Reliable Is Your Product.

Clients ask us often how to evaluate their reliability program. The best method is a Reliability Assessment. We created this quick Self-Assessment tool you can use to get a baseline of your reliability program. See the Problem Solver section for a special offer if you take our Self-Assessment.

In January, I visited Taiwan, China, and Japan and met with our distributors/partners there. In Taiwan, our distributor is Chroma. In China, our partner is Sinorel. And in Japan, our distributor is Toyo Corporation. In Japan, I was honored to have the opportunity to present a 1 day seminar on HALT Integrated into a Reliability Program to 42 engineers from many of the top companies in Japan from a variety of industries.

The rest of last quarter was equally busy between conferences, events, and tons of new business. We have seen a huge upswing in the demand for our consulting, testing, and educational services.

At the end of January, we were at RAMS and gave a record number of presentations among all our consultants. We also had our book for sale and exceeded our expectations on the demand.

Our new 2011 Education Schedule is now available including our annual reliability symposium May 9-13. You can also view all of our events on our google calendar below. Also, we just released our free Free Webinars calendar where we will be giving a free webinar the first Wednesday of each month. Our next three webinars will be Solar Reliability, DfSS, and Prognostics.

We hope you enjoy the following newsletter. Our next newsletter will come out June 1st. Thank you for your continued support and interest.

- Mike Silverman, Managing Partner/Founder


2011 Reliability Symposium. May 9-13 in Santa Clara, California

Design for Reliability (DfR): May 9-10
Design for 6 Sigma (DfSS): May 11
Design for Mechanical Reliability (DfMR): May 12
Design for Warranty (DfW): May 13 morning
Design for Software Reliability (DfS): May 13 afternoon

Design of Experiments (DOE): May 9-10
Best Accelerated Reliability Tests (BART): May 11-12
Root Cause Analysis (RCA): May 13

One of our courses, Design for Climatic Testing, is being offered through ERI throughout the year in different locations around the world. Please let us know if you are interested in bringing this seminar into our symposium.

For more info, please Contact Us Info

Reliability Seminar Series, Singapore

About Event: Ricky Chew from our Singapore office will be teaching the followiing seminars next quarter.
Design for Climatic Testing April 20
Best Accelerated Reliability Tests (BART) May 18
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) June 15
Design for Reliability (DfR) July 20

For more info, please Contact Us Info

2011 Free Webinar Series - First Wednesday of Each Month 11:30am-1pm PST

About Event: On the first Wednesday of each month, we will bring you a free webinar topic. Below is our line-up for the next three months.

Tuesday April 5th - Reliability in the Universe of Solar Products, by Ops A La Carte and Concurrent Design (note that for this event only, it will be the First Tuesday of the Month). Register at:

Wednesday May 4th - Reliability and Quality Engineering Integration using DFSS and DFR Methods, by Ops A La Carte. Register at:

Wednesday June 1st - How to Use HALT with Prognostics, by Ops A La Carte and the Ridgetop Group. Register at:

See the Featured Service section below for more info on each webinar or click on the registration link.

For more info, please Contact Us Info


Course: Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) Preparation Course 
Date(s): Apr 12 - May 24, 2011
Time: 6pm-10pm one night a week, 7 weeks
Instructor: Greg Swartz and Pat McMahon, Ops A La Carte
Length: 7 weeks
Cost: $1295. We offer 25% discount for those taking via webinar or for unemployed or for students not getting reimbursed.
Location: San Jose, CA. Also offered via webinar for out of town students.

Description: Becoming certified as a Quality Engineer (CQE) can be valuable to your employer and your career. We are offering this Exam Preparation Course. Students have found it very valuable in preparing for the exam. Even if you are not planning on taking the exam but need a good, in-depth course in Quality Engineering, this can benefit you substantially.

Course Webpage: CQE Course by Ops A La Carte

For information on other course offerings go to: Ops A La Carte Schedule. All our courses are offered as in-house tailored seminars. To view a list of all our seminars, go to Ops A La Carte Course List


"How Reliable Is Your Product" Book Signing Meetup Event

WHAT: Improve Your Product Reliability and Delight Your Customers 
DATE: March 22, 2011, 5:30-8:30pm 
COST: $20 fee until March 20th, ($25 from March 21st) 
NOTE: Get a free copy of Mike's Book "How Reliable is Your Product" 
BOOK INFO: http://www.happyabout... 
LOCATION: 990 Richard Ave., Suite 101, Santa Clara, CA 95050
REGISTER: RSVP in the space above 
MAKE PAYMENT: Use this url [] to pay with credit card or PayPal 
5:30-6:30 Signup and networking 
6:30-7:30 Interactive talk with Mike Silverman 
7:30-7:50 Announcements 
7:50-8:30 Additional networking

Have you had a recall or major failure in the field? Have you ever missed customers’ expectations for quality or reliability? Have you ever shipped a product before it was ready? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should attend this meeting. Mike Silverman will be talking about all of this and more from his new book “How Reliable Is Your Product: 50 Ways to Improve Product Reliability.”

Mike will reveal tried and true methodologies, best practices and lessons learned from reliability testing at over 500 companies in 100 different industries.

During this session, Mike will cover: 

- Practical guide to improving your product reliability
- Case studies/examples of companies and industries that are leaders in reliability
- Pitfalls to avoid when developing new products
- How to optimize reliability, maximize profits, and delight your customers

For more info, pleaseContact Us Info

Reliability and Safety Workshop, Greenwich London UK - April 14, 2011

About Event: Safety and reliability are essentially emergent properties of a product, process, system or undertaking. Safety as a duty of care placed on all purveyors of products and services is regulated by law, whereas reliability has been regulated by the market it is no longer solely a commercial choice. Consequently, there are many synergies between the two domains that had been viewed as separate disciplines. This joint workshop will explore the common grounds between these two essential properties with the help of industrial and academic experts and aim to provide systemic insights into an integrated approach.

OPS' Bob Page will be presenting a workshop on "Meeting Mandatory Design Reliability Requirements".

For more info, please Contact Us Info

MD&M New York - June 6, 2011

About Event: As one of industry's original medical device conference, MD&M East is dedicated to offering the East Coast's premier conference program for research and development, design, engineering, manufacturing, and regulatory affairs professionals within the medical manufacturing industry. Attendees will benefit from a unique combination of presentations from high-level medical device industry professionals, the FDA, and some of industry's leading experts.

OPS' Mike Silverman will be giving a one day seminar at the conference entitled "Medical Reliability Testing". Co-presenting the seminar will be Rick Casler, CTO of iWalk, makers of the first bionic lower leg system.

For more info, please Contact Us Info

Applied Reliability Symposium (ARS), San Diego - June 7-9, 2011

About Event: The ARS provides a forum for expert presenters from industry and government to come together with reliability practitioners from all over the world to discuss the application of reliability principles to meet real world challenges.

OPS' Mike Silverman will be presenting our paper "What Is DfR and What Is Not DfR". We will also have a booth to exhibit our new services. We will also have copies of Mike's new book.

For more info, please Contact Us Info

Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) Conference - June 20-23, 2011

About Event: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, Availability, and Effectiveness of Systems through PHM Technology and Application

OPS' Mike Silverman will be presenting a paper on "Use of HALT and HASS with Prognostics"

For more info, please Contact Us Info

IEEE Reliability Society Monthly Talks - 1st Thursday of every month 7-9pm PST

About Event: We hold meetings once a month, first Thursday of every month (with the exception of the January meeting). Ops A La Carte's managing partner Mike Silverman is Chair of the society chapter and Ops A La Carte's Fred Schenkelberg is Vice Chair.

April 13, 2011: Estimating Field Failure Rate from HALT (in conjunction with ASQ Statistics Society)

We will also start to have tours to different facilities in the bay area once a quarter. The next two tours will be:

March 23, 2011: Railroad Museum, sponsored by PSES and IEEE RS.

June, 2011: Tour of HALT and HASS Labs, sponsored by IEEE RS.

You can find more information about our events at

For more info, please Contact Us Info

2011 Lunch and Learn Series - 2nd Thursday of Each Month 11:30am-1:30pm PST

About Event: On the 2nd Thursday of each month, the Product Realization Group will host a Lunch and Learn Series with different topics each month. We will post the 2011 line-up in the next few weeks.

For more info, please Contact Us Info

SPECIAL OFFERS With the economy picking up, we find many of our customers so buried that they don't have time to stop to ask for help or get the paperwork put through to get the funding. Well now we have a simple solution. From now through the end of May we are offering 1 hour of free consultation to anyone who mentions this offer. No strings attached. We will come in and give you our expert advice on any issues you are having.

Email us via our Special Offers Contact Form



All presentations that we gave can be found on the technical download section of our website at Technical Papers.

- May 1, 2011 Ops A La Carte Turns 10 Years Old

On May 1st, 2011, Ops A La Carte officially turns 10 years old. In these past 10 years, we grew from an an idea to a global consulting firm with customers in over 100 different industries in over 30 different countries. Thank you all for your patronage over this past decade.

Event: Implantable Medical Device Design for Reliability
Date: Thursday March 3, 2011, 10:30am-1pm
Location: Santa Clara, CA

About Event: Mike Silverman of Ops along with Charlie Dingus of Intrapace gave a free seminar at SPMTech's "Meet the Experts" event in Santa Clara, CA. The topic if their talk was on Reliability of Implantable Medical Devices.

- February 25, 2011

Ops' Mike Silverman Receives Great Reviews on His New Book

ECN Magazine writes "Mike's book unlocks secrets to optimizing product reliability"

SMT Magazine writes "Mike provides hands on teaching principals, case studies and facts to help companies optimize the reliability of their products"

- February 20, 2011

Ops brings on consultant from Czech Republic and opens a new market for us in Eastern Europe

Pavel Urban (Czech Republic) has over 13 years experience in the areas of reliability and new product development. He has been responsible for product/process quality and reliability within all phases of product lifecycle from idea generation until end of product life. He worked for one of the largest automotive industry suppliers which produces a broad range of electronic components. Since 2010, Urban founded PDEE which operates in Eastern Europe region to provide knowledge and expertise to product development companies. He provides complex product development solutions for clients from idea identification to product launch with a focus on product reliability and robustness, accelerating of time to market and cost reduction. Design for Reliability is a key element of product development process and PDEE brings this approach to clients. PDEE offers several kinds of cooperation such as workshops/training, consultation, and testing. Pavel currently works for customers such as Continental and others from various market segments. He is certified in Six Sigma within Freescale Semiconductor and a board member of the Product Development & Management Association Eastern Europe. Pavel heads up Ops A La Carte’s Eastern European consulting practice. See the Ops Team for more details.

Event: Seminar on Testing at NTS
Date: February 10, 2011, 10am-2pm
Location: Fullerton, CA

About Event: Steve Brenner and Mike Silverman of Ops gave a free seminar at NTS in Fullerton on accelerated testing and the importance of a good test plan. Links to the presentation and webcast are shown below.

- Presentation on Practical Reliability Testing
- Webcast on Practical Reliability Testing

Event: Components for Military and Space Electronics (CMSE)
Date: February 7-10, 2011
Location: Los Angeles, CA

About Event: CMSE is the premier conference on the engineering, design and use of electronic components in military and space systems. We gave a presentation at this event on Soft Errors. The link to the presentation is below.

-Soft Error Trends and Mitigation Techniques in Modern Memory Technology by Charlie Slayman

Event: Reliability, Maintainability, and Availability Symposium (RAMS)
Date: January 24-27, 2011
Location: Orlando, Florida

About Event: RAMS is the premier event in the reliability, availability, and maintainability engineering disciplines. Combining tutorials, presentations, CEUs, certifications, and networking into one week-long program, the RAMS delivers cutting edge information to all technical industries.

Ops had a booth at this event. We raffled off a copy of my new book "How Reliable Is Your Product: 50 Ways to Improve Product Reliability" and the winner was Alexandre Facini Dos Santos of Alstom Brazil. Congratulations Alexandre.

Also, we gave the following Tutorials, Technical Presentations, and Panel Discussions. Links to the presentations are shown below


- Introduction to RAM Management by Fred Schenkelberg
- Effective Reliability Program Traits by Fred Schenkelberg
- System Safety Engineering by Dev Raheja


- Green Reliability by Mike Silverman
- Soft Error Trends and Mitigation Techniques in Modern Memory Technology by Charlie Slayman

Event: Seminar at Toyo in Tokyo
Date: January 18, 2011, 9-4pm
Location: Tokyo, Japan

About Event: Mike Silverman presented a seminar on "HALT Integrated into a Reliability Program"

Tour/Event: Ops to Visit Taiwan, China, and Japan in January
Date: January , 2011

About Tour: Ops A La Carte's Mike Silverman visited Taiwan, China and Japan in January, meeting with Ops' reps in the area as well as numerous prospects and clients.

- January 3-7 Taiwan
- January 10-16 China
- January 17-23 Japan

Event: Webinar on Profitability Through Business Excellence in the Product Realization Process
Date: Thursday, Dec 16, 2010
Location: Webinar

About Event: Ops A La Carte and the Product Realization Group put on a presentation by Indra Desai. Many great products never make it to volume because key steps in are skipped or executed in ways that prevent shipping high quality products. In this session you will learn current best practices for building quality into the product realization process.

- Profitability Through Business Excellence by Indra Desai

Event: Webinar/Seminar on Lead Free Future Challenges
Date: Dec 9, 2010
Location: Webinar and Live Seminar at Celestica Toronto

About Event: Ops A La Carte, Celestica, and Design Chain Associates teamed up to provide you with three presentations on the current state of knowledge of lead-free electronics reliability and future challenges driven by environmental requirements. The link to each presentation is shown below.

- Ops A La Carte Overview Presentation by Peter Arrowsmith, Ops A La Carte
- Lead-Free: It's only the Beginning by Michael Kirshner, Design Chain Associates
- Lead-Free Electronics: What is left to implement? by Heather McCormick, Celestica, Toronto
- Lead-Free Electronics: The Tin Whisker Challenge by Polina Snugovsky, Celestica, Toronto

- Webcast for Lead Free Event

For more information on news, please visit our News Page or call (408) 654-0499.


FREE Webinar Series

On the first Wednesday of each month, we will bring you a free webinar topic. Below is our current line-up for the first half of 2011. You can click on the registration page for each event.

Tuesday April 5th - Reliability in the Universe of Solar Products, by Ops A La Carte and Concurrent Design (note that for this event only, it will be the First Tuesday of the Month)

Wednesday May 4th - Reliability and Quality Engineering Integration using DFSS and DFR Methods, by Ops A La Carte

Wednesday June 1st - How to Use HALT with Prognostics, by Ops A La Carte and the Ridgetop Group


Sponsors: Concurrent Design and Ops A La Carte
Date/Time: Tuesday April 5th - 11am-1pm Central Time
Speakers: Tom Ortman of Concurrent Design and Mike Silverman of Ops A La Carte. See SpeakerBios
Registration Link: or

The universe of solar products is large and expanding exponentially. Most of us are not aware of the manifold applications of solar energy from photovoltaic modules and solar furnaces through manned air travel in planes that never need fuel.

Of all of the emerging clean tech industries, the solar industry is one of the most challenging from a reliability engineering perspective because the industry is innovating so rapidly. Customers (and investors) are demanding very high reliability products, exceeding 25 years in many applications. As this industry grows and expands in every direction, with many new and diverse technologies, the core element of reliability will continue to be critical for success, whether we are powering our homes, cars, clothing or sidewalks.

Each aspect of a solar product must be considered for reliability. For example, in a solar power installation, the cells, the panels, the trackers, the inverters, even the installation itself, there are opportunities for failures. Whether industrial, commercial or residential, these applications have a high demand for reliability because the solar products will usually be taking the place of an incumbent, and therefore, they must be as good or better.

Join Ops A La Carte and Concurrent Design for a quick trip through the Solar Universe and the many faces of Reliability Engineering in this rapidly expanding sector. The presentation will include technical information on the benchmarking, reliability, life cycle and end-of-life susceptibility of components in solar products.


Sponsor: Ops A La Carte
Date/Time: Wednesday May 4th, 11:30am-1pm Pacific Time
Speakers: Lou LaVallee and Mike Silverman, Ops A La Carte
Registration Link: or

Design for Reliability (DFR) and Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) are modern methods for both problem prevention and problem solving. Both have scientific, engineering, and statistical underpinnings. Both have evolved over the past few decades from more humble beginnings. DFSS has evolved into a well architected system of management principles, analytical methodologies, and reporting systems.

DFR is on a similar path. The DFR focus is on the preparation of a system or platform design to perform required functions for a specified period of time, but also to help solve problems associated with functional failures when they arise. Integration of DFSS methods with DFR methods will take some time and effort but it is inevitable.

In this presentation, we will cover selected management topics such as DFSS and DFR deployment and project delivery, brief analytical topics for discussion, and a few reporting examples from recent corporate experience. The synergy between the DFSS and DFR methods will be presented and discussed.


Sponsors: Ridgetop Group and Ops A La Carte
Date/Time: Wednesday June 1st, 11:30am-1pm Pacific Time
Speakers: Doug Goodman of Ridgetop Group and Mike Silverman of Ops A La Carte. See SpeakerBios
Registration Link: or

Prognostics is the science of being able to predict failures before they happen. HALT and HASS are progressive accelerated test methods to improve product reliability by expanding product margins. These methods are two of the most progressive reliability methods that exist today. These methods can be even more powerful when used together

In this webinar, we will explore the synergies between the technique Prognostics and the techniques HALT and HASS. We will explore:

1) Using HALT to accelerate a prognostics experiment.
2) Using HALT to help choose the appropriate stress levels for a Prognostic type of ALT.
3) Using prognostics during Manufacturing Screening help prove a HASS profile does not wear out products.
4) Using prognostics as an effective method of ESS.

Below is a summary of the Best of our Blog for last quarter - highlights of the best blog topics we had. If you would like to contribute to our blog, please either

Contact Us Info or go to


This month instead of solving a problem, we are asking our readers to take a Self Assessment.

Clients ask us all the time on how to evaluate their reliability program. The best method is a Reliability Assessment. We created this quick Self-Assessment tool you can use to get a baseline of your reliability program. If you take this self assessment and email us your scores, we will offer a copy of my new book.

Performance Innovation is about helping our customers overcome challenges and identifying opportunities to accelerate their success. We are a network of Celestica engineers, supply chain and business professionals completely focused on solving problems and accelerating opportunities. Celestica’s Performance Innovation Laboratory team leverages a long heritage of technical leadership to help you:
- Proactively modify your product, component design or manufacturing processes to quantify or increase quality and reliability
- Explain yield challenges
- Quickly understand the root cause for field failures

In the last year, Ops a la Carte has partnered with Celestica's Performance Innovation group to expand our services into the Ontario, Canada market.

Further information is available at

is an Austin, TX based product development engineering firm. Concurrent Design specializes in Renewable Energy Product Design and Development with many years of experience in Solar, Wind, Storage, Solid State Lighting and associated Clean Energy application areas. Concurrent Design has been instrumental in product development for Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) systems, Photovoltaic (PV) systems; including crystalline silicon, thin film and III-V technology products and manufacturing systems, as well as inverters, trackers and mounting systems. Concurrent Design supports the engineering continuum from concept development to prototyping and regulatory compliance and volume manufacturing scale-up.

Further information is available at

offers a vast array of testing and certification services for product developers and manufacturers in numerous industries.  This is the heritage of our company.  It is what we have done for over 50 years and it is how we have built NTS from a single independent testing facility into the largest commercial test laboratory network in North America.

Further information is available at

High Technology OEM’s face significant increases in global competition, time to market pressures, and technological complexities, which result in higher risks for bringing new products to market. These risks drive the need for greater use of outsourced services. To reduce these risks, the PRG has developed a “one-stop-shop” of outsourced services that helps companies to bring new products to market. Engagements are tailored to business and product profiles, and partners work together to deliver services that range from initial concept through global logistics and repair.

Product Realization Group | | |

is the world leader in providing advanced electronic prognostics and health management (PHM) solutions, semiconductor IP blocks, and built-in self-test (BIST) solutions for critical applications. Ridgetop Group, Inc. has a proven library of IP cores and board-level solutions for optimized integrated subsystems and systems.

Contact Doug Goodman at

Given the current economic climate, we know of many talented individuals that are currently looking for work. Therefore, if you are an employer and have a need for any position within reliability, engineering, or operations, we are offering to advertise in our newsletter at no cost. Just doing our part to help stimulate the economy! Below are a few positions that we do know about.

1) Inside Sales Person and 2) Senior Reliability Consultant

1) Ops A La Carte has an immediate opening for a dynamic, self-motivated, energetic, professional Inside Sales person in our Santa Clara, CA office. The candidate is responsible for generating new business and caring for a large set of prospects and customers, and supporting the efforts of the outside sales/program managers in the different regions around the country.

2) Ops A La Carte is looking for Senior Reliability Consultants around the world to join our team of consultants and work on some of the most exciting and challenging projects in the industry. Whether you have an existing consulting practice or are interested in developing one, please contact us.

If interested, email us via our OPS Job Search Contact Form or call (408) 654-0499.

Senior Reliability Engineer

Senior Reliability/Quality Engineer



Ops A La Carte's newsletter goes out to over 18,000 subscribers. If you would like to put an ad or job opening in next quarter's "Reliability News", fill out our Job Openings Form or call at (408) 654-0499.

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