TOP EVENTS:Print Version

Fall 2012

Ops A La Carte LLC
(408) 654-0499

Theme for this newsletter:
ROI for DFR Program


COURSES/SEMINARS - CQE, PRG Class, Free Webinars
SPECIAL OFFERS - One Hour of Free Consulting, Self Assessment
NEWS - 3 New Consultants, ARS, Counterfeit Avoidance
RELIABILITY BLOG - Highlights of Last Quarter's Blogs
PROBLEM SOLVER - DFR ROI Calculator - Help Us Improve It
PARTNER'S CORNER - Reliable Systems Solutions
JOB OPENINGS - Cochlear, Ops A La Carte, many others



Welcome to our 31st quarterly newsletter. Our newsletter comes out the first week of March, June, September, and December. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

This was our busiest summer for work and fall is turning out to be even busier. Just doing our part to help stimulate the economy!

This month we are introducing our new methodology to calculate Return on Investment (ROI) a new Design for Reliability (DFR) program. See our Featured Service section for more details as well as review the slides from our recent webinar talk on it.

Calculating ROI When Implementing a DFR Program - Slides
Calculating ROI When Implementing a DFR Program - Webinar

Also, stay tuned for our next webinar on Advances in HALT Calculator - New MTBF and ROI Calculator and our upcoming Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) Preparation Course.

This quarter, we will be visiting even more areas, including Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Honolulu, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Diego, and Toronto. Whenever OPS visits a city, we offer 1 hour of free consultation to help you with any aspect of your reliability program. Please refer to the EVENTS section for the exact dates. If you are interested in having us stop by when we are in town, please Contact Us Info. We will provide you 1 hour of Free Consultation with no strings attached. We will give you our expert advice on any issues you are having or trying to avoid.

We hope you find value in the following newsletter. Our next newsletter will come out the first week of December. Thank you for your continued support and interest.

- Mike Silverman, Managing Partner/Founder


OPS' FREE WEBINAR on Advances in HALT Calculator - New MTBF and ROI Calculator, Wednesday, Oct 3, 11:30am-12:30pm

Since we introduced our HALT Calculator 3 years ago, we have made some important improvements
1) Calculator now resides on the cloud
2) We have developed methods for using calculator as input to HALT plan
3) We have added an ROI Calculator
4) We have added an MTBF estimator
5) We have added several new factors, including duty cycle and variable confidence intervals

And our special guest speakers will be Harry McLean, inventor of the calculator and Clayton Bonn from Chart. Chart is currently the only the chamber manufacturer offering this calculator as part of their chamber offering and Clayton will explain how the calculator is integrated in to the system operation.

All of these will be explained and demonstrated in this 1 hour webinar

Contact Us Info For more info, please Contact Us Info


Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) Preparation Course
Date(s): Oct 16- Nov 27, 2012, ASQ CQE Exam is on Dec 1.
Time: 6pm-10pm one night a week, 7 weeks
Instructor: Jim MacMahon
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 and 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 have been offering this Exam Preparation Course for 9 years. 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 Reliability Engineering, this can benefit you substantially.

Special new options:
Offered via webinar for out of town students.
Tutoring over the internet is now available.
Course Webpage: CQE Course by Ops A La Carte.

For more info or to register, please Contact Us Info

PRG Certificate Program,
Tuesday, Sept 25, 2012 to Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012 (two nights a week), Los Altos, CA
Are you involved in the development and release of high-tech products? Do you need to stay current with the latest product development practices? Could you use an edge to get back into the job market? If so, the Product Realization Certificate program at Foothill College can help. By taking this course, you will learn how to:

  • Minimize costs for bringing products to market
  • Beat time-to-market windows
  • Accelerate New Product Introduction (NPI)
  • Achieve high reliability
  • Deploy a common development methodology

For more info, please Contact Us Info

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


Sept 7, 2012 - Ops Will Be In Your Area. Ops A La Carte's Managing Partner Mike Silverman will be traveling around the US this fall visiting with clients and giving presentations at conferences,

Whenever OPS visits a city, we offer 1 hour of free consultation to help you with any aspect of your reliability program. If we are going to be in your city, please let us know if you would like for us to visit your company.

Sept 10 - Phoenix, AZ
Sept 11 - San Diego, CA
Sept 12-14 - Honolulu, HI
Sept 18-19 - Herndon, VA
Sept 20 - Milwaukee, WI
Oct 1-3 - Denver, CO
Oct 10-12 - Cleveland, OH
Oct 15-19 - Toronto, Canada
Nov 1-2 - Minneapolis, MN
Nov 8-9 - Boston, MA

Sept 12, 2012 - ASQ Statistics Meeting on Lean 6 Sigma and Design for Reliability (FREE), 6:30-8:30pm, Santa Clara, CA
Dr. Shree Nanganuri and Ops A La Carte's Mike Silverman will be giving a presentation on LSS and DFR – similarities as well as unique differences between the two approaches.

For more info, please Contact Us Info


Sept 14, 2012 - PRG Symposium and BBQ, 8am-1:30pm, Sunnyvale, CA

Great Food and Music. Keynote speaker will be Micah Bongberg, CEO of Annuvia who will talk about

  • Applied agile software concepts to a new hardware product
  • Successfully “pivoted” optics & regulatory strategies (lowered costs)
  • Utilized agile hardware “sprints” & rapid prototyping (saved time)
  • Leveraged outsourced services & local manufacturing (more flexibility)
  • Working sample available for viewing

For more info, please Contact Us Info


Oct 4, 2012 - Reliability Tour of BAE Systems (FREE), 7-9pm, San Jose, CA
Tour of the reliability work being done at BAE Systems.  You must register to join. Tour limited to 25 people.

For more info, please Contact Us Info


Oct 17-19, 2012 - IEEE Accelerated Stress Testing (ASTR) Workshop, Toronto, Canada

This workshop is focused on accelerated stress testing. Ops A La Carte will be presenting 5 separate presentations on accelerated testing, including Mike Silverman giving a keynote speech on the history of HALT and where the industry is heading.

For more info, please Contact Us Info


Nov 1, 2012 - Medical Design and Manufacturing (MD&M) Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN, 8am-4pm

We will be giving a seminar called "Medical Device Reliability Testing". Register at: MD&M

For more info, please Contact Us Info


Nov 1, 2012 - Minnesota Reliability Consortium, Minneapolis, MN

Ops A La Carte's Mike Silverman will be giving a talk on "Calculating ROI when Implementing a DFR Program".

For more info, pleaseContact Us Info


Nov 14, 2012 - Meet the Experts, Santa Clara, CA, 10:30am-1pm, FREE

Ops A La Carte's Mike Silverman will be giving a talk on "Testing and Quality for Medical Products".

Click here to Register. For more info, pleaseContact Us Info


Dec 4-5, 2012 - BIOMEDevice Show - San Jose, CA, 10am-4pm

We will be giving a seminar on December 5th. The seminar is part of the Innovation Briefs series and will be held at the Innovation Briefs Theater at booth #801 on the event floor. The seminar will be co-presented by other members of the Product Realization Group (PRG). We also will be at the PRG Booth (#1115). Register at: MD&M

For more info, please Contact Us Info

For information on other course offerings go to: EVENTS



Last quarter, we visited a number of different areas, including Toronto, Maryland, Virginia, and Turkey. See our News section for dates we will be in each city. If we miss you while we were in town, please let us know and we can make arrangements to come by again or talk with you on the phone.

This quarter, we will be visiting even more areas, including Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Honolulu, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Diego, and Toronto. Whenever OPS visits a city, we offer 1 hour of free consultation to help you with any aspect of your reliability program. Please refer to the EVENTS section for the exact dates. If you are interested in having us stop by when we are in town, please Contact Us Info

We will provide you 1 hour of Free Consultation with no strings attached. We will give you our expert advice on any issues you are having or trying to avoid.

In addition, we will offer you a free copy of Mike's book "How Reliable Is Your Product: 50 Ways to Improve Product Reliability" just for giving us the opportunity to speak with you.

Also, we have developed a new Self-Assessment tool. If you take it, we will also give you a free book.

If interested, Contact Us Info



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

 Sept 6, 2012 - IEEE Reliability Meeting - Discussion on Design for Reliability, Cupertino, CA
 Ops A La Carte’s Mike Silverman gave an an overview of OPS' new ROI calculator when developing a Design for Reliability program.

For more info, please Contact Us Info

Link to slides: Calculating ROI When Implementing a DFR Program

 Sept 5, 2012 - OPS gave a FREE Webinar on Return on Investment (ROI) for a Design for a Reliability (DFR) Program

Are you stagnant with your product reliability program because you can't get funding to make improvements? If so, this is an important webinar for you. We will teach you how to measure the return on investment when implementing your new reliability program. There are a number of factors involved in calculating the ROI for your DFR program, including:
1) Improved Warranty Rate (derived from your Reliability Maturity Level which we will show you how to calculate)
2) Current Warranty Rate
3) Cost per Repair
4) Cost of New Reliability Program
5) Savings from Losing a Customer
6) Volume

In this presentation, we showed you how to calculate each of these to derive your DFR ROI

Below are links to both the slides and the webcast

Calculating ROI When Implementing a DFR Program - Slides
Calculating ROI When Implementing a DFR Program - Webinar

For more info, please Contact Us Info or go to our FEATURED SERVICE

Sept 1, 2012 - Ops A La Carte Becomes Counterfeit Avoidance Leader. Ops A La Carte is proud to annouce we joined the organization ECC and have taken the role of Chair of the Laboratory Industry Advisory Group. Click here for the latest press release.

August 31, 2012 - Ops Upgrades our HALT Calculator. Ops A La Carte's patent-pending HALT Calculator just got a major upgrade. We have added the following new features:

ROI Calculation
MTBF Prediction Calculator (to quickly estimate your inherent MTBF)
Variable Duty Cycle
Variable Confidence Factor
Many more data points in several more industries
Better Industry Descriptors

To try it out, go to iHALT Calculator. Need a free demo pass? Contact Us Info

August 23, 2012 - Presentation at TAN. Jim Johnson of Ops A La Carte delivers a presentation at The African Network (TAN) called "Creating Strategic and Tactical Solutions for African Businesses with the aim of meeting organization goals"

"Ops hopes to become a global leader in supporting the reliability of products coming out of the Cottage Industries of Africa (CIOA) which is an idea recently being discussed by Stephen Ozoigbo, the new CEO who himself is not new to international business and found his calling in supporting this mission", says Johnson.

August 1, 2012 - Three New Consultants. We are growing rapidly in our project base, and to accommodate for this, we have brought on three new consultants in the last quarter.

Les Warrington
Senior Reliability/Quality Consultant, Course Instructor

Les Warrington is a reliability engineering and management consultant with Ops a la Carte, with focus on effective integration of reliability capability into company culture, to maximize business opportunity and success. Previously, he was Director of Reliability Engineering at Research in Motion, where he delivered assurance of product reliability goals in greater than 20 major product developments. He highlighted the direct links between field failures and lost corporate profits and, having gained executive oversight of reliability as a core requirement, integrated all departments in the effective and timely delivery of product reliability. Earlier, Les pioneered a widely emulated post-graduate degree program in quality and reliability at the University of Warwick, UK, emphasizing management, practical application for industry and an ethos of continuous improvement, and delivered Warwick reliability-centric teaching world-wide. He led major research projects, provided consulting services widely in the automotive, aerospace and other technology sectors, and was a leader in the UK National Reliability Strategy. Les earned a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at the University of Southampton in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and completed post-graduate technology and management training at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, UK. He is a Chartered Engineer (UK). He is an active member of IEC TC56, developing standards in dependability. He is also a member of the IEEE Reliability Society, and has retained professional membership of the Royal Aeronautical Society (UK).

Dave Kinghorn, M.S., MBA
Senior Reliability Consultant/Program Manager

Dave has 30 years experience in product design, process development, manufacturing statistics, reliability program management, test, and operations management. A veteran of 6 startups in the electronics, photonics, and energy businesses, Dave's focus is on the economics and incorporation of quality & reliability into all phases of the product life cycle. In addition to startups, Dave has held Senior & Principal Engineering and Operations positions at such companies as National Semiconductor, Read-Rite, and Kulicke & Soffa Industries. Dave is an active consulting engineer with clients in the Integrated Photonics business, electronics manufacturing & advanced semiconductor test solutions, and heavy industries such as electroplating and Stainless Steel processing. Most recently, Dave was Director of Reliability at Energy Innovations, a commercial scale solar energy system manufacturer employing the latest state-of-the-art Solar Concentrator technology. Dave holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Missouri, and both an M.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.B.A. from San Jose State University. Dave is also the author of 3 U.S Patents.

Mike Doty
Senior Mechanical Reliability/Design Consultant

Mike has over 25 years of experience in mechanical engineering and design, including manufacturing, design, analysis, testing, and systems integration. He has designed machinery, small mechanisms, space craft structures, printed circuit boards, wiring harnesses, and electronic packaging. Mike has also performed stress, thermal, shock, and vibration testing, statistical and worst case tolerance analysis, and materials selection for reliability in extreme environments. He has hands-on CAD and machine shop experience fabricating prototypes, along with the use of rapid prototyping (3D printer) equipment and technologies. His information technology experience includes system repair, data recovery, networking, and web development. Mike has a BS Degree in Engineering and Applied Science from the California Institute of Technology. He has worked in the automotive, petrochemical, nuclear, aerospace, medical instruments, and consumer products industries. He has consulted at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Hughes Space and Communications, EG&G Rocky Flats, Schlage Lock, Ethicon, DuPont, Bechtel, United Engineers and Constructors, Motorola, Ford, FMC, and numerous small business clients.

July 3, 2012 - Celestica Parntership. Ops A La Carte creates strategic alliance with Celestica and provides seminar to Celestica's clients in Toronto.

Celestica's Engineering Services team was pleased to host Mike Silverman, founder and managing partner at Ops a la Carte, at the Celestica Toronto facility on June 19, 2012. The Celestica team and Mike delivered a webinar and participated in a face-to-face session that highlighted approaches and tools for improving product reliability. This joint webinar was a key step in helping to strengthen the on-going relationship between Celestica Engineering Services and Ops A La Carte.

--- Nicki Lakhani, Global Branding, Celestica

June 15-17, 2012 -Ops Delivers Paper at ARS and Scores High Marks - Ops A La Carte presents on Return on Investiment (ROI) using a Design for Reliability (DFR) Program. Below are pictures from the event. Congratulations to Fernando Amaton of Halliburton, Shawn McKay of Rand, and Michael LaCourt of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics for winning a copy of Mike Silverman's book 50 Ways to Improve Product Reliability. Congratulations to Robert Belinski of GE Medical for getting closest to the pin at 2".

June 6, 2012 - Ounce of Prevention Strategy (OPS). Ops A La Carte is proud to annouce their new methdology called Ounce of Preventation Strategy (OPS). We kicked this off with a webinar. See details beow.

OPS Webinar Slides
OPS Webinar Video

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

Return on Investment (ROI) for a Design for Reliability (DFR) Program

Last year we presented a paper on Design for Reliability (DFR), reviewing the benefits of a good DFR program and included some of the essential building blocks of DfR along with pointing out some erroneous practices that people today are using today.

We discussed a good DFR Program having the following attributes:

  1. Setting Goals at the beginning of the program and then developing a plan to meet the goals.
  2. Having the reliability goals being driven by the design team with the reliability team acting as mentors.
  3. Providing metrics so that you have checkpoints on where you are against your goals.
  4. Writing a Reliability Plan (not only a test plan) to drive your program.

A Good DFR Program must choose the best tools from each area of the product life cycle

  1. Identify
  2. Design
  3. Analyze
  4. Verify
  5. Validate
  6. Monitor and Control

The DFR Program must then integrate the tools together effectively
Today we will discuss a method we have developed to calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) from a Design for Reliability (DFR) program, also known as the DFR ROI. The DFR ROI is the cornerstone of our new Ounce of Prevention Solution.  This is the OPS in Ops A La Carte!

Factors Involved in Calculating DFR ROI

  1. Improved Warranty Rate (derived from your Reliability Maturity Level)
  2. Current Warranty Rate
  3. Cost per Repair
  4. Cost of New Reliability Program
  5. Savings from Losing Fewer Customers
  6. Volume

1. Calculating Improvement in Warranty

To calculate your Improved Warranty Rate, you will need to determine both your current Reliability Maturity Level as well as your desired Reliability Maturity Level. To determine these, you will need to conduct a Reliability Program Assessment (RPA) and determine what stage of maturity you are in.  See our Reliability Maturity Matrix.

2. Calculating the Cost of Repair

When calculating, include the following processes:

  • Call center processes (even if you outsource)
  • Support organization processes (even if you outsource this function)
  • On-site repair (service engineers/authorized service suppliers)
  • Supply chain processes
  • Spare parts management (usually as an overhead)
  • Spare parts logistics
  • Manufacturing/factory resources expensed against above processes (usually as overhead expenses)
  • Return parts testing process
  • Reliability/Quality engineering resources

3. Cost of New Reliability Program

When calculating, include the following processes:

  • Extra engineering support for tools
  • Consulting/test lab time for extra tests
  • Test equipment rental
  • Cost of units under test
  • Cost of troubleshooting/failure analysis
  • Cost of product changes/ECNs
  • Training

4. Savings from Losing Fewer Customers

  • A. Calculate # of customers lost over the past year due to reliability/quality issues
  • B. Calculate # of customers lost over the past year for unexplained reasons
    • If Stage 1= Multiply by 80%
    • If Stage 2 = Multiply by 60%
    • If Stage 3 = Multiply by 40%
    • If Stage 4 = Multiply by 20%
    • If Stage 5 = Multiply by 0%
  • Calculate Number of Fewer Customers Lost
  • Determine average amount of revenue per customer
  • Multiply Difference in # of customers lost x revenue per customer

10 Step DFR ROI Calculation

  1. Perform Assessment/Determine Maturity Level
  2. Determine maturity level desired
  3. Determine your industry sector
  4. Subtract Warranty % between two levels
  5. Calculate Average Cost of Repair
  6. Calculate Cost of New Reliability Program
  7. Calculate Savings from Fewer Lost Customers
  8. Determine Volume of Shipments
  9. Calculate Repair Cost Savings
  10. Calculate ROI

For an example of how to perform one of these calculations, see our ARS Presentation.

Attend our FREE 1 hour information OPS Webinar to find out more. For more info, please Contact Us Info

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 eitherContact Us Info or go to

ROI for your DFR Program

In the Featured Service section, we discussed how to calculate the ROI for your DFR program. In the calculator, there are a number of variables and assumptions. If you have any parameters or data you can add to our model that will help improve it, we will provide you with a free ebook version of Mike's book "How Reliabile Is Your Product: 50 Ways to Improve Product Reliability"

Reliable Systems Solutions is headquartered in Orlando, FL. They are a leading U.S. provider of Reliability Engineering Services in the fields of Aerospace, Aviation, Commercial and Defense. Certified Reliability and Quality Engineering staff assist in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. Reliable Systems Solutions offers a comprehensive range of engineering services aimed primarily at the reliability, maintainability, system safety, and quality needs of product manufacturers and maintenance organizations worldwide. Our customers are in every industry where mission, revenue, and safety are critical for success. RSS and OPS partner to bring additional services and capabilities to military clients around the world.

Principal Reliability Engineer

Principal authority in reliability engineering to provide reliability engineering leadership to the design and development engineering teams during product development of Class III Medical Devices. To ensure a highly reliable, safe and effective product design, within the product life cycle and compliance with quality system policies, procedures and international regulations. Location is Sydney, Australia.

If interested, email Marcus Ignacio

Senior Reliability Management Consultant

Ops A La Carte is looking for Senior Reliability Managment Consultants around the world to join our team of consultants and work on some of the most exciting and challenging projects in the industry. We are especially looking for strong candidates with a background in architecting reliability programs. We will teach you our Ounce of Prevention Strategy (OPS) and you will help implement this at companies around the world.

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

For other available reliability jobs, visit

Ops A La Carte's newsletter goes out to over 13,000 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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