Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: "What is Ops A La Carte?"
We are a reliability engineering services and management consulting firm. The "OPS" stands for "an Ounce of Prevention Strategy" (OPS), coming from the expression "An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure." It is always better to prevent an issue using proactive means than to try to fix a problem after it has already occurred (whether that problem occurs during design, testing, or at a customer's site. The cost of the issue goes up by an order of magnitude the further down the line it is caught. Wouldn't it be better to catch it early? Or better yet, use our OPS approach and prevent it from happening in the first place.
OPS originally stood for Technical Operations because all of our consulting services are supporting the technical operations' disciplines, but I think Ounce of Prevention is much more fitting today, and therefore we have changed.
The "A La Carte" in the name indicates that you can choose from our list of services on an "a la carte" basis. If you do not know which reliability services you need, one of our specialties is to assess an organization's needs based on your goals, and to then determine which are the best set of services.
Q: "What is Your Data Retention Policy?"
We never throw away data. We archive in a secure server site in case you ever need to reference the data in the future. We've had situations where employees leave a company, and our data cannot be found at your site. You can always call us up and ask for a copy of the data to be sent. And there is never a charge for this.
Q: "What is Ops A La Carte's Target Market?"
We have worked in dozens of different markets from defense to medical, from networking to consumer electronics. We work with device companies and system integrators. We work with Fortune 500 companies as well as startups. Our methods and services apply well to all of these situations.
Q: "What is meant by Reliability Integration?"
Reliability Integration is the process of seamlessly and cohesively integrating reliability elements together to maximize reliability at the lowest possibly cost. In each phase of a product's life cycle, we perform specific reliability activities. But instead of treating each as separate activities, we integrate them together by taking the information learned from one activity and using it to help plan the next. For example, when writing a test plan for a product, we will look at all of the analytical data collected during the reliability analysis phase, using key data such as thermal hot spots, possible derating issues, and unpredictable failure modes to name a few. We must assure that our test plan has adequate coverage to study these problems in more detail.
Using Reliability Integration will greatly increase the power and value of any reliability program.
Q: "What is the difference between Reliability and Quality?"
Reliability is Quality over time. If Quality is concerned with making sure you are satisfied when you first open the product, reliability is concerned with that same customer satisfaction over a specified period of time.
Q: "Does Ops A La Carte have a Test Lab of their own?"
No. We chose not to have our own lab so that we can stay independent. And by being independent, we can make recommendations and help you reason through the implementation of changes. If we were a test lab, there would always be a perceived conflict of interest anytime we tried to make a recommendation since we would be in a position to benefit financially by retesting? As an independent consultant, the conflict of interest is not there, so we are free to make whatever recommendations we deem appropriate for a situation.
We utilize the best labs in the bay area. Because of the volume of work that we do, we have strong alliances with most of the labs in Northern California enabling us to get preferred schedule time and preferred pricing. In addition, several of the labs let us run our own tests at their facilities.
Q: "Is Ops A La Carte associated with any Test Labs?"
No. We are not tied to any particular lab. When we are helping you plan a test, the lab we recommend is based on capability, availability, and price.
Q: "How long does Ops A La Carte stay with a customer?"
As long as we are needed. Some of our assignments are only a few hours and others last a few years. We won't leave until our deliverables are met AND you are satisfied, agree we are done, and is in a position to take over the work that we started.
Q: "How does Ops A La Carte transition out of our company?"
We provide processes and training for each functional area to transition to your appointed replacements. We will provide job descriptions for the positions that need to be transitioned and help screen qualified candidates for hire.