Reliability Integration for the Organization
Reliability Program Assessment
A systematic evaluation of a broad range of potential reliability activities and tools as currently employed and integrated.
We can perform the Assessment for the Hardware, for the Software, or for both.
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.
A variety of circumstances require knowledge of the current reliability program and how best to make changes to improve product reliability:
1) Increasing field returns or changes in customer expectations
2) Management decision to compete on reliability
3) Decision to reduce warranty costs
From an understanding of the current reliability program, develop a set of short and long term actions that will significantly improve the organization's ability to develop and produce reliable products.
VALUE TO YOUR ORGANIZATION
An objective view of the existing reliability program permits the effective investment in areas of the program that will efficiently improve product reliability. The very rapid ability to focus improvement efforts on the critical few items coupled with a long term view and plan to get there assists an organization to dramatically alter their reliability program's capability.
An example of Reliability Integration during the Reliability Program Assessment is as follows:
The Reliability Program Assessment Drives Reliability Goal Setting and Tool Selection Activities
The high level view of the existing reliability program quickly highlights strengths and weaknesses. The connections into business objectives, customer expectations, technical constraints and product price and volume bound the acceptable reliability program. Within the program, the identification of efficient processes around goals, risks, tools, and feedback and the appropriate use of the right tools connect to each area of reliability engineering and management.
To quickly determine the tools and approaches used across an organization, we conduct a set of 6 to 8 detailed interviews with key personnel. From the summary of these interviews we will be able to narrow down the focus of the assessment to a few areas for a detailed analysis. This may include more interviews, data analysis, reviewing test programs and results, or a combination of these. These rounds of assessment typically provide a clear set of recommendations to improve the reliability program.
The following case studies and options provide example approaches. We shall tailor our approach to meet your specific situation.
1) High Field Failures with Multiple Causes
At a Military Communications company, a recent change in senior management and an important customer complaining about product reliability led the organization to a Reliability Program Assessment to focus their product reliability improvements. We started with a series of interviews to define the current program plus discussions to understand the business model and constraints. This led us to a set of recommendations for immediate changes in design verification and the establishment of clear reliability goals.
2) Focusing Reliability Efforts to Enter New Markets
A Microwave Test Equipment company saw the opportunity to compete on reliability for their products. However, they needed help in choosing where to direct their efforts, so they requested a Reliability Program Assessment. We carefully analyzed their existing field failure and in-house testing data, and it highlighted the need to focus on improving component reliability from about a dozen key vendors. Then we set in motion long-term plans for the development of improved design risk analysis to identify high risk vendors and components.
3) Assessments Used to Reduce Warranty Costs
For a Medical company, high warranty costs relative to competitors created the opportunity to significantly reduce costs with changes to the reliability program. In-house expertise did not exist to make organization level changes. Our Reliability Program Assessment and resulting recommendations found that they lacked design feedback from reliability tools. We helped them implement Reliability Predictions and Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT), and we helped them integrate these tools into their design process. Once these were installed, the customer dramatically reduced the field failure rates.