We see the terms ‘reliable’ and ‘reliability’ in daily advertising, business names and in casual conversations on a regular basis. Reliability has meaning and importance in our society. Product and brand reputations are made or broken by their product reliability performance.
Reliability engineering or the work to minimize failures, improve maintenance effectiveness, shorten repair times, and meet customer & organization expectations has many benefits.
Here is a list of 9 benefits to consider when wondering if your work as a reliability professional is worth the effort.
Products work under environmental and use conditions imposed by the customer. Creating a product that matches the expectations imposed by the customer permits the product to work as expected.
Understanding the conditions allows the design to meet without over designing thus optimizing product cost and customer satisfaction.
Unanticipated failures cost time for customers and for the organization to resolve the failures. Using reliability and availability concepts we can minimize failures and avoid wasting time.
Downtime for any reason reduces the system’s throughput, downtime can be minimized by applying predictive and preventative maintenance programs.
A well-maintained system minimizes operating expenses and maximizes throughput.
Some products require a run-in or burn-in to identify and eliminate early life failures or to refine and optimize system operation. Using reliability engineering techniques we can minimize the time and resource impact of run-in or burn-in operations.
Eliminating or minimizing the time we reduce inventory carrying costs, tooling costs, and energy requirements.
Fewer failures and optimized maintenance implies fewer spare parts in the logistics system.
This minimizes the distribution system costs for transportation, logistics, and storage for spare parts. This also minimizes service labor costs.
Products that operate as expected without failure avoid being returned or serviced under warranty.
Calls to service support, troubleshooting, product returns, failure analysis, and re-engineering all part of the cost of unreliability.
The warranty provides customers insurance in case of failure and with reliability engineering techniques the costs are minimized.
Some product failure cause unintended or unsafe conditions leading to loss of life or injury. Reliability engineering tools assist in identifying and minimizing safety risks.
Product failures can cause the loss of property. Minimizing failures and mitigating the damage caused by any failure minimizes the exposure to liability for the property loss.
Enhancing the design team’s reliability engineering capabilities through training and staffing of reliability professionals enables the entire team to make decisions fully considering the impact on product reliability. This reduces the need for expensive redesign or rework costs to address reliability related design errors.
There are more ways reliability engineering is of value, yet this list provides a few ways to consider the benefits of reliability engineering. We master the tools and techniques so we can make a difference. Reliability has broad and important impact across the product lifecycle.
Optimizing reliability has plenty of benefits, therefore enjoy the difference you are making.
This is a great simplistic breakdown of the reliability testing process, especially for clients who have a limited understanding of why it’s such a vital process. Many clients who are not in the scientific community don’t always understand the need to test against so many standards, but it really is important to ensure that products and packaging are capable of holding up against the rigors of travel and extreme use.
Fred Schenkelberg says
Thanks for the comment. Yes, reliability testing is a complex process and we should focus on getting the most value for the investment in testing. Blindly using standards rarely provides the information the team needs or customers expect. Yes, ensuring a product will survive travel, installation, and use is essential. I feel most standards-based testing does not provide an adequate or useful shortcut. The standards approach often also leads to a mistaken belief that product will perform well.