How do you find, encourage and develop reliability professionals across your organization? We all face the challenge of creating a culture of reliability within an organization at some point in our careers.
Do so alone is nearly impossible.
You need support. You need more hands and minds that can spot reliability opportunities. You need to be in dozens of conversations per hour across the organization.
This is difficult for one person to accomplish.
So what can you do?
You need to find, encourage and develop reliability-minded folks across your organization.
Find those interested in reliability.
Engineers naturally want their designs to work as intended and for as long as expected. They are your first group to explore for champions.
Look for those that ask great reliability questions, those that appear very interested in making the product more reliable. Look for those with natural ability.
Help them learn to answer their own questions. It’s really that easy. You know the references, provide them to your colleagues. Help them explore and know the basics of reliability engineering.
Next, explore the procurement and customer satisfaction groups. Those that arrange to purchase parts used in your product significantly influence the product’s reliability.
Help that team understand the impact of poor parts, the difference that reliable parts make on the bottom line. Help them learn to ask suppliers the right questions around reliability.
The group that deals with customers, especially with complaints and returns. They often know what is failing to meet customer expectations. They know better than most how the product is being used and how it fails.
Find someone that wants to help customers. Find someone that wants to reduce the calls they receive. Help them make connections with engineering with meaningful information. Help them learn how to influence product design to improve reliability.
Encourage your champions
Be positive. Find what they are doing well and praise them. Provide accolades, talk about their achievements, estimate the impact their work accomplishes.
Talk to people across the organization about what your champions have accomplished. It is the praise your provide that means so much to so many. It’s great for those you praise for themselves and encouraging them to continue to focus on reliability. Plus, you encourage their peers to act similarity.
Talk to them directly and ask them how you can best support them and their career. As you learn about the challenges they face day to day, you can help them benefit from a reliability engineering point of view. Help them understand the value they are creating for the organization, customers, and their career.
Develop your champions
Once you find and encourage reliability minded folks across your organization. You should continue to develop them into true reliability professionals.
This can include asking them questions that prompt them to explore a new area of reliability engineering. You can provide references and tools that reinforce reliability work. You can recommend webinars and conferences. And, for the really ambitious you can create a series of courses for your organization.
We are all teachers in our roles. As a reliability professional we often are providing explanation and instruction. By providing these in a formal structure, we are able to install reliability knowledge across the organization.
There are many opportunities to find, encourage and develop you peers to become reliability minded. As the process continues you will find an entire cadre of reliability professionals working together across your organization as they create reliable products.