What if You Make it Too Reliable?
Chris and Fred often hear at least one person (or a small group of people) challenge your ‘cultural’ reliability improvement initiative. We hear things like ‘but to make it very reliable, it becomes too heavy or expensive.’ We also hear things like ‘but to make it very reliable, we need to invest lots of money for something the customer won’t buy.’ If you boil their complaints down or get to the hub of their issue … they are really suggesting that we do ‘reliability things’ without thinking. A checklist of activities that may or may not be valuable. This could not be further from what actually happens in reality. It never happens. Listen to this podcast to learn more.
Join Chris and Fred as they discuss the ‘doomsday’ scenarios of these hypothetical companies investing time, money and resources (indiscriminately) into activities or systems that may improve reliability – but really aren’t worth it. Neither Chris nor Fred have come across such a scenario. Why? Because organizations are either one of two types – (1) ignorant or (2) enlightened. Those that aren’t focusing on reliability are also the ones that know nothing about it. They don’t know why their product fails. They don’t know how much it costs when it does. And … they don’t know what to do. But ‘enlightened’ organizations do know these things. Which means that they know what to target. They know the ‘vital few’ things that need to be addressed and not the ‘trivial thousands.’ Of course there is a continuum … but it is between ignorance and enlightenment. Not ‘splurging’ on reliability where activities are randomly selected with checkbooks open and ramifications not thought through.
- Templates, standards and checklists can be the worst! Why? Because they make it feel like you ‘have’ to do this list of things without having to invest any critical thinking about what makes sense. And of those that are conducted where they could be benefit, there is no time to use the information to change the design because we are focused on completing the rest of the checklist! No wonder people think that reliability is expensive with little to no benefit!
- And then there is ‘fake hustle.’ There are organizations that waste time and resources on ‘reliability’ activities. But these are organizations who are not focusing on improving reliability – they are trying to make themselves feel good about their efforts. This is what ‘fake hustle’ is.Whether it be completing a checklist of activities, or repeating tests that were applied on products ten years ago, these are organizations that are focusing on creating a facade of dedication. This is a different topic!
- A reliability plan is always, always, always targeted. Reliability plans involve things like ‘gap assessments.’ This is a fundamental understanding of what your organization is missing. So it means we only ever do things that your organization needs to happen. ‘Mature’ organizations have an investigative approach to reliability – not ‘ready – fire – aim.’ You need to potentially ignore standards and test plans to find out why and where things fail.
- Reliability Engineering is not ‘Over-engineering.’ Enough said.
- … this is really about resisting change. Make no mistake … this is what complaining about making ‘something too reliable’ is all about. I don’t want to do what you are saying I might have to do … so without researching my argument I will speculate that this could be bad!
Enjoy an episode of Speaking of Reliability. Where you can join friends as they discuss reliability topics. Join us as we discuss topics ranging from design for reliability techniques, to field data analysis approaches.