Who Makes Something Reliable?
Chris and Fred discuss the seemingly never resolved question on ‘who’ is responsible for making something reliable? Is it the supplier? The designers? The manufacturers? Aliens?
Join Chris and Fred as they discuss ‘who’ makes something reliable. The most common answer to this question from organizations who rely on suppliers is something like ‘… we pay THEM money to make something reliable … it is ENTIRELY their responsibility for reliability …’ Technically – this might be true. Practically – this never works.
- What is your job? Is it to make an amazing product … which includes making it reliable? Then even if you are outsourcing a good portion of your system’s creation to suppliers … your responsibility doesn’t change. People who blame the suppliers are those who outsource the creation of components AND any responsibility for making a good product (… noting that if the product turns out to be good these people expect plaudits for their efforts)
- Capitalism only goes so far. The idea that market forces will drive suppliers to make increasingly competitive products … including reliability … is not true. Why is that? Because reliability is so unique to your product. It is a combined effort where we need to generate common views of customer usage, understand how stresses will be applied to and between components, and so many other things that are unique to your design challenges. So expecting that suppliers are somehow able to create off-the-shelf components that happen to be ‘perfect’ for your design scenario is a waste of effort.
- What does a ‘reliable’ organization look like? One that identifies suppliers that culturally align with their ideas of continual improvement. One that is open, honest and transparent. One that isn’t looking to pin responsibility on the supplier. One that sees itself as part of resolving any problem. NOT one that puts out ‘calls for tender responses’ and selects the cheapest one.
- Are you focused on making an amazing product OR do you know who to blame when it goes wrong? Pick one.
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.
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