the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth,
or usefulness of something. 
As a reliability engineer, we work across the organization to bring a reliable product to market. The value of meeting the customer’s reliability expectations results in customer satisfactions, increased sales, and in some cases premium pricing.
We want a reliable product.
Being a pivotal element in the process means you have provided value to the organization and to its customers.
Adding value increases your opportunities for career success. Even if the product does not succeed in the market, by adding value to the program you still increase your chance of career success.
In the business world, value is money
If the return on investment (ROI) is adequate, then it is acceptable to make the investment. For example, if the cost of an accelerated life test (ALT) is $50,000, will the information from the ALT result in a decision related to 10 times $50,000 or half a million? If so, the investment to obtain the knowledge enables the team to make a decision affecting the launch of a product or to the establishment of a warranty policy.
If the early prototype highly accelerated life testing reveals three critical design faults, this permits the design team time to resolve the issues without delaying the product launch. The delay may cost lost sales and depends on your market.
In each case, the reliability engineer’s task is to recommend and execute tasks that affect decisions, reduce risk, save time, or add value.
This extends to every encounter with your fellow engineers and managers working to bring a product to market. You can provide insight, information, and knowledge that enhance the entire team’s ability to create a reliable product.
Adding value should be a habit
For the larger tasks that require significant resources to accomplish, you may have to estimate the ROI before being provided with the prototypes and equipment to accomplish the task. In other cases, before starting a task, you may need to determine how and where the resulting information will be used.
It is crucial to meet key deadlines since even perfect information for a key decision a day late is not useful.
My former boss and mentor drafted a list of questions that may be useful when you are seeking how a particular reliability activity provides value. The list explores reduced failure rate along with saved engineering time, increased sales, reduced risk to the launch date, and a few more ways to calculate value.
My updated version of the value questionnaire can be accessed on my site under the Introduction to Reliability Management presentation. 
For each activity you start or recommend, you need to understand the cost and return to calculate the ROI; if the activity does not have value it is time to focus on something that does.
A habit of adding value and being able to articulate the value you have contributed lets you clearly focus on activities that provide the greatest benefit to you and your organization.
- New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd edition, 2005, Oxford University Press.
- G. Griffiths and F. Schenkelberg, “Value Questionnaire,” http://www.fmsreliability.com/publishing/introduction-to-reliability-management/, accessed 15 July 2013.
Khan U. says
Good post! Timely maintenance management is the key to increasing asset, and in turn product reliability.