Reliability Goal Setting in the Concept Phase
A reliability goal is a specific business target stated as a quantified performance level. This can be in the form of a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF), Annualized Failure Rate (AFR), Dead on Arrival (DOA) Rate, or any number of different metrics.
An example goal:
“Product Alpha in customer home applications will have a 2.5% Annualized Failure Rate (AFR) during the first three years of service.”
Your product team may or may not have reliability goals. Engineers and managers tend to understand the importance of producing a reliability product and roughly what reliability means to your customers. However, without clearly stated reliability goals, team members may not have consistent views and may be unable to adequately judge the importance of reliability during product design or manufacturing decision making. Also, without reliability goals, the leadership team is unable to track progress toward or know when they have met the customer’s expectations of reliability until the product is in the field.
Even with reliability objectives stated within a product team, do they work? Do they provide a meaningful bridge from customer expectations and management business objectives to engineering decision making? Reliability goals should drive the appropriate engineering behavior. If this isn’t occurring, resetting the goals may provide the needed change.
Establish clearly stated, measurable, and meaningful reliability goals that can be converted into reliability activities in a reliability program and drive the appropriate behavior across the product team.
VALUE TO YOUR ORGANIZATION
The consistency of purpose across the team permits effective and efficient use of resources to meet or exceed customer reliability expectations. Stating and tracking business objectives enhances the team’s ability to actually meet the objectives.
An example of Reliability Integration during Reliability Goal Setting is as follows:
Goal Setting Drives an Entire Reliability Program
Before we can start choosing the individual reliability elements, we must set reliability goals. After the goals are set, we determine our level of capability. This is the basis of our Gap Analysis which then drives our Reliability Program and Integration Plan.
Reliability goals can be derived from customer-specified or implied requirements, internally-specified or self-imposed requirements, or benchmarking against competition.
Customer-Specified or Implied Requirements
For Customer-Specified or Implied Requirements, we review customer specifications and determine the different reliability metrics. Often times, the metrics will not be called out specifically, but rather they will have to be inferred.
Internally Specified or Self-Imposed Requirements
Internally Specified or Self-Imposed Requirements are usually based on trying to be better than previous products. The process involves interviewing key members of various departments and at contract manufacturing partners to find out what they have set as internal goals. These goals may need to be adjusted as information is gathered, but this represents a good starting point.
Benchmarking is the process of comparing the current project, methods, or processes with the best practices in the industry. See Benchmarking/Gap Analysis Service for more details of this.
The following case studies and options provide example approaches. We shall tailor our approach to meet your specific situation.
A Networking company’s customer specified an availability requirement of 0.99999. From this, we developed our Reliability Program and Integration Plan and specified that we needed to perform a Reliability Block Diagram to outline the redundancy elements, performed a Reliability Prediction and an Availability Prediction to determine how close we are to the goal, and then developed a series of reliability tests to verify that we can meet this goal.
Reduction in Return Rate from Previous Generation Product
A Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment company had an annualized returned rate of 10% on their current product. For their next generation product, they set a new goal of 5%. In our Reliability Program and Integration Plan, we reviewed what reliability elements were used on the present product and how well the elements were integrated, and from that we chose a set of reliability tools and an integration strategy to accomplish this type of improvement.
Goals from Benchmarking
A Computer manufacturer was coming out with a new product ad needed to know where to set the reliability goals. For that, we benchmarked their platform type to competitors in their industry to get an idea of where to set the goals.
Establishing Goals for the First Time
A Defense Electronics company was at the start of the development process without existing reliability goals. We facilitated short workshops with key personnel to establish potential goals. These included an analysis of the customer expectations in their intended market, business financial goals, expected product technology and complexity.
Translating Goals into Requirements
A Telecom company in design development had governing corporate goals that did not translate directly into meaningful product level goals. We conducted an analysis of existing business goals, reviewed similar product reliability performance and conducted workshops with key personnel to create bridging goals that were meaningful to the product team and enabled the meeting of the corporate goals.
Goal Development and Incorporation using Awareness Training
A Medical Device company was in manufacturing with established reliability goals and a desire to improve the product’s reliability performance. We researched various methods to rephrase the existing goals to incorporate the improvement terms, conducted workshops and seminars to create awareness and buy in to the improvement goals, and established connections to metrics, testing and field tracking activities to assess progress toward the reliability goals.