Showcase Your Reliability Accomplishments Well

When a reliability engineer or manager does their job well, the product just works as expected. Maybe even a little better than expected. There isn’t any major problems that need a hero to resolve.

Work done well, may go unnoticed. To avoid that you need to master the art of promoting successes without coming across as bragging or boasting. For your career advancement, you need to be both successful and likable.

For your program and ability to influence outcomes, you also need to be seen as successful, valuable, and again likable.

So, what are some ways to share what you…

Stratification: A Basic Quality Tool

Stratification implies layers or differences. A quick test for soil composition is to place a sample of soil with water in a clear jar and give it a shake. The sand, silt and loam will settle at different rates and create a layered appearance within the jar over time. The height of each layer provides information about the proportion of each type of soil within the sample.

Stratification as one of the seven basic quality tools (some lists use a run chart or flowchart instead) the idea of layers or differences still applies. …

Creating a Histogram

A histogram is a graphical representation of a set of data. It is useful to visually inspect data for its range, distribution, location, scale, skewness, etc. There are many uses for histogram, there you should know how to create one.

Let’s explore a set of data and create default histograms using a variety of methods. If you have a way to create a histogram using some other method or software package please send it over and we’ll add it to the article.

The Data

This is just completely made up data set.

5, 7, 3, 4, 3, 6, 9, 2, 4, 3…

In the situation where you have a sample and would like to know if the population represented by the sample has a mean different than some specification, then this is the test for you. In this case, you do not know the actual variance of the population, you just have a sample.

This test is often the second one in a textbook that describes hypothesis testing. It is a useful hypothesis test and applies in many situations as we rarely know the population variance.


A good practice when applying any statistical application is to consider the related assumptions. …

The essence of creating a reliable product involves making informed decisions. Informed related to the implications of the various options on reliability performance. Yet, these decisions, made nearly every day during the early stages of a product’s lifecycle are fraught with uncertainty.

There is an approach that instead of making perfect decisions every time, we instead focus on making decisions that allow us and others to learn the necessary information to then make better decisions.

What is a Reliable Product?

How good is good enough? …

Tips for Better Online Learning

One of the key ideas behind the ASQ CRE certification is the need to learn enough to pass the exam. Then you are expected to continue to learn to maintain your certification. It is the key idea of ongoing professional development that central to the CRE program, and many other certification programs.

Over this past year of COVID-induced restrictions, the ability to attend local chapter meetings or conferences has changed. While many events are now done online, it’s another Zoom meeting after a day full of such online meetings.

A recent article by Anant Agarwal, the founder and CEO of…

The Culture of Design for Reliability

The way we think and act concerning creating a reliable product or system defines the reliability culture of an origination. I trust your organization doesn’t complete the design then ask the reliability folks to ‘add the reliability element’ or ‘test to prove it’s reliable enough’.

Another ineffective approach is to perform many reliability-related tasks, like a design FMEA, HALT, ALT, derating, margin and environmental testing, life testing, demonstration testing, etc More is not better. If the focus is just doing the list of tasks, with little information acted upon, then this approach is little more than a waste of resources.

How One Person Can Change the Reliability Culture

Nicholas W. Eyrich, Robert E. Quinn, and David P. Fessell published in the Harvard Business Review an article titled “How One Person Can Change the Conscience of an Organization”, dated December 27, 2019. In the article, they discuss how corporate transformations, while assumed to occur from the top-down, actually it is the middle managers and first-line supervisor that can make significant change happen.

They look at what it takes for one person to make a significant change within an organization. As reliability or quality professionals, we often have the opportunity to spot needed changes. …

Building a Basic Box Plot

One of the first things to do when faced with a set of numbers is to plot them. A histogram is often the first choice, maybe a dot plot. Up your data plotting skills and let your data provide a bit more information by using a box plot.

An Example Box Plot

Here’s some data.

2.860928 17.671176 3.679519 12.683250 15.954954 2.185074

10.089316 29.102870 27.585598 5.700319 18.738644 1.694618

11.233156 79.872179 58.078349 11.434015 1.331777 4.846609

14.558336 3.445164 38.214733 12.080222 4.226581 2.426053

15.648076 6.978497 23.055192 8.722669 1.893071 2.748054

Interesting, isn’t it? Is it normally distributed, does it have a single-mode, is there a long tail or outliers…

Introduction to the Delphi Method

As reliability professionals, we are in the business of estimating or forecasting the reliability performance of our product, equipment, or system. While we use a range of tools to analytically make these estimates, sometimes we do not have sufficient data or information.

One method is to ask another person that has knowledge of the particular technology, use conditions, or whatever is hampering our work. If you ask two people you most like will get two different answers. If you ask 10, 10 different answers.

One way to work with a group of subject matter experts is to conduct a structured…

Fred Schenkelberg

Reliability Engineering and Management Consultant focused on improving product reliability and increasing equipment availability.

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