Resilience, Resolve, and Reliable Products — Accendo Reliability

Fred Schenkelberg
3 min readApr 29, 2021

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? This question, like the question about a reliable product, is subjective and in the purview of the customer, not the design team.

A reliable product is one that functions as expected without failure over a suitable duration or beyond such that the product provides amble value in relation to the investment of its purchase, installation, maintenance, and use. The product does what it should do over time and we can count on it to do so.

Understanding and documenting the customer’s definition of reliability for your new product is difficult. Each customer has a different criterion for your product to be labeled reliable.

Furthermore, your product may only provide one option available to the customer for a particular task or function. Your product is judged in part by the perceived reliability of other potential solutions.

Plus, there is a business decision that may define the desired reliable performance to achieve. Your organization may want to create the most reliable solution, or not. Whatever the intended reliability performance vision, it should be clear and documented, then translated into specific product reliability goals.

The Motivation to Create a Reliable Product

Given a reliability goal and an understanding of how customers define a reliable product, it still takes determined work to realize a design that meets both business and customer expectations. Having a goal and the means to achieve it are foundational for a team to work toward meeting those objectives.

Just having goals is not enough. The team also needs to receive regular feedback on progress toward achieving the intended goals.

Fred Schenkelberg

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