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.
So, what is it that makes a wonderful design for reliability program? It’s not expecting the reliability team to do it on their own, nor is it checking off a long list of tasks. It is the focus across the organization, inside and outside the design and development team, that each decision made has an impact on reliability performance. As such, the work of the DfR program is to enable each decision to be well informed concerning the potential impact to reliability involved with the pending decision.
DfR is Not Doing Reliability During Design & Development
Creating a reliable product is part of the process of creating a product. These are not two different processes that are independent of one another. A team that focuses on creating a design without considering reliability for three days, then shifts to doing reliability the other two days, is missing the point of DfR.
The eventual reliability performance of a system is a direct function of the decisions made during the concept, design, development, supply chain origination, maintenance plans, etc. This includes decisions made by the marketing, sales, finance, and other teams across the organization.
If the marketing team sets the expectation that the new product will work without failure for 10 years, and the technology is fundamentally not capable of serving that long, then you will not meet your customer expectations concerning reliability.