#171 – YOU ARE A RELIABILITY LEADER – NOW MAKE A DIFFERENCE – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredLeadership is not a position or title within an organization. It is an attitude.

You’ve seen the internet meme’s about the difference between leadership and management. There is a difference and while not everyone is going to be in top management, everyone can (and should) be a leader.

As a reliability professional, you are conveniently looked to for leadership. You are expected to use your knowledge and skill to solve problems. To help teams solve problems. To improve the reliability performance of your system and across your industry. Continue reading

#170 – THE NEED TO IMPROVE THE RELIABILITY NARRATIVE – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredLittle Compromises and Future Costs

In a recent Seth Godin blog, Counting beans he talks about the eventual costs of little compromises. The immediate benefit may be celebration worthy, yet

But overlooked are the unknown costs over time, the erosion in brand, the loss in quality, the subtraction from something that took years to add up.

This certainly applies to reliability as well. Deferring maintenance just one more month, addressing one more software bug can be done after shipping, and similar small shifts erode reliability of your system. Continue reading

#168 – CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCE PRODUCT RELIABILITY IN REAL TIME – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredIn a customer’s mind, the product works or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t work as expected it has failed. This may or may not be a reliability problem.

A customer or someone using your product brings a set of expectations to the experience. The range of expectations may range from very little to very high functional, value production, and durability.

Failures are defined by customers. Continue reading

#167 – USE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILES – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredUse / Environmental profiles

Did you know that hot air doesn’t rise when there is no or very little gravity?

The electronics used to steer an oil exploration drill head 5 miles deep in the earth experiences 200°C sulfuric acid immersion along with continuous 50,000G shocks.

I used to think the environment under the hood a car was difficult. Continue reading

#166 – THE MANY WAYS WE USE VARIANCE – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredThe term variance is a statistical concept related to the spread or dispersion of a set of data. Second to the mean, it a common value we may calculate.

We find standard deviation easier to understand and use (it uses the same units as the data) whereas variance uses the units squared.

We use variance in quite a few different ways. Let’s review just a few. Continue reading

#165 – INTRODUCTION TO DESIGN FOR RELIABILITY – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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The reliability of a product is strongly influenced by decisions made during the design process.

ABC FredThe key message here is reliability occurs at the point of decision. Each time someone makes a decision, selects a component, chooses a material, assumes a use profile, the eventual product reliability takes shape. Continue reading

#162 – WHY DO WE USE THE SUM OF SQUARES CONCEPT SO OFTEN? – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredThe data analysis course professor tended to focus on the practical application of statistics.

Avoiding statistical theory was fine with me. Learning statistics for me was on how to solve problems, optimize designs, and understanding data. Continue reading

#161 – INTRODUCTION TO THE SIX SIGMA DESIGN APPROACH – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredSigma, σ, is the Greek character we use to represent standard deviation. 6 σ represents the spread of data about the mean. For data with a normal distribution 6 σ includes 99.7% of the data.

The 6 σ design approach incorporates knowledge of the variation that will occur within the design such that the design has is unlikely to fail. Continue reading

#159 – IS YOUR OPERATION AT RISK? – JAMES KOVACEVIC

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JamesKovacevic300x400There are many internal & external pressures on our operations. Many we don’t even think about, or are even aware of. These pressures greatly influence our ability to be profitable, and therefore sustainable. Being aware of these pressures & barriers will allow us to head them off and ensure our profitability. Continue reading

#157 – SUPPLY CHAIN PROCESS CONTROL AND CAPABILITY – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredIf you buy more than one of an item used in your product, you will have to deal with variability. In general, the variability from part to part is minimal and expected. Occasionally, the variability is large and causes reliability problems.

According to O’Connor and Kleyner, “The main cause of production-induced unreliability, as well as rework and scrap, is the variability inherent in production processes.” O’Connor, Patrick D. T. and Andre Kleyner. 2012. Practical Reliability Engineering. Chicester: John Wiley and Sons. Web. Continue reading

#156 – ELEMENTS OF WARRANTY MANAGEMENT – FRED SCHENKELBERG

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ABC FredWarranty is a part of doing business. Warranty management is not just the terms listed on the box.

Understanding the entire warranty process, along with your options, permits you to manage your warranty, rather than the other way around.

This is a short overview. Pieces of a warranty program occur well before the first product ships and may affect the company bottom line for years after you ship your last product. Brand promise, marketing, finance, customer service are not common areas for a reliability engineer. Yet, the impact of product failures tends to dominant warranty expenses. Therefore understanding the many elements around warranty management is essential for any reliability engineer. Continue reading