Reliability Program Standard Implementation Guide
|Publication Date:||1 March 1999|
Scope - Introduction
Introduction - The importance of reliability in design engineering has significantly grown since the early 1960's. Competition has been a primary driver in this growth. The three realities of competition today are: world class quality and reliability, cost-effectiveness, and fast time-to-market. Formerly, companies could effectively compete if they could achieve at least two of these features in their products and product development processes, often at the expense of the third. However, customers today, whether military, aerospace, or commercial, have been sensitized to a higher level of expectation and demand products that are highly reliable, yet affordable.
Product development practices are shifting in response to this higher level of expectation. Today, there is seldom time, or necessary resources to extensively test, analyze, and fix to achieve high quality and reliability. It is also true that the rapid growth in technology prevents the accumulation of historical data on the field performance of their products. Unfortunately, some reliability methods have depended upon the availability of historical data, other experiential information, or learning through extensive and time consuming tests. The new realities require innovation and creativity in the selection and use of reliability methods, and teamwork and collaboration in the management of product development programs. There must be a shift from seeking to eliminate complaints in products, to eliciting praise for them.
To enable this transition, reliability efforts must be directed toward anticipating problems and designing-in features that assure the achievement of quality and reliability, concurrent with the development process, instead of trying to assess quality and reliability downstream. The gains in time-to-market and cost savings from such an approach can be significant. More recent reliability programs tend not to prescribe reliability tasks or methods to be performed by suppliers. Rather, suppliers are considered equal partners in the effort to produce a reliable product and work with the companies in deciding which reliability methods provide most value in achieving objectives.