Track 2 Session 1

9:10 to 10:10 a.m. Wednesday March 23, 2011

Reliability: Is It a Blessing or a Curse?

Quality and reliability have been booming subjects for the West. In response to World War II product failures, manufacturers learned from gurus such as Deming and Juran how to create more reliable products. Japan also created products that were cheap but unreliable. However, Japan learned from the same gurus and everyone knows the current results. Japan clearly listened to their teachers and acted accordingly but the West only listened. Other countries, such as China, are also learning quickly and will take another large piece of the cake in a few decades. Will the West survive? Based on the 950 results of a questionnaire, the conclusion is that most Western companies have no idea (25%) or only a little idea (65%) about reliability other than that it increases costs and delays time-to-market. Therefore, reliability becomes a curse for them. Reliability is recognized as a blessing in only 10% of the remaining companies. This presentation discusses the differences between quality, the less important parameter reliability and the essential parameter unreliability. The session will also discuss an easy method for specifying the right reliability parameter value for a product in order to change the curse into a blessing.

Key Words: Reliability, Unreliability, Blessing, Curse, The Right Reliability Parameter Value

John van Schendel


The Netherlands