Reliability is no longer a separate activity performed by a distinct group within your organization. Product reliability goals, concerns and activities are integrated into nearly every function and process of an organization.
Senior management’s role is to foster an environment where the team keeps reliability and quality goals clearly in mind. Engineering teams must balance project costs, customer maintenance costs, quality, time-to-market, performance and reliability (and possibly other factors specific to your industry) to achieve optimal product designs. The organization’s structure must encourage all members of the team to apply appropriate reliability methods and principles.
The DfR roll for the reliability personnel is often finding the cost effective components and design structures with minimal risk and then presenting this to the designers.
In today’s global economy, so many industries are competing on reliability; we have realized that design for reliability training must be “Designed In.” What better way to design in reliability than to make the designers responsible for the reliability of their designs?
This concept has caught on so well that today most people attending lectures and seminars about reliability are designers, not reliability engineers. The role of the reliability engineer is changing into the mentor. The reliability engineer is now responsible for going out and finding the best tools to use and then training the designers on how to use them. The reliability engineer is responsible for writing the Reliability Plan, and the designers are responsible for executing the plan.
Design for Reliability is about getting the designers to take ownership of the reliability of the product. The reliability department then becomes the steering committee, helping to set the policies, providing the direction and training.
I liken it to a rowing race. The reliability engineer is the coxswain (on a rowing team, the coxswain is the member who sits in the stern facing the bow, steers the boat, and coordinates the power and rhythm of the rowers) and the designers are the rowers. When the two work together well, the boat seems to glide across the water smoothly and effortlessly.