NoMTBF Non-Users Group

Let’s Create a NoMTBF Non-User’s Group Today

We do it right!

Those that read this blog regularly know that I, along with many others, have some passion for the eradication of MTBF from common use. We make arguments, create examples, describe the errors and encourage using other methods. The campaign seems to be going along well. Yet MTBF is still in use – in standards, in certifications, and even taught by those that should really know better. We’re making progress, but there is much more yet to do.

The idea of a user’s group came to mind recently. We could create a support and networking group to encourage each other, share stories of successes and failures. We could meet at various conferences as a special interest group, over lunch: to meet, to share, and to plot.

The cost of membership is activism. Wear your NoMTBF button. Comment on forums. Start a discussion. Change a standard. Create a reliability goal that does not use MTBF. Publish a guest post (NoMTBF is looking for blog guest posts). Publish a trade magazine or journal article. Make a conference presentation. Basically take a clear step on the behalf of the campaign.

We could have levels of membership. The Basic level would include a code of conduct, which includes not using MTBF and challenging its use by others.

  1. Bronze membership for posting or publishing on social media.
  2. Silver membership for project goal-setting or convincing a customer to switch to reliability instead of MTBF.
  3. Gold membership for those that write a standard or certification that avoids using MTBF.
  4. Platinum membership for those that lead their industry out of the land of MTBF.
  5. Bonus (perhaps oak leafs clusters for your NoMTBF button) for each $10 million in savings due to not using MTBF.

Our meetings would let us share stories, present awards, congratulate/initiate new members, and plot our next steps. What else can we do to hasten the demise of MTBF?

Recently I read about the argument that MTBF is so common and so widely used that we should not work to replace it. Apparently it would ruin entire industries. I believe and have seen just the opposite; that by using reliability, R(t), we make better decisions, reduce warranty, increase market share, and streamline product development. Just because MTBF is in common use does not mean it should be in common use. It shouldn’t.

A small group of determined professionals can eradicate the use of MTBF. I know the IEC standards team is working to revise documents, and most are dropping reference to MTBF. I know first hand that teams which learn about the Weibull distribution and the cumulative distribution function immediately realize the improvement over just using MTBF. You have seen these changes and others. Let’s join forces, energy and focus to finally eradicate MTBF.

Author: Fred Schenkelberg

I am an experienced reliability engineering and management consultant with my firm FMS Reliability. My passion is working with teams to create cost-effective reliability programs that solve problems, create durable and reliable products, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce warranty costs.

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