Looking Forward to the MTBF Report
On social media the other day ran across a comment from someone that took my breath away. They were looking forward to starting a new reliability, no, MTBF report. They were tasked with creating a measure of reliability for use across the company and they choose MTBF.
Where have we gone wrong?
I certainly do not blame the person. They have read about MTBF in many textbooks. Studied reliability using MTBF and related measures, plus found technical papers using the same. They may have seen industry reports and standards also.
MTBF is prevalent and no wonder someone tasked with setting a metric would select MTBF. It’s easy to calculate. Just one number and bigger is better.
On the other hand
MTBF is roundly criticized across any reliability related forum or discussion group. There is progress in books, papers and standards. And, it’s not reaching those new to reliability engineering.
This note will be short and have one request. Please tell those just getting started in reliability engineering to please not consider using MTBF. To not request MTBF from vendors. And, to actually do some thinking before selecting MTBF as their organizations metric.
Better yet, challenge those using MTBF to explain in a coherent and rational manner why they are doing so. Ask them to validate their assumed constant failure rate or similar assumptions. Working together we can start a ripple that may help build the wave of knowledge to improve the state of reliability engineering.