Adding value to build your career

As a reliability engineer we work across the organization to bring a reliable product to market. The value of meeting the customers reliability expectations results in customer satisfactions, increased sales and in some cases premium pricing. We want a reliable product. Being a pivotal element in the process means you have provided value to the organization and to their customers.

Adding value increases your opportunities for career success. Even if the product doesn’t succeed in the market, by adding value to the program you still increase you chance of career success.

Value is

the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something

In the business world, value is money. If the return on investment (ROI) adequate. For example, if the cost of an accelerated life test is $50k, will the information from the ALT result in decision related to 10x times $50k or half a million? If so, the investment to obtain the knowledge enables the team to make a decision affecting the launch of a product, or the establishment of a warranty policy.

If the early prototype highly accelerated life testing reveals three critical design faults, it permits the design team time to resolve the issues without delaying the product launch. The delay may cost lost sales, and depends on your market. In each case, the reliability engineer’s task is to recommend and execute tasks that affect decisions, reduce risk, save time, or add value.

This extends to every encounter with your fellow engineers and managers working to bring a product to market. You can provide insight, information and knowledge that enhances the entire team’s ability to create a reliable product. Adding value should be a habit.

For the larger tasks that require significant resources to accomplish, you may have to estimate the ROI before being provided the prototypes and equipment to accomplish the task. In other cases, before starting as task, determine how and where the resulting information will be used. Be sure to meet key deadlines as perfect information for a key decision a day late is not useful.

My former boss and mentor drafted a list of questions that may be useful when you are seeking how a particular reliability activity provides value. The list explores reduced failure rate along with saved engineering time, increased sales, reduced risk to the launch date, and a few more ways to calculate value. Find the value questionnaire at my site under the Introduction to Reliability Management presentation.

For each activity you start or recommend as a reliability engineer understand the cost and return calculate the ROI, and if the activity is not of value it is time to focus on something that does. A habit of adding value and being able to aciculate the value you have contributed lets you clearly focus on activities the provide the greatest benefit to you and your organization.

About 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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