Why do we use Weibull++ over JMP?

Why do we use ReliaSoft instead of JMP to Identify the Time to Failure?

This is a question someone posted to Quora and the system prompted me to answer it, which I did.

This question is part of the general question around which software tools do you use for specific situations. First, my response to the question.

My Answer

I’ve used both packages, Weibull++ from ReliaSoft and JMP… Weibull++ is and was built to deal with time to failure data – especially it’s namesake the Weibull distribution.

Weibull++ is easy to use for inputting data, doing basic regression analysis and plotting the data. It has a number of calculators built in to help with sorting out reliability at one year, and so on. Again it is easy to use and focuses on reliability type data analysis.

JMP is a powerful full-featured statistical analysis package. It has a nice range of reliability (time to failure) capabilities, yet it also has Design of Experiments, Hypothesis testing, statistical process control (control charts), and much, much more. It can do a very wide range of statistical, quality, reliablity, and experimental analysis and plotting.

JMP is more difficult to use for a basic Weibull regression and plot, because it also can do so much more… in the time it takes to sort out how to analyze a time to failure dataset with JMP I could have the Weibull plots done and in Powerpoint with Weibull++.

JMP also can provide detailed regression analysis such as residual plots, where as Weibull++ doesn’t make that easy or in some cases possible.

Both are good tools and both have their benefits and limitations. Both have the capability to identify time to failure information, yet Weibull++ is easier to use. So, that is why, I suppose.

Software Options and Doing the Analysis

I’ve lost count of the number of software packages for data analysis that I’ve learned, explored, tried, and used over the years. There is no lack of options available.

  • Some are fun and easy to use — Weibull++
  • Some provide limited capabilities — Excell, Numbers, Sheets, online calculators
  • Some can do everything — Mathematica, Mathcad, R, Splus

Some are easy to use with limited capabilities, some are easy/hard to learn, some are flexible and some are not. Sometimes the only option is the software package we have available.

When faced with a statistically based task we make an initial decision on which software we’re going to use. Of course, this depends on the objective of the analysis. We attempt to use the package that will help us achieve the results (plot, analysis, etc.) that helps us understand the data and either ask more questions or support a decision.

It’s funny (sad), when using MTBF we really don’t need a software package. MTBF simplifies the data to such an extent, destroying valuable information along the way, that all we need is simple hand calculations or basic calculator (that has an ‘e’ button) to believe we did the ‘math’ and have ‘meaningful results’.

A good bit of advice is to let the goals of the analysis guide your software selection, not the other way around. Use the tools that help you tease out the story contained within the data.


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.

3 thoughts on “Why do we use Weibull++ over JMP?

  1. How about Minitab or SuperSMITH Weibull?
    I like SuperSMITH Weibull together with the “New Weibull handbook”

    Do you have any opinion on those?


    1. Hi Tim,

      Having only used Minitab on occasion, not regularly, and with no experience with SuperSMITH Weibull, really cannot provide a comparison or comment.

      What is your experience and thoughts on the two packages?

      The New Weibull Handbook is a fine text and provides many ways to use Weibull. Keep in mind that Weibull isn’t the only distribution and many of the applications described in the book work just as well with lognormal, gamma, etc.



      1. Hi Fred,

        In my experience I like SuperSMITH over Reliasoft, Reliasoft software has too many parameters to tweak (in a bad way) in my opinion.
        But I only used the demo versions (so no long time experience)
        So I might be biased.

        Minitab (license available at work) is not so user friendly to use when going for failure distributions, but it is doable.

        In doubt of a calculation I sometimes do the exercise in SuperSMITH and Minitab.
        So I can use the graphics according the audience I need to present the results.

        The New Weibull handbooks title is indeed misleading, because more distributions are being described in the book.

        This could be a nice topic for a future webinar?
        Compare the tools that analyse the failure data.

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