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Friday, 11 October 2013

Design Tools and Techniques

Today is an emerging design practice that involves different non-designers in various co-design activities throughout the design process. By non-designers we refer to potential users, other external stakeholders and/or people on the development team who are from disciplines other than design such as those in marketing, engineering, sales, etc
More recently and with inspiration from neighboring traditions mainly within interaction design of providing potential future users with inspirational probing kits that may produce inspirational material for the professional designer.

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Design for Reliability:

All reliability professionals are familiar with the terms Weibull Analysis and/or Life Data Analysis. In fact, for many, these analysis techniques have become almost synonymous with reliability and achieving high reliability. The reality, though, is that although life data analysis is an important piece of the pie, performing just this type of analysis is not enough to achieve reliable products. Rather, there are a variety of activities involved in an effective reliability program and in arriving at reliable products. Achieving the organization’s reliability goals requires strategic vision, proper planning, sufficient organizational resource allocation and the integration and institutionalization of reliability practices into development projects. Design for Reliability, however, is more specific than these general ideas. It is actually a process. Specifically, DFR describes the entire set of tools that support product and process design (typically from early in the concept stage all the way through to product obsolescence) to ensure that customer expectations for reliability are fully met throughout the life of the product with low overall life-cycle costs.

Why is Design for Reliability important:

Why should a company commit resources for deploying a DFR process? The answer to this question is quite simple... warranty costs and customer satisfaction. Field failures are very costly. One case in point is the recently publicized Xbox issue, which has cost Microsoft more than a billion dollars in warranties (aside from loss of business and market share). Clearly, in order to be profitable, an organization’s products must be reliable, and reliable products require a formal reliability process. Three important statements summarize the best practice reliability philosophy of successful companies:

1) Reliability must be designed into products and processes using the best available science-based methods.
2) Knowing how to calculate reliability is important, but knowing how to achieve reliability is equally, if not more, important.
3) Reliability practices must begin early in the design process and must be well integrated into the overall product development cycle.

Distinction between Reliability and Quality:

First, let us start with some basic clarifications. Traditional quality control assures that the product will work after assembly and as designed. Whereas reliability provides the probability that an item will perform its intended function for a designated period of time without failure under specified conditions. In other words, reliability looks at how long the product will work as designed, which is a very different objective than that of traditional quality control. Therefore, different tools and models apply to reliability that do not necessarily apply to quality and vice versa.

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