RELIABILITY CAPABILITY EVALUATION FOR ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURERS
Pecht, Michael G
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In the last decade of the twentieth century, competitive and regulatory pressures have driven all types of electronics manufacturers to low-cost manufacturing, and to the evolution of a worldwide supply chain. Reliability being a risk factor associated with profit making, it is essential that reliability is managed across all tiers of the supply chain. System integrators, who are at the top of the supply chain, generally set the requirements for system reliability. However, they cannot wait until they receive the parts or sub-assemblies to assess if they are reliable. This can be an expensive iterative process. An upfront evaluation of suppliers based on their ability to meet reliability requirements can provide valuable competitive advantage. This dissertation introduces a set of key practices that can be used to assess whether an organization has the ability to design, develop and manufacture reliable electronic products. This ability is defined in terms of a reliability capability maturity metric which is a measure of the practices within an organization that contribute to the reliability of the final product, and the effectiveness of these practices in meeting the reliability requirements of customers. In order to validate the theoretical model for reliability capability evaluation, psychometric methods based on statistical multivariate correlational analysis were used. Psychometric methods are rigorous statistical tools that are used to construct theoretical instruments which measure abstract organizational variables. The result of the analysis is a list of tasks that are critical to reliability for an electronics company. Comparative weighting factors have also been obtained empirically for reliability tasks. The dissertation presents a procedure for evaluating and benchmarking the reliability capability of electronics companies. Five levels of maturity are defined in terms of associated reliability tasks at each level. Evaluation results are presented for reliability capability benchmarking for an electronics company as a case study. A methodology is also presented to evaluate the reliability capability of a printed circuit board (PCB) assembly manufacturer. The methodology determines the manufacturing capability of an assembler, and then evaluates the maturity of practices affecting reliability to assign a reliability capability maturity score to an assembler.