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Why: Most organizations know where they are strong. On an objective basis, few organizations know where they are weak. Reliability audits are a fact finding exercises similar to financial and quality audits to ferret out weaknesses for corrective action. The questions to be answered are: 1) how well are you doing what you promised against your reliability policy, 2) How well is upper management doing against company objectives for reliability, 3) how well are reliability plans, systems, and procedures working, 4) How well are plans systems, and procedures being executed against the policy, 5) how well are the productive effort for reliability working for achieving the goals, 6) how well has the reliability system been communicated to employees and are they committed to understanding and implementing the improvements, and 7) are financial objectives being met as a result of ongoing reliability improvements (which is the main objective of the audit-not just a rigid procedural/bureaucratic compliance to details).

When: Detailed annual audits should occur annually with a follow-up on the annual audits to occur six month later to insure that corrective action has been implemented. With out a six month deadline few tasks will be completed because of procrastination.

Where: Audits are needed for 1) reliability system management, 2) new techniques, technology, developments, and controls, 3) supplier control (internal and external), 4) process operation and control, 5) reliability data programs, 6) problem solving techniques, 7) control of reliability measurements, 8) human resources involvement, 9) customer satisfaction assessment (internal/external), and 10) software reliability (excluding Microsoft products used in the office environment).

These definitions are written by H. Paul Barringer and are also posted on his web site at www.barringer1.com

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