MTBF?

This week, our refrigerator died. When I posted about it on Facebook, my neighbor commented that her refrigerator is more than 40 years old and still running. I didn’t ask her whether hers was mustard yellow or olive green. Mine is shiny stainless, and just over two years old. During that time, it was off for 6 weeks while we were out of our home after it flooded. According to the repairman, the compressor plus other parts of the system needed to be replaced. The compressor itself would have been under warranty, but not the labor, and I’m not sure about how the rest of the system would have been treated. When we bought the refrigerator, my mom told me to get the extended warranty because she had literally had to have every circuit board replaced on her refrigerator, and she’d have been out of luck if she hadn’t had a contract. I’m grateful that I listened to my mom, but clearly, things are not made the way that they used to. My original theory was the quality of the lead free soldering was not sufficient to withstand the amount of vibration that a refrigerator has. But our fridge didn’t fail because of one of the PCBAs. It seems like the concept of quality may be missing in the appliance industry right now. I just find myself wondering how we got to this place.

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Free Quality Tools? Yes, please!

A recent ASQ Quality Press eNewsletter had a link to one of my absolute favorite things on the ASQ website – free tools! In a post promoting one of my favorite resources, Nancy Tague’s The Quality Toolbox, 2nd Edition, the editors also shared the previously mentioned link. Each item in the list that has (XLS) or (DOC) behind it is a totally free template for the referenced tools. The second link with the same link provides descriptive information on how to use the tool and when it applies. I’ve shared this information for years as part of a practical problem solving class that I have taught at work. What is your favorite quality tool?