Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Hierarchical Qualification of Electrical Components
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has developed a new component selection and evaluation plan to produce a telemetry processor of the highest quality. The plan was customized by the product realization team who determined the requirements of that particular product. Under the old method, component vendors were audited and rated by a team from SNL before components could be provided by that vendor. This process was costly and time consuming. In addition, each component was qualified by additional rigorous in-house testing to SNL specifications. Every part went through this process, thereby significantly increasing the cost.
The most important feature of the new plan was a hierarchical method of selecting components. The team selected corporate preferred parts when possible but used other components when it was determined that the overall quality of the system would improve. By applying this method, information about part quality from all sources could be given to the electronics designer at the time of part selection. This was the most significant advantage of the plan, since electrical component quality was the major cost driver for electronic product quality.
Under the new plan, acceptance testing has been reduced 90%. The cost of individual components has dropped 75%, and the time required to obtain new components has also been reduced significantly. By using quality components up front, the cost of the assembled telemetry processor has been reduced while its quality has increased. SNL has set the stage to apply this procedure on other products and expects widespread use throughout the company.
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