NEW COURSE: Reliability, Testing, and Warranty Analysis

April 27, 2022

by Cj Pettus

Product reliability and warranty programs are important for successfully launching a product and maintaining brand image. Companies don’t always emphasize the importance of these programs during product development, but Dr. Bryan Dodson believes that they should. Bryan has been a leader in quality and reliability for more than thirty years—he’s even the creator of the reliability data analysis software currently used by NASA. Beginning this August, Bryan will share his advanced knowledge in a new, 3-day course from the University of Michigan: Reliability, Testing, and Warranty Analysis.


If you are curious as to why this course matters, Bryan has a good answer for you. He says, “When I think about reliability, I like to think about how reliability helps the profitability of the company. And the biggest problem I see is the separation in time between the decisions you make and the consequences.” 

As Bryan explains, there can be years between product development, product sale, and the evidence of product defects or issues. Because of this distance, companies don’t always prioritize reliability efforts, but Bryan believes that is a mistake. He says, “I would always say to do the warranty projection.” 

Choosing to estimate warranty costs is important for multiple reasons. Bryan’s reasons include, “How do I protect my reputation? How do I keep people safe? How do I not violate government regulations? And how do I get the best behavior from the people in my organization and collaborating organizations? With a reliability program, you can understand how all of those things work together in your organization.”


Warranties are perhaps most associated with industries whose products impact customer safety—such as automotive or aerospace. Those reliability programs are, of course, incredibly important. However, a focus on reliability efforts can benefit companies in a variety of industries because a warranty can also protect brand reputation. 

Even if a product defect affects only the quality and does not endanger anyone, it can hurt the company. According to Bryan, “If you have a failure, and the people curse you under their breath and never tell you about it and never buy your product again, that hurts. But since you don’t feel the pain directly, it never makes it to the top of the priority list.” In order to maintain a positive brand image and grow customer loyalty, Bryan believes that managing a successful and well-planned reliability program from the beginning of product development is essential for nearly any company. Companies with strong reliability programs poise themselves for future growth. 


Reliability efforts are important, but they need to be justified financially. With his years of industry experience, Bryan has learned and created statistical methods, testing, and software that can help anyone manage a reliability program from product development to end of product life. Bryan says, “We need this class because we need to get to the business perspective and help the engineers talk in a way that management understands.”

In this new course, participants will learn how to blend the management, engineering, and statistical aspects of an effective reliability program. From his wealth of experience, Bryan has many unique and extremely interesting case studies, and he’s looking forward to diving into those during the first offering this August. 

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