Fix on Failure... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I keep reading that "gliches" will be "fixed on failure". This got me to thinking about my two recent failures.....

Had a new airconditioner/furnace installed last fall. Tested the airconditioner cause it was warm at the time. Didn't think to test the furnace. Shortly after New Year's, on the coldest night of the year, decided it was time to "test" :) You guessed heat! Called the repairman.....he announced it was a faulty circuit breaker, and told me to call an electrician. Well, the breaker was just fine thank you very much! Another call to the repairman.....fortunately this time they sent one with a brain and he found they had forgotten to detach some little wire......

2nd "failure": Drove to the market and ran in to buy a few items. Returned to my car and turned on the key......engine started, but immediately quit. Tried a number of times before giving up. Phoned hubby..... He towed the car home and went to work trying to figure out what was wrong. Spent a couple days trying different tune-up, tested fuel pump, fuses etc.....whatever men do to make a car run :) Turned out that the fuel sensor module had failed.... Fortunately, it was readily available at the dealer and I was back on the road in a few days. However, both these "failures" had a few things in common. For one thing, both were a bit difficult to diagnose....which took time. Also, even though in the furnace the problem was only a tiny wire attached wrong......say .1% of the total system.....the whole thing was rendered useless. Fortunately this was not in a Northern climate where the "domino effect" could have wreaked havoc with water pipes freezing etc...... In the car....again say .1% of the total system......the fact that the other 99.9% was in perfect working order, I was still stranded. Plans for the next few days had to be changed. Without a parts store with inventory on hand, the car was nothing more than a driveway ornament.

When I read of plans to "fix on failure", I just can't help but think of my little failures and wonder how much worse things would have been if the airconditioning Co., the car parts store, the phone Co., and hubby's car had all been suffering a 1% failure rate at the same time. Somehow, those three innocent sounding little words...."fix on failure"....just don't give me the warm fuzzies.....

-- LadyBug (, April 25, 1999


"Fix on Failure" is a multi-ordinal sort of idea.

Sunday morning-- the toaster won't work. Use oven instead. FoF next week. (Ho-hum.)

Monday morning -- time to go to work, but the car has a flat tire. FoF. Late to work. (Mumble mumble!)

Tuesday -- the office network is down. FoF. Sys guy struggles all morning, gives up, calls vendor, they work thru the night. Back on line next morning. A day's work lost, deadline missed. (Loud grumbling by management.)

Saturday -- driving to Grandma's via Interstate. Ignition keyset fails, engine dies. No exits near. Stranded, call on cellphone, 40 minute wait for tow truck, no dealer in area. Weekend shot. Car towed home. FoF. (Kids _really_ annoyed, likewise parents.)

It can get worse. FoF not always prudent choice, but sometimes inevitable.

-- Tom Carey (, April 25, 1999.

Tom Carey wrote:

>FoF not always prudent choice, but sometimes inevitable. <

Should FoF be considered when FbF [Fix before Failure] is a more logical choie?

Sometimes you don't know there is a problem with something until it breaks, such as a toaster.

But if you know something is going to break, such as a leak in a tire, wouldn't it be prudent to fix the leak before it strands you somewhere?

-- J (, April 25, 1999.

A neighbor bought a nice new house and moved in in September. When it finally got cold in November, he turned on the furnace and nothing happened. He called the builder and they found out the problem. It seems that the subcontractor forgot to install the furnace. True story. All of the quality checks failed. Fortunately this happened in Florida and not Minnesota.

-- Tom (, April 25, 1999.

LadyBug, Had to respond to your name. Every spring I get thousands of ladybugs around, on, and in my house. We kill them. Don't want to, but can't live with them.

-- bugkiller, I'msick of those bugs in the (, April 26, 1999.

Other fundamental implied part(s) of "fix on failure" are:

No preventative actions to reduce impact of "easily fixable" repairs,

No ability to predict "what will fail",

Getting several "symptoms" at the same time as the underlying cause(s); but what is a symptom, what is the actual cause(s), and what are just minor problems, that can be fixed later?

Secondary effects of the failure (fires, spills, leaks, accidents, injuries, damage, corrupted data, and lost/irritated/hurt/damaged/destroyed clients and employees) could be (probably will be) worse than the actual damage to equipment and the process or production.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, April 26, 1999.

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