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Reliability is a very broad term that focuses on the ability of a product to perform its intended function. Mathematically speaking, reliability can be defined as the probability that an item will perform its intended function without failure for a specified period of time under stated conditions.
Performing a reliability analysis on a product or system can actually include a number of different analyses to determine how reliable the product or system is. Once these RAM analyses have been made, it is possible to anticipate the effects of design changes and corrections in order to improve reliability. The different RAM analyses are all related, and examine the reliability of the product or system from different perspectives, in order to determine possible problems and assist in analyzing corrections and improvements.

Why is reliability important?
There are several reasons why RAM analyses are important. A few of the most common are mentioned below:

* Reputation.
A company's reputation is very closely related to the reliability of their products. The more reliable a product is, the more likely the company is to have a favorable reputation.

* Warranty Costs.
If a product fails to perform its function within the warranty period, the replacement and repair costs will negatively affect profits, as well as gain unwanted negative attention. Introducing RAM analyses could be an important step in taking corrective action, ultimately leading to a product that is more reliable.

* Future Business.
A concentrated effort towards improved reliability shows existing customers that a manufacturer is serious about their product, and committed to customer satisfaction. This type of attitude has a positive impact on future business.

* Cost Analysis.
Manufacturers may take reliability data and combine it with other cost information to illustrate the cost-effectiveness of their products. This life cycle cost analysis can prove that although the initial cost of their product might be higher, the overall lifetime cost is lower than a competitor's because their product requires fewer repairs or less maintenance.

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