As a measure of product performance on the Customer Buying Hierarchy, this term refers to the consistency with which the company delivers on the promises made, or implied, to the customer by its product/service package. For the customer of a channel of distribution, Reliability refers to the predictability of product availability, the return policy of the channel, and the quality of problem resolution the channel offers the customer. A customer purchasing a manufactured product sees three categories of Reliability: reliability of delivery, the supplier's performance record in getting the product to the customer at the promised quantity and time; reliability of function, the consistency with which the product performs the function promised; and reliability of market presence, the consistency with which the company supports its customers and distributors.
(See also Customer Buying Hierarchy)

Example 1:

Federal Express uses hand-held computers to track parcels as they travel, ensuring they get where they need to go correctly.
(Year 1990-SIC 3575)

Explanation: Federal Express adds hand-held computer tracking to increase the Reliability of function.

Example 2:

TI will guarantee 100% on-time delivery to customers that sign special long-term contracts.
(SL 60-Year 1986-SIC 3674).

Explanation: This Reliability benefit for channel customers guarantees for those customers the Reliability of delivery.

Example 3:

In 1981, primary buyers of aluminum viewed the product as a commodity and therefore chose suppliers mainly to assure supply under tight metal conditions.
(3334-Year 1981-SIC 3334)

Explanation: The aluminum company winners in this situation were able to assure their customers of Reliability of the supply.

Example 4:

Republic's AutoNation USA offers no dickering over sale prices or trade-ins. The cars can be returned in 7 days, no questions asked. Cars also carry a comprehensive 90-day warranty.
(Year 1997-SIC 5500)

Explanation: These Reliability benefits assure customers of the quality of the product and the fairness of the price.

Example 5:

With LL Bean mail order catalogs, it has become standard practice to permit returns at any time for any reason.
(Year 1989-SIC 5961)

Explanation: This Reliability benefit assures customers that products purchased from LL Bean will be of high quality.