On analysis of incomplete field failure data. (English) Zbl 1304.62150

Summary: Many commercial products are sold with warranties and indirectly through dealers. The manufacturer-retailer distribution mechanism results in serious missing data problems in field return data, as the sales date for an unreturned unit is generally unknown to the manufacturer. This study considers a general setting for field failure data with unknown sales dates and a warranty limit. A stochastic expectation–maximization (SEM) algorithm is developed to estimate the distributions of the sales lag (time between shipment to a retailer and sale to a customer) and the lifetime of the product under study. Extensive simulations are used to evaluate the performance of the SEM algorithm and to compare with the imputation method proposed by S. Ghosh [Ann. Appl. Stat. 4, No. 4, 1976–1999 (2010; Zbl 1220.62123)]. Three real examples illustrate the methodology proposed in this paper.


62P30 Applications of statistics in engineering and industry; control charts
62N05 Reliability and life testing


Zbl 1220.62123
Full Text: DOI arXiv Euclid


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