Here are a few extra links on Statistics, Quality Engineering and Failure Mode Avoidance that you may find useful. Oh, and Physics....
Useful Web Sites
A paper on Statistical Engineering written by my friends Dan Grove, Felician Campean, and Ed Henshall. It provides a useful guideline for what methods statisticians should teach engineers.
"Reliability" by Don Clausing. A seminal paper, presented at a Ford Motor Company conference in November 1994. With this paper began the development of Failure Mode Avoidance in Ford. See also Don's Technometrics paper.
(Don Clausing had a major impact on my thinking, and we became friends. Don died on December 20, 2010 - his last published paper was called Technology Readiness with Maurice Holmes. There is an audio discussion on this paper recorded with Don himself shortly before he died, which can be heard here.)
Richard Feynman's "inflamed appendix" - his report into the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger accident. A classic early account of how to approach quality engineering and failure mode avoidance from a systems perspective - that is to say, from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.
A print interview with Richard Parry-Jones (while he was Chief Technical Officer & Group Vice President of Product Development, Ford Motor Company) on Failure Mode Avoidance in automotive engineering; this article gives a good high level overview of the applicability of Failure Mode Avoidance to all aspects of the business. See also Richard's lecture at North Western University in Chicago in 2001.