Process ImprovementFailure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a qualitative and systematic tool for evaluating a process or product to identify potential problems (failure modes) and their impacts (effects). This will allow the identification of these problems at the beginning of a process in order to make the necessary changes to prevent defects from arising.

This tool was one of the first systematic techniques developed for failure analysis. It was designed in the late 1940’s by reliability engineers to study problems that might arise from malfunctions of military systems.

An FMEA helps anticipate failure modes and the effects of that failure by reviewing components, assemblies, subsystems and systems. It also contributes in identifying the possible causes and the probability of detecting failures before their occurrence. Different types of FMEA exists, some of these are:

  • Functional
  • Design
  • Process FMEA

The FMEA identifies potential failure modes based on experience with similar products and processes or based on common physics of failure logic. This tool can be used when:

  • A process, product or service is being designed, redesigned, or applied in a new way
  • Control plans are being developed for a new or modified process
  • Failures of existing process, products or service are being analyzed
  • Continuously throughout the life of the process, product or service

The FMEA is used across many industries in various phases of the product life cycle. It’s often the first step to detect reliability problems at the beginning of the development of a product, allowing organizations to improve their designs in order to produce reliable and safe products that meet their customer’s expectations. The use of this tool may bring many benefits, such as:

  • Early identification of failure modes.
  • Selection of a design of a product or process with a high probability of successful operation and safety.
  • Identification of failure modes ranked according to the seriousness of their effects and probability of occurrence.
  • Criteria for early planning of tests.
  • Increase of the delivery of reliable products and services.

Defects in products and services may turn out to be very expensive; detecting a problem after it has occurred and attempting to correct it requires organizations to invest time and money that will not be valued by their customers. An FMEA will enable organizations to design in quality and reliability at the beginning of the process, decrease the probability of failures and increase process effectiveness and customer satisfaction.

If you are interested in learning more about utilizing FMEA in your organization, get in touch to see how Workplace One can help.