FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis)
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a risk assessment and management technique used commonly in the motor industry and ever more frequently in other industries too.
It makes use of brainstorming sessions to identify as many potential failure modes as possible and their causes and effects. These are then assessed for probability of Occurrence, Severity of effect and likelihood of Detection, usually on a 1-10 basis. Finally an overall ranking is produced, based on a Risk Priority Number, or RPN. The results are recorded in a pre-determined format, either on paper or in an Excel spreadsheet or by using specific software.
The key is to then formulate actions for the most important items that will lead to reducing the RPN and hence a better (i.e. less risky) design or process.
FMEA’s are meant to be living documents, not something done once and then put on the shelf and forgotten. Also better results are achieved if a multi-disciplinary team is involved in the sessions. Typically this may involve representatives from design, supply, service, manufacturing, quality, and a facilitator or Chairman.
FMEA’s can be applied to design or processes in any kind of industry, not just manufacturing, but service industries too.
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