There are numerous high-profile examples of product recalls resulting from poorly designed products and/or processes. These failures are debated in the public forum with manufacturers, service providers and suppliers being depicted as incapable of providing a safe product. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, or FMEA, is a methodology aimed at allowing organisations to anticipate failure during the design stage by identifying all of the possible failures in a design or manufacturing process.
What is FMEA?
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a structured approach to discovering potential failures that may exist within the design of a product or process.
Failure modes are the ways in which a process can fail. Effects are the ways that these failures can lead to waste, defects or harmful outcomes for the customer. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is designed to identify, prioritise and limit these failure modes.
There are two broad categories of FMEA – Design FMEA (DFMEA) and Process FMEA (PFMEA)
Why perform FMEA?
Historically, the sooner a failure is discovered, the less it will cost. If a failure is discovered late in product development or launch, the impact is exponentially more devastating.
FMEA is one of many tools used to discover failure at its earliest possible point in product or process design. Ultimately, this methodology is effective at identifying and correcting process failures early on so that you can avoid the nasty consequences of poor performance.
When to perform FMEA
There are several times at which it makes sense to perform a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis:
When you are designing a new product, process or service
When you are planning on performing an existing process in a different way
When you have a quality improvement goal for a specific process
When you need to understand and improve the failures of a process
In addition, it is advisable to perform an FMEA occasionally throughout the lifetime of a process. Quality and reliability must be consistently examined and improved for optimal results.
Learn more about FMEA
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