New to FMEA?
FMEA, or Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, is an organized, systematic approach for performing failure analysis on your product, system, or process. When performing a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, you consider all possible or potential failure modes; evaluate their associated risk factors based on their level of severity; and then determine ways to prevent, mitigate, or detect those failures. Overall, FMEAs are invaluable for maintaining and continuously improving your quality objectives.
Identify Your Potential Failures
To perform FMEAs, you break down your system, design, or process into elements, which can be as granular as you choose. From that point, you systematically go through those elements to determine the possible ways the given item can potentially fail. For each of those failures, you then analyze the effects of the failure and the likely causes of the failure. You then rank each potential problem considering elements such as severity (how critical is it), occurrence (how likely it is to occur), and detection (how likely it would be detected).
Analyze Your Failure Modes
Once the potential problems are ranked, you begin the process of determining how to minimize or eliminate those deemed most critical. Or, in some cases, you may determine how to best detect the issue if it cannot be eliminated or minimized. Typically, analysts then define a plan of recommended actions to be taken for each potential failure determined to be significant.
FMEAs are qualitative analyses that are generally performed collaboratively with a team of engineers. The resulting FMEA document is kept up-to-date as the product, system, or process grows and changes over time. FMEAs are best used as living documents, so that product, process, and system improvement occurs continuously over the solution’s lifecycle.
Why perform FMEAs?
As with all reliability and quality analysis techniques, the main goal of doing FMEAs is to improve a product or process. Quality and reliability are essential drivers for any company, and FMEAs are tools used throughout industries all over the world to help achieve those objectives.
In some industries, such as medical devices and aerospace, governmental or regulatory bodies may require FMEAs. In other industries, such as automotive, FMEAs are a well-known, accepted practice for quality and reliability analysis. In other cases, companies recognize the value of FMEAs, especially as it relates to COPQ (cost of poor quality), and decide to implement FMEA processes as a standard business practice.
How do I perform FMEAs?
There are several standards that provide templates for performing FMEAs. Some common ones are SAE J1739 for design and process FMEAs, as well as MIL-STD-1629.
FMEAs are done is a variety of ways. A common method among beginners is to use a spreadsheet, such as Microsoft Excel. This technique can be useful and is very low-cost; however, as the analyses grow, the disadvantages of this method quickly become apparent. You end up working around the limitations inherent in a spreadsheet: how to implement a true FMEA Worksheet look and feel; the need to “figure out” how FMEAs are properly performed; the ability to search, filter, and re-use data; the ability to easily collaborate from a central data source; and the ability to keep related FMEAs together in a cohesive manner—and that’s just the beginning!
For overall organization and efficiency, it is best to use a tool expressly built for performing FMEAs. You get the advantages of shared data, reusable data, built-in FMEA calculations, and support for collaboration, just to name a few.
Because FMEAs are a team effort, the best FMEAs are those that are web- and mobile-friendly, and are designed to optimize collaboration. Relyence FMEA was built knowing the most pressing needs of FMEA analysts and provides the best-in-class, most technically advanced package available today. Relyence FMEA supports all the most widely accepted FMEA standards and also supports complete customization to allow you to tailor your FMEA tool to meet your needs.