FMEA | What is it…
Failure Mode and Effect Analysis – FMEA – is effectively a risk analysis tool utilised within several stages of the DMAIC improvement lifecycle (Analyse, Improve and Control). Its application or reason for use in each stage may differ but the overriding principle is to prevent an event from ever happening (think safety i.e. keeping trains aligned on a track) or to identify where possible defects could occur.
FMEA | How to use it….
Before delving into FMEA there is some key terminology/acronyms to be aware of:
- Failure Mode – The failure that occurs
- Failure Effects – What the result of the Failure Mode is (i.e. a wrongly captured address (Failure Mode) can lead to a missed engineer visit (Failure Effect))
- Severity (SEV) – Impact of the Failure Mode occurring in numerical terms
- Occurrence (OCC) – The number of different potential occurrences which could happen
- Detection (DET) – Meaning how can we spot potential failure and prevent. For detection we rate the likelihood that we will spot it before the failure happens (the more likely we can control the lower the score, the less likely we can control the higher the score)
- Risk Priority Number (RPN) – A Risk Priority Number (RPN) is then calculated based on the above. The calculation is as follows; RPN = SEV multiplied by OCC multiplied by DET
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- Process Step (or product part)
- Potential Failure Mode
- Potential Failure Effects
- SEV (Severity)
- Potential Causes
- OCC (Occurance)
- Current Controls
- DET (Detection)
- RPN (RPN make a calculated field RPN = SEV multiplied by OCC multiplied by DET)
- Actions Recommended
- Actions Taken
- Process Steps – Within your table start by identifying all the process steps (of the product or service that is under review)
- Identify Failure Modes and Effects – Then for each of these steps (or sub-process steps)
- Identify the Potential Failure Modes that might occur
- And for each of these identify the Potential Failure Effects
- Provide a Severity Rating – Next provide a severity (SEV) rating to each of these Failure Effects. You may have an existing rating system within your organisation, if that is the case then use the existing standard. The grading works from 1 being the lowest severity to 10 being the highest. When you have classified all of severity ratings it can be helpful to test those scores against one another to ensure the correct application.
- Consider Potential Causes and Rate – Here we identify what could cause the failure to happen. This time we rank the potential number of different occurrences that this cause could occur. As with the severity rating this is ranked on a scale of 1-10.
- Controls and Detection Rates – Next consider and record the current controls that are in place.. Then rate the likelihood of detection – very likely is a low score and very unlikely is a high score
- The Risk Priority Number is then calculated as follows RPN = SEV multiplied by OCC multiplied by DET (if you set the excel up first this can auto calculate the score for you)
- Repeat the above for each of the process steps. Depending on the issue at hand you may decide to identify all steps and analyse first before moving on to actions – or alternatively break the steps down into group and then assign actions
- Setting recommended actions
- Identifying who will is responsible for the action and when they will complete the action by
- These are then reassessed on completion for their impact to the Risk Priority Number (RPN)
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