Effectual FMEA (Failure Modes & Effects Analysis)

Do your investments in doing FMEA's have a significant effect on your designs?
Or are they largely just a checklist item?
(Do you find it ironic that FMEA often has little effect?)

The problem with most FMEA's is not the FMEA technique... it is the timing of how they are used. FMEA can be 10X more effectual if you perform them early, before you have begun detailed, point-based design work.  By performing the FMEA on your set-based causal and trade-off analyses, you can generate tremendous understanding about the cause & effect relationships.  More importantly, you can uncover your most critical knowledge gaps before you've made key decisions without realizing that those gaps are there.  And that allows you to focus your early learning on eliminating those gaps, or redirect your decision-making to avoid being burnt by those gaps.


But moving traditional FMEA earlier is not enough... your FMEA can't stop at identifying the failure modes and their effects (or even their criticality), but rather needs to continue to what design decisions you make that can impact the frequency of the failure modes and/or the level of their effects.  The goal of FMEA should be to change those decisions before the failure modes are allowed to have an effect!

Finally, FMEA shouldn't be an extra meeting that you have to remember to schedule with the team. Rather, FMEA should be a natural part of the learning process, invoked early and often as the situation can benefit from it.  In particular, FMEA should be an integral part of the larger causal analysis process... and thus should be integrated into your root cause analysis tools, as it is in the Causal Map tool of our Success Assured™ software.

Contact us now to learn more about how you can apply FMEA early in your decision-making processes.

Contact us now to learn more
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