In this article, we provide an FMEA Template, a Practical FMEA Example, and a premium training video showing you how to create an FMEA in excel. This video runs 4:45 and can be viewed by members only.
Practitioners of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma can use this tool to identify potential problems and their impact on a process. Before you continue reading, be warned: this post is long and is more of a “how to do fmea” than it is entertaining or fun. In that spirit, if you are learning how to apply an FMEA, then read on.
Problems and defects are expensive. Customers place high expectations on manufacturers and service providers to deliver quality and reliability.
Often, faults in products and services are detected through extensive testing and predictive modeling in the later stages of development. However, finding a problem at this point in the cycle can add significant cost and delays to schedules. The challenge is to design in quality and reliability at the beginning of the process and ensure that defects never arise in the first place. One way that Lean Six Sigma practitioners can achieve this is to use failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), a tool for identifying potential problems and their impact.
FMEA: The Basics
FMEA is a qualitative and systematic tool, usually created within a spreadsheet, to help practitioners anticipate what might go wrong with a product or process. In addition to identifying how a product or process might fail and the effects of that failure, FMEA also helps find the possible causes of failures and the likelihood of failures being detected before occurrence.
Used across many industries, FMEA is one of the best ways of analyzing potential reliability problems early in the development cycle, making it easier for manufacturers to take quick action and mitigate failure. The ability to anticipate issues early allows practitioners to design out failures and design in reliable, safe and customer-pleasing features.
Now, let’s go into the details of the FMEA for itself and how to conduct an FMEA team exercise. In what follows, we’ll show an example, then watch the premium member-only video.
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