Failure Mode Effects Analysis or FMEA for short can be a very useful technique for determining where your processes are coming short, and figuring out ways to improve the overall productivity of your organization. There are many areas where FMEA can work well, especially if applied with some more sense for the current business. However, knowing where to specifically focus on using FMEA and understanding the implications of the technique properly can have huge positive results on your overall success.
Verifying New Developments
Anytime you have something major coming up in your pipeline, it should be analyzed thoroughly, especially if it’s new hardware or specific functionality of your products. Note that this is valid even if you haven’t observed any faults yet it’s a good idea to do a run of FMEA to ensure that there is nothing inherently wrong with the design of the newly introduced element.
It doesn’t make much sense to do this if you’re not going to record the results of your analysis in a way that allows you to easily compare them though. You will need a properly designed database for your analysis, and you’ll also want to ensure that the data collection practices applied during this analysis are aligned with the information you actually need to collect.
Previously Problematic Components
Sometimes you’ll decide to integrate a new component in your work, and it might be something that’s already been used in the industry elsewhere. In cases where this component has a history of poor performance, it’s important that you pay special attention to verifying that it works properly in your circumstances. Don’t just trust reports from elsewhere in the industry, you should pay attention to your own analysis as well. In fact, you should run your own analysis even if you see reports that seem aligned with the conditions you work under, as you never know what small factors might end up affecting the overall performance of implementing the new element.
Also keep in mind that just because something has a history of causing problems, this doesn’t mean that it should also be expected to fail in your own work. That’s the whole point of running FMEA on new components anyway, to ensure that they are in line with your style of work and that they don’t have any potential for causing problems.
Last but definitely not least, if you have any concerns about the safety of a given component and its use, you should prioritize it in your tests above everything else until you’re sure that it’s safe. This will go a long way in ensuring the overall safety of your operations, and it will be an important part of the work of some specific industries, but everyone should pay attention to it in general.
Try not to change too many parameters at the same time when it comes to analyzing potentially unsafe components too. It’s possible that you might go overboard and change too much, resulting in other problems coming up that were not even there before. This can quickly lead to a messy situation where you’re only working to correct previous issues and never manage to get any real work done to introduce something useful to the project, which can be a dangerous trap that can quickly kill even a more promising project.
FMEA is a great technique that can help you a lot when you want to make sure that you know exactly what causes certain issues in your operation, and how to go about correcting them. It’s important to understand how it should be applied though, and what areas of your operation can benefit most from a proper FMEA implementation, as otherwise you can end up wasting a lot of effort for nothing.