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Avoiding Common FMEA Mistakes
However, that being said, there are a number of mistakes that can be made when
performing a failure mode analysis that can reduce its effectiveness. Here, are a
handful of some common mistakes that you should try to avoid.
Common FMEA Mistakes to Avoid:
1) The FMEA fails to drive design or process improvements. There is
considerable cost and effort involved in performing a failure mode effects analysis,
and unfortunately sometimes it is approached as just an exercise to check off a box or
in order to be compliant with customer requirements. In this case not only does the
FMEA most likely fail to drive any design or process improvements, but it may not drive
any real action at all.
2) The FMEA does not address all of the high risk failure modes. In this case
the failure mode analysis could either be very general or very detailed, but not
focused enough in the high risk areas of the design or process. Make sure that your
analysis includes any risk associated with new technology, potential safety hazards,
existing technology that is being used in new applications or environments, and any
areas that may be mission critical.
3) Not considering interfaces or failure modes associated with system and
subsystem integration. Normally analysts will consider key hardware or functions,
but they may overlook important interfaces that could cause critical failures. Be sure
and include interfaces in your diagrams and consider their failure modes and effects.
4) The FMEA is done too late. Unfortunately, many companies perform FMEAs too
late. This reduces their effectiveness, hampering their ability to drive design or
process changes. The Failure Mode and Effects Analysis should be done in parallel
with the design process and be completed by the design or process freeze dates.
5) Not having the right people on the team. It is important to have the right people
and expertise as part of your core team and for any meetings to be well attended. This
is why it is particularly important to have management support, so that you can have
access to the correct resources. Potential team members may include representatives
from design engineering, systems engineering, testability, reliability, maintainability,
manufacturing, field service, quality and other disciplines. Even though one person
may facilitate the analysis, there should be an entire team involved.
There are many other mistakes that could be made along the way that could reduce
the effectiveness of your FMEA. Hopefully, this short list makes you aware of a few
common ones to steer clear of, so that your time and effort invested is more fruitful. As
mentioned earlier, mistakes will be made, but don't let the fear of making some
mistakes prevent you from making use of this useful analysis technique.
Performing a successful Failure Mode and
Effects Analysis involves many different
factors. Just like with any technique or
process there are right ways and wrong
ways to do it. Mistakes are part of learning
and how one gains experience, so don't be
afraid to do a FMEA for fear of making a
mistake. In fact, let me assure you that
most likely you will, but don't loose heart,
there can still be benefits derived from
your effort even if everything doesn't go