FMEA Minus the Pain

Abstract:The sustained brainstorming and consensus-building needed to rank risks and prioritize failure modes can make failure mode effects analysis (FMEA) mentally and physically exhausting. Splitting causal analysis from ranking allows teams to focus on one phase at a time and avoid the pitfalls associated with the traditional FMEA approach. This approach makes human interaction more effective and FMEA sessions more productive. A sidebar article lists the pitfalls of traditional …

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--David L. Votaw, 11-21-2014


Worth the time to read. I have experienced many of the pitfalls noted and have used a number of the techniques offered. They work.
--B Young, 10-29-2014


Good article...!!! I like it...!!
--Oscar Brenes, 10-03-2014


Good article, I have understood as to do a good FMEA. Now, to practice.
--Oscar Brenes, 10-03-2014


Good article. However, the author did not highlight the importance of understanding what the FMEA-Team is assigned to analyze, which can be done through the functional analysis in combination with other methods (if necessary). The functional analysis can be implemented through various approaches (e.g. system boundaries definition (e.g. context diagram), system breakdown (e.g. Structured Breakdown Tree), then functional block diagram(s) (e.g. using flow charts, SADT, IDEF0; depends on the system being analyzed).
--Abdelkader Bouti, 01-14-2010


It's an excellent article. The idea of forming two groups is really innovative, time saving and will help completion of FMEA on time.
Only one thing I would like to understand is which people from which functions should be involved on the FMEA team, and once you try to review other teams ratings, will the group have the expertise to do it.

--Nilesh Pande, 11-09-2009


Excellent article Govind. You have given an age-old tool a twist. I see a lot of merit in separating causal analysis and ranking. This is in some way similar to a Baldrige process of discussing comments first and then the score. Tends to remove bias.
--Anshuman Tiwari, 03-18-2009


Very good analysis of breaking down a technical concept into a more understandable teaching tool. The only suggestion that I have is that when talking/discussing human interaction to change the term/word "soft skills" to "support skills". There is nothing "soft" about how we humans interact with each other and technology, and it takes a lot of work to do that well. Support skills is a lot more descriptive of what is needed.

--Roderick Munro, 03-17-2009


A good paper. Unfortunately, very very few companies are willing to invest even the time it takes to think through an FMEA like this one. I work with clients from five persons to 2000 persons. In fifteen years, less than five have been willing to think though a real FMEA. They invariably opt for intuitive assumptions first.
--Hugh Gillogly, 03-09-2009


This was a good article. I especially liked the 'pitfalls'. I think I have experienced every one of those at some point or another.
--Mike Valencia, 03-06-2009


An excellent paper that offers achievable and implementable innovative solutions to improving the efficiency of conducting a FMEA.
--kenny Clarke, 03-04-2009


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