FMEA is the acronym for Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. Why is it important?

Issues and defects are an integral part of the system development lifecycle of any product. Bugs arise in later development stages, as well as initial stages. There is no guaranteed methodology to ensure that a product will launch with zero bugs and changes. Customers’ high expectations lead to even more changes in the future if planning is not carried out.

The majority of the flaws and bugs in any product or service are detected in later stages of development via extensive testing and by using predictive models. Unfortunately, uncovering and finding out bugs at such a later stage can prove extremely costly in some products. As a result, this can add delays to product launches and substantial costs. 

Companies must use a model that helps them develop and design reliability and quality from the very start of a product. For example, there is a tool called failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA).

The Basics of Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FEMA)

The Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a systematic and qualitative tool for analyzing a process to uncover flaws in a system at an early stage. This tool helps answer how and why a product or service might fail. FMEA also helps assess the relative impacts of a failure, which helps identify which parts of the product are the most in need of a change.

FMEA is typically created within a spreadsheet to help the practitioners answer what can go wrong with a process. The last thing FMEA answers is the possible causes of failure and the probability of detecting failures before they occur.

FMEA – In a nutshell

FMEA reviews the following:

  • All the steps in a process
  • Failure modes (What can go wrong)
  • Failure causes (Why did a failure happen)
  • Failure effects (What is the consequence of a failure)
  • The severity of the impact on a customer
  • How frequent a problem occurs 
  • How easy or difficult it is to detect

When to use the concept?

The Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) can be used in the following use cases:

  1. When an already existing service, process, or product is being applied in a new manner
  2. When a product, process, or service is being redesigned 
  3. It is used periodically throughout the life cycle of the service, product, or process
  4. When you need to analyze and uncover possible failures of an existing product, service, or process
  5. Before you develop control plans for a modified or new process