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Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness of FMEA Studies --
A Free QA Assistant White Paper

[Published: February 2012]

This paper discusses the challenges engineering teams face in conducting Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA) studies and the best practices for meeting those challenges.

Contents
Executive Summary
Benefits of conducting effective FMEA studies
FMEA challenges created by lack of clarity
Planning - Defining the scope of the study
Planning - Identifying the team
Structuring the approach & managing time
Leveraging existing knowledge
Continuous improvement & action follow-up
Additional post-study challenges
Meeting challenges through efficiency, structure and automation
The spreadsheet approach
Preferred solution for efficient and effective FMEA studies
Conclusion
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Executive Summary

This paper discusses the challenges engineering teams face in conducting Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA) studies and the best practices for meeting those challenges. This paper focuses on the specific topic of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of FMEA studies.

FMEA studies significantly reduce costs and improve productivity when properly conducted.

Modern economic needs and increased business competition require engineers to constantly develop newer and better solutions within shorter timeframes and tighter margins. In addition, documentation requirements for meeting standards / regulatory compliance and customer needs are becoming increasingly complex and verbose. Managing open actions and continuous improvement activities across all projects, product variations, and processes in addition to daily engineering tasks is cumbersome, time consuming, and is susceptible to errors, omissions, and non-conformances.

FMEA studies are proven methods for improving products and processes while subsequently reducing engineering workload and improving machine and resource availability through a preemptive, systematic approach of identifying, analyzing, and improving high-risk components. If implemented correctly, FMEA studies significantly reduce costs and improve productivity.

However, the value of an effective FMEA is often shrouded by a lack of clarity and structure, misconceptions, and previous experiences and, as such, FMEA studies are frequently grouped with the other required information and documented retrospectively in preparation of customer requirements or audits. Performing studies in this way only adds cost to a project and perpetuates the misnomer that FMEA studies are not value-added activities.

This paper discusses the benefits of effective FMEA studies, the challenges related to conducting FMEA studies, best practices for efficiently overcoming challenges via structure and automation, and the benefits of implementing those practices.

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