Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a technique that helps to identify and to prevent failure.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a technique that helps to identify and to prevent failure. (It is much easier and much more cost effective to prevent failure and defects from happening instead of trying to correct such failure after the fact.) FMEA determines where problems might occur and where products and systems might fail. Then FMEA identifies corrective actions that can be taken to eliminate or reduce the problems, failures and defects.

There are three kinds of FMEA, but the process is the same for each. Systems FMEAs study procedures, how services are performed, how systems and companies function. For example, ECPI has a system for enrolling new students into our programs of study. Process FMEAs deal with …”manufacturing, assembly or service processes.” (Six Sigma, page 310) For example, a process is followed to assemble an automobile. Design FMEAs deal with the development stage of goods – tangible products. For example, sneakers undergo a lengthy design stage before they are put into the manufacturing process.

  1. Create an FMEA for one of the following:
  2. The process for filling a prescription.
  • The procedure for checking a patient into a hospital.
  • Preparing food in the kitchen area of a restaurant.
  • A lawn mower.
  • Purchasing an airline ticket online.
  • Tracking customer orders in a warehouse.
  • If you like, instead of using one of these topics, you may use your own place of work for a FMEA study. Submit your process, systems or design FMEA topic to your instructor for approval.
  1. Identify the highest areas of risk in your FMEA and rank these areas of risk.
  2. Identify and explain what controls you would put into place to prevent this problem from happening or to minimize the damage.

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