FMEA Analysis

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What is FMEA Analysis?

FMEA ( Failure Mode and Effects Analysis ) is a tool used to identify potential failure modes in a system or process, as well as the effects of those failures. It is often used in the design phase of product development, but can also be used for existing products and processes. FMEA can be applied to any type of system or process, and is often used in conjunction with other quality tools such as Six Sigma and Lean.

There are three main types of FMEA: design, process, and mixed mode. Design FMEA identifies potential failure modes in a new product or process, while process FMEA analyzes an existing product or process. Mixed mode FMEA is used when both new and existing products or processes are being evaluated.

FMEA analysis involves several steps:

  • Identifying potential failure modes
  • Evaluating the possible effects of each failure mode
  • Identifying actions that can be taken to eliminate or reduce the chances of each failure occurring
  • Assigning priorities to each action based on the severity of the potential effects and the likelihood of occurrence
  • Tracking corrective actions taken and their results

FMEA is an important tool for quality assurance, as it can help identify potential problems early on and prevent them from becoming bigger issues later on. Used properly, it can save time and money by averting costly mistakes.

What Are The FMEA Processes?

There are a variety of process improvement tools available to Six Sigma and other quality initiatives, but FMEA is one of the most commonly used and widely accepted. FMEA can be used in manufacturing or service industries, for hardware or software products, and with products in development or already in production. The concept of FMEA is relatively simple: it is a methodical approach to identify potential failure modes, estimate the associated risk of each failure mode, and prioritize actions to mitigate or eliminate the risks.

The first step in any FMEA analysis is to identify the system, process, or product under review. Once the scope has been defined, the team should brainstorm all potential failure modes that could occur within the scope. Each potential failure mode should then be evaluated for its severity, probability of occurrence, and detectability. The Severity rating should reflect the estimated impact of the failure on customer satisfaction; Probability of Occurrence should reflect how likely it is that the failure will occur; and Detectability should reflect how easily the problem can be detected before it reaches the customer.

Once all potential failure modes have been identified and evaluated, the team should prioritize actions based on risk. Failure modes with high Severity ratings and/or low Detectability ratings should be addressed first. The team may also want to consider addressing multiple failure modes concurrently if doing so would provide greater overall risk reduction.

FMEA analysis is an iterative process, meaning that as new information is discovered or as changes are made to the system, the questioning and evaluation should begin again. Frequent re-evaluation and updates will ensure that potential risks are continuously identified and managed.

Overall, FMEA is a valuable tool for proactive risk management. By thoroughly and systematically identifying and addressing potential risks in a product or process, teams can guard against unexpected issues which could result in unsafe products, unhappy customers, and costly rework.

What Are The Benefits of Using FMEA Analysis?

FMEA is an effective quality tool that can be used to prevent potential problems and identify process improvement opportunities. When used correctly, FMEA can help reduce scrap, rework, and warranty costs; improve customer satisfaction; and avoid regulatory penalties.

Here are some of the benefits of using FMEA analysis:

  • Improve quality and reliability :

FMEA can help you identify potential quality and reliability issues before they occur. By identifying and addressing these issues early in the development process, you can avoid costly delays and rework later on.

  • Reduce costs :

FMEA can also help you reduce manufacturing costs by identifying areas where process improvements can be made. By making changes to your process early on, you can avoid expensive problems down the line.

  • Improve customer satisfaction :

Another benefit of FMEA is that it can help improve customer satisfaction. By identifying potential problems early in the development process, you can make changes to your product or service before it reaches your customers. This way, you can avoid unhappy customers and negative reviews.

  • Develop better processes :

FMEA can also be used to develop more efficient, effective processes. By identifying areas where changes can be made, you can improve the speed and accuracy of your processes, avoiding costly mistakes and delays.

  • Improve safety :

FMEA can also be used to identify potential safety issues. By addressing these issues during the development process, you can help ensure that your products are safe for use.

Overall, FMEA is an effective quality tool that can be used to identify potential areas of improvement in processes and products. When used correctly, it can help reduce costs, improve the quality of your product or service, and even improve customer satisfaction.

How To Calculate The Risk Priority Number (RPN) ?

RPN is a numeric rating that combines the probability of occurrence, severity, and detectability into a single value for each potential failure mode. The higher the RPN, the greater the risk.

To calculate the RPN, you first need to identify the potential failure modes and classify them according to three factors: probability of occurrence, severity, and detectability. Once you have done this, you can multiply these values together to get the RPN.

The following example shows how to calculate the RPN for a potential failure mode with a probability of occurrence of 7, a severity of 2, and a detectability of 2:

7 x 2 x 2 = 28

This means that the failure mode has an RPN of 28. The higher the RPN, the greater the risk associated with the failure mode.

It is important to note that the RPN calculation does not take into account any mitigating actions or other factors that could reduce the risk. It is simply used to prioritize potential failure modes in order to focus resources on reducing and eliminating those with the highest risks.

How To Implement And Document FMEA Findings?

When documenting FMEA findings, you should include the following information:

  • Background information on the product or process that was analyzed
  • The specific risks identified and how they were addressed
  • The severity and probability ratings assigned to each risk
  • An implementation plan outlining what needs to be done and by when
  • Who is responsible for making sure that each step is completed
  • Any applicable regulations or standards associated with implementing the findings.

Taking these steps and ensuring that everyone involved understands their part in mitigating risk will ensure that your product or process is as safe and effective as possible. By using FMEA, you are taking proactive steps to protect the people who use your product and process.

Once the plan has been implemented and documented, it is important to regularly review the FMEA findings and adjust or re-evaluate them as needed. This ensures that any changes in risks are addressed and accounted for.

What Are The Best Practices for Conducting an FMEA Analysis?

When conducting an FMEA analysis, it is important to keep the following best practices in mind:

  1. Define the scope of the analysis :

The first step is to clearly define the scope of the FMEA analysis. This will ensure that all relevant factors are considered and that the results of the analysis are accurate.

  1. Identify potential failure modes :

Next, all potential failure modes must be identified. This can be done by brainstorming with a team or reviewing past data on similar products or processes.

  1. Assess the impact of each failure mode :

Once all potential failure modes have been identified, their impact must be assessed. This includes considering both the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of consequences if a failure were to occur.

  1. Identify potential causes of each failure mode :

After assessing the impact of each potential failure mode, possible causes must be identified. Again, brainstorming with a team can be helpful here or past data on similar products or processes can be reviewed.

  1. Evaluate existing controls for each cause-and-effect relationship :

After identifying possible causes for each failure mode, existing controls for each cause-and-effect relationship must be evaluated. This will help to identify any weaknesses in current controls and allow for corrective action to be taken accordingly .

How To Integrate FMEA Into Your Organization’s Systems?

As with most quality improvement tools, successful implementation of FMEA requires buy-in from all levels of the organization. To get started, management should designate a cross-functional team responsible for conducting the analyses and overseeing implementation of corrective actions. This team should represent all affected departments and have a broad understanding of the organization’s systems.

The team should begin by identifying all potential failure modes and their associated causes and effects. The next step is to prioritize the failures based on their potential severity and likelihood of occurrence. Once the most critical failures have been identified, the team can develop corrective actions to prevent or mitigate these failures.

The team should establish a system for monitoring and tracking the effectiveness of the corrective actions. This system should be integrated into the organization’s existing quality management system. By following these steps, organizations can ensure that FMEA is used effectively to improve product quality and reduce risk.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes in FMEA Analysis?

There are many common mistakes made during FMEA analysis. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Not allocating enough time for the analysis :

An FMEA can be quite involved and time-consuming, so it is important to allocate sufficient time to ensure a thorough analysis is conducted.

  • Not involving all relevant stakeholders :

It is important to involve all relevant stakeholders in the analysis process to ensure everyone is aware of the potential risks and can provide input into the mitigation strategies.

  • Overlooking interactions between different systems :

The interactions between different systems need to be considered when conducting an FMEA as they can have a significant impact on the reliability of the overall system.

  • Underestimating human error :

Human error is often one of the most underestimated factors in FMEA analysis, yet it can have a major impact on system reliability. Make sure to properly consider human factors when conducting an FMEA.

  • Failing to update the FMEA as changes are made to the system under consideration :

As changes are made during development or after implementation, it is important to go back and update the FMEA so that it remains accurate and reflective of the current system state


This comprehensive guide to FMEA analysis has hopefully demystified the process for you, enabling you to confidently use it as a risk management tool in your day-to-day operations. The thorough and systematic approach that is encouraged by this method ensures that processes are conducted safely and with minimal errors or potential risks. If done correctly, using FMEA analysis can provide significant benefits both financially and operationally. Give it a try today !

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