Failure mode and affect analysis

FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) is a systematic method for identifying potential failure modes and documenting their severity of impact, likelihood of occurrence, and undetectability. The tool is used during the Improve phase of the DMAIC cycle to determine mitigating actions being taken to minimize severity, likelihood, and undetectability, then record the impacts of the mitigating actions on those attributes. FMEA makes preemptive improvements before failures occur to minimize risk.

Design FMEA, or DFMEA, is used to minimize the risks of failures in designed products or services. Process FMEA, or PFMEA, is used to minimize the risks of failures during processes.

Outside of business process improvement and lean six sigma, FMEA can be used for projects in general. Project FMEA is used to minimize risks of failures in the implementation of projects. All these types of FMEA could use the same template; however, DFMEA would address design features, PFMEA would address process steps, and Project FMEA would address project tasks/activities.

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Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA)

Download the FMEA template here. 

Use one of the opportunities for improvement (OFIs) that you discovered during your Benchmarking Report assignment or Eight Wastes assignment as a project. You are working on the Improve phase of this project, trying to itemize failure modes so you can improve them with mitigating actions. Use the template provided to perform Process FMEA (PFMEA) by listing process steps and failure modes for each. You can use the same process that you used for your SIPOC Map assignment or Process Flow Chart assignment if you would like.

Your Failure Mode & Effects Analysis must include:

  • Organization Name
  • Project Title
  • Process Steps (minimum 2)
  • Failure Modes (minimum 3 for each process step)
  • Ratings for severity of impact, likelihood of occurrence, and undetectability for each failure mode
  • Risk Priority Number (RPN) for each failure mode
  • Mitigating Action to improve each failure mode
  • Revised Ratings for severity, likelihood, and undetectability for each failure mode
  • Revised RPN for each failure mode