Witham, United Kingdom (PressExposure) February 12, 2009 -- Picture if you will a company who have for many years had in their possession a process FMEA, it starts at goods inwards and finishes at despatch, assembly gets a mention as does manufacturing.
Back in the late 1990's or early 2000's the company very proudly invested a significant amount of time and resource to create a comprehensive process FMEA, so thorough it even went to two volumes when it was finally printed and bound. It was a shining example especially since the risk priority numbers were below 100, most were significantly lower.
...They we the good old days when we had more time as engineers, of course there were more of us then. Nowadays there seems so little time to do my 'real job' here I am in the car again destined to see the customer, they're complaining about something not being right, moan, moan, moan...
Every week it's the same, no, actually been twice this week, mind you it is only Wednesday!
Ever stopped to consider how it is that your rejects keep escaping, more importantly why you keep experiencing a loss of process control that leads to you making the defects in the first place!
In short your FMEA is failing you, if it were a school it would have been given the status of 'special measures' and then it would have promptly closed down if it didn't start performing to the required level.
A simple health check for your FMEA:
- If it was last revised more than a year ago it's out of date
- If you have a detection score of 3 or less and your customer has the reject in question, it's wrong because the FMEA is stating the reject will never leave the factory
- If it is a low occurrence which suggests it might happen once or twice a year and yet it's the third time this month the customer has got one your FMEA is wrong
An FMEA must be:
- A concise document (only a few pages)
- At the correct level of resolution to be useful
- Maintained so it is current
- Easy and quick to maintain
- Quick to create
- Effectively deployed to the shop floor through the appropriate documents
FMEAs must be living documents to get the true business worth from them. Their contents must be deployed to the point of use to ensure adoption. If you get this right it will directly have an impact on the number of customer complaints you have along with how much scrap and rework you get. Many companies do not harness the full potential of this very powerful technique.