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FMEA tools for Failure Mode Effects Analysis
Also known as Error Mode Effects Analysis (EMEA), Design DFMEA, or Process PFMEA
Why do we need an FMEA?
What could possibly go wrong?
Failure Mode Effects Analysis is
a systematic way to anticipate problems
and to design processes and products to reduce risks
Sample FMEA example: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis FMEA form
The primary objectives of any Lean Six Sigma initiative are to
Reduce variability and risk
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is one of the most popular Lean Six Sigma methodologies to reduce variability and reduce risk in both:
Full suite of DFSS tools for all steps of the FMEA process
When you own your Systems2win FMEA template, you also own a full suite of templates with everything you need to create and continuously improve your DFMEAs and PFMEAs.
Own all of these FMEA templates
to empower every team member
Before you begin using your
Launch your team
The same way that you launch any continuous improvement team.
Gather and review your data
The data that you gather will be different for a DFMEA or a PFMEA.
Remind me again... What's the difference?
|Gather and review information to understand the characteristics and functional requirements of the systems, sub-systems, and components being designed||Gather and review information to understand the functional requirements to produce the deliverable product or service|
Source documents might include:
Source documents might include:
Personalize your FMEA...
Easily personalize your master template
using everything you already know about familiar Microsoft Excel
in a way that your personalizations can be automatically found and transferred to your new master templates every time that you upgrade.
your leaders should have already personalized your master template for...
for faster data entry, and fewer data entry mistakes.
The FMEA template has more dropdown lists than any other Systems2win template... for things like YOUR items, processes, functions, requirements, failure modes, causes, effects, detection methods, corrective actions...
Yes, you can also use RPN Risk Priority Numbers, but most experts now prefer to use Class Codes to call attention to alert conditions using your user-defined levels of Severity and Occurrence.
Your Systems2win template has a special shared sheet that allows you to enter data in one place, and have that data populate cells in many related sheets in the workbook.
Learn how to use it.
Before you start using your FMEA template,
sometimes it's just easier to have someone walk you through a demonstration.
How to find and open your
Find and open your template
Find and open your your FMEA template
in the same way that you find and open your other 150+ Systems2win templates.
If you don't yet own a license,
you can download your free trial now.
Save your working document
following the usual document storage and naming conventions established by your leaders
If English is not your preferred language
Switch to your language, just like every Systems2win Excel template.
Open a Blank Sheet
When you're ready to start doing your own real work...
click the button to 'Open a Blank Sheet'
Excel Ribbon > Systems2win tab > Open a Blank Sheet
This blank sheet is where you will do your real work
(not on the Sample sheet)
Rename your new sheet
And then in the dialog window that appears, select which type of sheet to open:
If you choose this, then another dialog window will appear, to get further clarification of what type of FMEA. (see below)
Before creating a PFMEA, you will usually first create (and analyze) a Process Flow Diagram to identify the desired deliverables and potential sources of variation that you will then analyze and manage in your PFMEA
You have the choice of using a stand-alone workbook for your Process Flow Diagram, or including it as a sheet within the same workbook with your PFMEA.
After taking initial Corrective Actions prescribed in your PFMEA...
the next step is to use a Control Plan template to more diligently control product and process characteristics that have high chance of happening, and/or high severity consequences if they do happen.
You have the choice of using stand-alone workbooks for your Control Plans, or including them as sheets within the same workbook with your PFMEA.
It is not uncommon to have multiple sheets for Control Plans that differ for life cycle phases: Prototype, Pre-Launch, and Production.
If you chose 'FMEA', then in the next dialog window that appears, select:
Design FMEA or Process FMEA
Form G has 2 extra columns for ID and Process Requirements
Learn more about features for multiple languages
Now your team is ready to start using your
Populate the header fields at the top of the FMEA
Tip: Your Systems2win template has a special 'VC' sheet that allows you to enter data in one place, and have that data populate cells in many other sheets in the workbook.
Learn how to use it.
Complete the form; mostly left to right
Tip: Like every Systems2win template, simply click any gold column header for pop-up help
Also... scroll down to see 'Additional Help' in the lower section of the Sample sheet
Important: Don't merge cells!!!
To the human eye or a printer, many cells look like merged cells... but they're not.
If those were merged cells, you would lose the two most powerful benefits of using Excel for your FMEA:
This is the single most powerful feature of your Systems2win FMEA template. Those are not merged cells.
Rather than merging cells, instead follow the instructions in the 'Additional Help' section that you will find when you scroll down on the Sample sheet.
The first few columns are different for a DFMEA vs. a PFMEA.
DFMEA: First column = Item
Enter Item number and description
The first row of a new Item or Process is a visual section break. There should be no data in that row for any other column.
PFMEA: First column = Process Step
Enter Process Step number and description
Start with an action verb.
Start with an action verb.
Measurable parameters, specifications, or characteristics that the Function must deliver.
PFMEA Form F — has a single Requirements column.
PFMEA Form G — has a separate column for Process Requirements, so use the Requirements column for Product Requirements.
After those first few columns, the rest of the columns are the same for either a DFMEA or PFMEA.
Potential Failure Modes
Brainstorm using these 4 Thought Starters:
1) No function
2) Partial, excessive, or degraded function over time
3) Intermittent function
4) Unintended function
Potential Failure Effects
When it fails in this way, what are the potential effects experienced by...
the end customer? production, safety, regulations, other systems, subsystems, components?
You enter one Severity code per Effect
and then before you print, publish, or analyze, always remember to 'Recalculate' and 'Fix Row Heights'
In the Systems2win menu in the Excel Ribbon bar, select 'Recalculate' and 'Fix Row Heights'
which will automatically update the values for 'Max' Severity per Failure Mode and 'Low' Detection per Potential Cause
Is auto-populated based on the table that you define on the Rating sheet
Use 'Class Codes' (not RPN) to determine when Action is required.
There is no threshold RPN value that requires or excuses Action.
Prevention and Detection Control Methods
that are currently being used to prevent or detect:
1) the Failure Mode
2) the Cause of the Failure Mode
Actions Recommended — to improve Prevention or Detection
Top row per Cause can never be blank. Can be "None"
Action is required unless Class = 1
Who is Responsible?
Tip: The dropdown list is defined on the 'Team' sheet
which also serves as your Team Attendance Log (as required by ISO)
The second RPN Risk Priority Number
is calculated only for those rows that contain a Completed Action
Links to related documents
Tip: Use the cell above the gold headers to link to documents that are related to the entire FMEA (not just specific line items)
See the Sample sheet for examples of User Fields that can make your FMEA far more valuable for analyzing your data using Excel's familiar features for Filter and Pivot Tables.
Use your Systems2win
to link to related documents
Optionally Link Shared Data
There are situations where it can be very useful to link data between cells (and sheets).
For example: Whenever a Control Method is superceded with a new one, the new Control Method can be instantly updated everywhere that the old one was used.
See online training for:
in ways that circumvent the 'human thinking' that those related documents are intended to trigger
On the 'Sample' sheet of your FMEA template
see the pink cells in the 'User9' column for examples of how to optionally link cells and concatenate linked cells.
The most unique feature of your
Excel's Filter and PivotTable features work!
Why are Filter and PivotTables so important?
When you need to create a new FMEA for a new product that is similar to an existing product...
You could simply Filter for what is similar, and then use that as the starting point to create your new FMEA.
Or use PivotTables to slice & dice your data in even more useful ways.
The trouble is that neither Filter nor PivotTables will work in Excel if your home-grown FMEA template uses either:
And every Industrial Engineer knows just how impossible it is to avoid merged cells in an FMEA template. (until now)
Video: How to use Excel Filter and dropdown lists
With your Systems2win template —
Excel's Filter and PivotTable features work!!!
How does Systems2win accomplish such a useful feature?
(not found in any other Excel FMEA template)
Download your own free trial, and see for yourself.
How to find help for 'how we do it'
When you scroll down on the Sample sheet of your FMEA template,
you will find 3 additional rows of help:
beyond the pop-up help in the column headers
Clear explanation of how each column is related to its neighboring columns
(which is one of the most common sources of confusion when using an FMEA template)
Clear instructions for which columns need (or do not need) repeat data, and how to do it
Like every Systems2win template, pop-up help will appear when you click any row or column header.
Live consulting and/or training is also available
from either Systems2win, or from Joe Adams of Strategic Quality, who helped to design and develop the Systems2win FMEA tools and has experience developing FMEA's for several industry-leading Fortune 500 companies.
FMEA is all about foreseeing and preventing mistakes.
Try using an FMEA in a language that you don't speak fluently, and see how that affects the number of mistakes that YOU make.
Headers and Help in Multiple Languages
Every Systems2win Excel template has extensive features to support multiple languages, including:
Learn more about Systems2win's standard language features
Languages available for immediate delivery include:
Spanish: AMEF Análisis de modo y efecto de falla
Portuguese: Análise de Efeitos do Modo de Falha
French: AMDE : Analyse des modes de défaillances et de leurs effets
Easily switch between
Drop down lists in multiple languages
How to create drop down lists in multiple languages
Data in Multiple Languages
Your FMEA template goes even further...
It has special features to easily maintain your
DATA in multiple languages
Click the 'Select Language for Data' button
and now the data in your FMEA form displays your chosen language
(not just the headers)
How to edit your data in multiple languages
In your FMEA template, scroll to the right, and you will find the 'Language Translations' section.
You can make unlimited copies of those columns — to support unlimited language translations.
Notice that each translation section has only a sub-set of the columns found on the primary FMEA.
Columns containing numbers and links are edited on the primary FMEA itself.
Those columns that contain words must be edited in the 'Language Translations' section.
If a column existing in the 'Language Translations' section...
then you must first do your editing in the 'Primary Language' section
Your Systems2win template is designed so that when you enter data in the 'Primary Language' section, it will automatically also affect the borders and cell formats
for the main FMEA form, and all other Language Translations.
If a column does not exist in the 'Language Translations' section...
(because it contains numbers or links, which are the same for all languages)
then you edit those columns in the main form.
To see your selected language in the main FMEA form…
In any Language Translation section… select the pink cell containing the name of your desired Language, then click the button to 'Select Language of Data'
Before your Print or Publish
Fix Row Heights
Because different languages have different numbers of characters to communicate the same information, it is a real challenge to try to find the correct row height.
In the Systems2win menu in the Excel Ribbon bar,
select the button to 'Fix Row Heights', and notice what happens.
And (whether or not you are using multiple languages),
before you analyze, print, or publish your data,
always remember to first click the button to 'Recalculate'
which will automatically correct the calculations
for 'Max' Severity per Failure Mode and 'Low' Detection per Cause
Tip: On the 'Sample' sheet,
the 'Fix Row Heights' and 'Recalculate' buttons only work on the sample data for 'Multiple Languages'.
(which is found when you scroll down on the Sample sheet)
After taking initial Corrective Actions prescribed in the PFMEA,
the next step is to use a Control Plan to more diligently control product and process characteristics that have high Severity, Occurrence, and/or Risk Priority Number (RPN).
Sample FMEA Control Plan example
Learn more about the Systems2win Control Plan template
Control Characteristics and Methods
The 'Control Characteristics' drop down list is found on the Control Plan and FMEA templates,
and is also shared for 'Sources of Variation' on the Process Flow Diagram.
'Control Characteristics' are closely related (but often not identical to) 'Potential Failure Modes' on the PFMEA.
Your lists should consider control parameters for both the product/service and the process.
Any time that the design changes
you need to update all documents related to your FMEA
For a DFMEA, this might include...
related FMEA's, Design Verification Plan, QFD, checklists, etc.
For a PFMEA, this might include...
With the training above, you know everything you need to successfully use your FMEA template,
but some people want more...
so here's some more (advanced) FMEA training.
Suggested Reading and Resources for
One way to support the free training provided on this site is to purchase your books here
To see the links to suggested readings, you might need to change your Ad Blocker to allow ads on this page
You can also search the internet to download the free AIAG FMEA manual.
Live training and consulting is available from Joe Adams of Strategic Quality,
who has served on the FMEA design teams for several Fortune 500 companies, and helped to design and develop the Systems2win FMEA template.
Some systems and processes are more focused on 'errors' rather than 'failures'.
The concepts are identical,
even when the title changes to Error Mode and Effects Analysis (EMEA).
Your Systems2win Excel template can be easily personalized with the label of your choice.
Although the same Systems2win template can be used for either a Design FMEA or a Process FMEA, there are substantial differences in when and how they are used. (as explained below)
Are there more?
Yes. The same FMEA template can be used for Concept, Software, Tools, and Environmental FMEA.
|DFMEA (Design)||PFMEA (Process)|
|Initiated early in the design process, and completed before production design is released||Initiated early for feasibility study, and completed before tooling for production|
|Serve as a living document, being updated as changes happen, perhaps long after initial completion||Serve as a living document, being updated as changes happen, perhaps long after initial completion|
|Reduces risks of failure in the design process||Reduces risks of failure in production processes|
|Helps to objectively evaluate functional requirements and design alternatives||Helps to thoroughly identify and evaluate process functions, requirements, and alternatives|
|Identify and minimize potential failure modes and their effects early in the design process||Identify and evaluate potential product and process failure modes, and their effects on customers and the process itself|
|Any process failure modes that can't be eliminated in the DFMEA get passed to the PFMEA||If possible design changes are identified that might reduce process risk — then DFMEA gets involved again|
|Produce a prioritized list of potential failure modes — ranked by their effect on the customer||Prioritize the process variables to focus upon — to reduce occurrence and increase detection|
|Provide a format for identifying issues, and recommending and tracking actions||Establish priorities for preventive and corrective actions and controls|
|Accumulate lessons learned — for future design changes, and design of similar products||Accumulate lessons learned — for future process changes, and production of similar products|
|Multiple inter-related DFMEAs — to consider every aspect of design (from component to system)||Multiple inter-related PFMEAs — to consider every aspect of production, (from receiving to shipping), at every level (from component to system)|
The V Model illustration below helps to visually depict the inter-related engineering cycle.
DFMEAs (and related documents) are used in the left side of the V.
PFMEAs (and related documents) are used in the right side of the V.
Illustration courtesy of Strategic Quality
Are Failure Modes, Effects, and Causes getting confusing?
"The potential failure mode may also be the cause of a potential failure mode in a higher level, or be (or lead to) the effect of one in a lower level component."
AIAG FMEA Manual, Rev 4
Effects of lower level Component & Sub-system FMEA's
are often Modes of higher level System and Sub-system FMEA's.
And DFMEA (design) Causes often relate to PFMEA (process) Failure Modes.
If your team starts wanting to use redundant items in your dropdown lists for Failure Modes, Effects, and Causes...
then you probably need to better define the scope of your inter-related FMEA's.
Illustrations courtesy of Strategic Quality
The Sentencing Technique
For any level of FMEA, the cause is of the failure mode and never of the effect.
To guarantee proper classification of Cause, Failure Mode, and Effect...
use the Sentencing Technique to relate cause back to failure mode (not back to effect)
(Perhaps you want to migrate data from your old less-capable FMEA to your new Systems2win FMEA?)
Don't use regular Paste
(which brings unwanted formatting, and can corrupt your new document)
Use Paste Special > Values
See more tips for data migration
Some teams choose to create and maintain a master FMEA
that is then used to copy sections to other FMEA's
using Excel's Filter capabilities
perhaps filtering based on Product Families that you define using your Product Family Matrix template
Tip: You can't use regular Copy & Paste, because it will copy & paste all of the filtered hidden cells.
Instead, you need to copy and paste Visible Cells Only
How to maintain Version Control
Use the Revision Log worksheet
How to insert an Action Plan or To Do sheet
Systems2win menu > Insert Sheet
Action List, To Do List, Bowling Chart, or Gantt Summary Milestone Chart
Three-Path Development Process
Another training illustration that you might find useful...
courtesy of Joe Adams...
How to personalize your
Before distributing your master FMEA template, your leaders should have already personalized it.
(as well as the Control Plan, P-Diagram, Process Flow Diagram, and all of the other templates used in the various stages of DFMEA and PFMEA development)
In addition to the standard instructions for how to personalize your Systems2win templates,
here are some additional personalization features unique to your FMEA template...
Personalize your dropdown lists
User-defined dropdown lists dramatically reduce data entry errors —
thereby making Filter so much more reliable
when you want to filter and analyze your list
The FMEA has more dropdown lists than any other Excel template
with lists for Item/Process, Function, Requirement, Process Requirement, Failure Mode, Cause, Effect, Prevention Method, Detection Method, Action, and more.
Your leaders should have already personalized the DV sheet in your master template
with YOUR company's typical data — and then you as the document Author
can easily add additional items to each list for things that are unique to YOUR working document.
Personalize your user-defined header fields
Use the VC sheet to personalize the fields at the top of the document —
so that YOUR template requires users to enter the data needed by YOUR company.
In a way that your personalized user-defined header fields are automatically found and transferred
to your new master template each time that you upgrade.
Personalize your rating scales
On the Rating sheet, you can personalize your rating criteria using User Substitutions — in the same way that you can personalize text in ANY Systems2win template.
And you can also enter your own Class Code numbers in the Class Code table — knowing that your Class Codes will be automatically found and transferred every time you upgrade.
And you can even overwrite the 3 blue Detection columns — which will also be automatically transferred each time you upgrade.
Use your Customization Log
All of the above personalizations will be automatically found and transferred every time your upgrade your master templates.
If you make any other changes
(that won't be automatically found and transferred every time that you upgrade),
then be sure to use your Customization Log — to jot down a quick reminder to make those same changes to your new template each time you upgrade.
(But it should be a short list, because the Systems2win Personalization Upgrade Utility will automatically find and transfer most common personalizations)
Your leaders should have already personalized your master template with all of the above, and then you (as the Author of YOUR working document), can make further personalizations unique to your working document —
including changes to any of the above, and...
Personalize your team roles
On the Team worksheet, define your team — including Roles, Responsibilities, contact information, and the Team Codes (which will appear in the dropdown lists on the main FMEA form).
You shouldn't need to personalize anything about the Attendance Log — which is already pre-formatted to track the total number of meetings and total number of hours in meetings for each Team Member (in compliance with ISO requirements).
Personalize your Failure Modes, Effects, and Causes
Failure Modes for one level of FMEA might be Effects or Causes at another level.
Therefore, it is impossible for your master FMEA to come with pre-defined Failure Modes, Effects, and Causes that will be correct for every level. So it is up to your team to use the Sentencing Technique to get them right for YOUR FMEA. (See training for Inter-Related FMEA's)
to empower every team member to improve every process
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