FMEA – The right level of detail.

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    Norrin Radd

     We are using FMEA for the first time.  On the requirement/process section we are wrestling with the level of detail.
    We currently have one process step that requires a person to attach two cables (the cables differ slightly) to a large assembly.  The same person, at the same station, at pretty much the same time (no order of operation requirement here), does the job.  The same set of failure modes, causes, and control methods exist for both cables.
    One of the participants suggested that this process be broken into two.  Each with their own set of failure modes, causes, and control methods.
    Is this participant correct?  Following this logic means I should have a process/requirement for each screw, as opposed to having one failure mode for the 1000 screws in this assembly that are identical. Where is the happy medium?
    Thank you for your input



    Just my opinion:
    If the operation “screw the screw” is the same for the 1000 screws, and have the same failure modes with the same effects, same severity, same causes, same occurrences, same controls and same detection (then same NPR too) and your boss insist that each and every screw must be displayed in the FMEA, well, you’ll have to work once and use copy – paste 999 times :-)
    If some effects or severities are different but everything else is the same, you can take the worst case (highest severity). It is not the same to have a missing screw in the steering-weel than in the window lever, even if the failure mode (missing screw), the cause and the controls are the same.



    You usually start a PFMEA exercise with a flow chart. so it makes sense ( to me) that you would address each cable separately because that is the way the process would appear on the flow chart. Mr. G is right about using copy and paste — do your FMEA on one cable assembly, then copy and paste to your other cable.
    About addressing each of the 1,000 screws separately, ask youself if that makes sense. The one of the purposes of a FMEA is to identify and eliminate or reduce risk; in other words, risk assessment.
    Will putting down on your FMEA document each of 1,000 screws help you meet this objective? My guess it will not; but many some of those 1,000 screws may be more important than others. Evaluate the risk of potential failures for those important screws separately.
    In any event, do what makes sense for you and your situation.
    Good luck.

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