Failure Mode and Effects Analysis in Six Sigma

Written by: Derek Koziol

Read Time: 2 min

We’re in a world where manufacturing is transforming day to day; new, digitally connected infrastructure, massive amounts of data, and increasingly complex products are the new norm. And while this exciting chapter of industrial transformation is providing new opportunities for innovation, it is also introducing the potential for high risk failures.

Six Sigma is a set of techniques that implement, monitor, and control processes for real-time visibility into product performance in order to identify the risk/impact of failures.

This philosophy of viewing work as process-oriented is defined through the acronym DMAIC:

  • Define a problem
  • Measure the baseline data of the problem
  • Analyze the data to understand the root of the issue
  • Improve by developing an action plan
  • Control the plan

This standardized process can be implemented throughout an enterprise to deliver continuous improvement and produce quality products.

What is FMEA in Six Sigma?

So, where does Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) fit into all of this? FMEA provides a framework so stakeholders can identify and analyze how parts might fail early in the design process to prevent failures from occurring. By systematically planning how a part or product may fail and create a knowledge base around that failure mode, stakeholders can continuously improve their products before they’re sent to be manufactured or into the field.

The Purpose of FMEA in Six Sigma

With FMEA implemented in conjunction with a Six Sigma approach, enterprises can structure what exactly needs to be addressed and measure continuous improvement. Just because an issue is fixed within the process doesn’t mean it might not break again. FMEA continues monitoring the problem through the control phase, ensuring the mistake is not made again and updates if a new problem is identified.

FMEA and Six Sigma go together, providing specific and factual insights and leading to continuously improved processes throughout the value chain. And with access to FMEA within PTC’s Windchill that provides visibility through the PLM process, the FMEA information doesn’t get lost through the value chain, but rather gets passed from one stakeholder to the next without fear of distorting or losing information. Stakeholders can be confident that the process is consistent and that variations are limited with the ability to also correct issues as the occur, rather than taking reactionary steps.

You can learn more about how PTC works with FMEA by going to our Quality Management webpage.

Tags: Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Windchill Quality

About the Author

Derek Koziol

Derek Koziol has over 20 years as an experienced Continuous Improvement leader with deep expertise in Six Sigma, lean, change management and program management.

With an MBA and LSSMBB, he has led global enterprise Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) initiatives in several industries ranging from technology and automotive, to complex pharma and medical devices.