FMEA, or Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, is a method of analyzing a system to identify the types of probable failures. In addition, it shows its causes and consequences and the effect on the functioning (the whole system or its components). The term “system” describes the hardware, software (with their interactions), or process. It is recommended to conduct the analysis in the early development phase when it is most efficient to eliminate or reduce the consequences and the number of failure modes. The analysis can be started when the system is represented in the form of a functional block diagram indicating its elements.
The failure modes of each component of a particular system are listed in a special table and documented – along with the expected consequences. The method is systematic, effective, and detailed, although it is sometimes considered time-consuming and prone to repetitive actions. The reason for the effectiveness of the process is that each type of failure of each component is studied.
FMEA method has become popular over the year, and it is an inalienable part of most development and production processes and industries. Despite criticism, FMEA demonstrated effectiveness in determining and controlling potential failures. Corrective action is recorded in case the problem is too complex. Moreover, this method allows one to improve the working and to detect, control, and avoid the issue.
The problem with this process is formulated by the inconsistency of the ranks of the failure, and the overall result can be ambiguous. In this case, a possible solution to eliminate this problem would be a rating review. There can be two options: a complete revision of the estimates to compare the two results or a partial review. In the first case, it is enough to repeat the ranking process with the modification of estimates and compare with the results of the first one.
If the outcome is still ambiguous, a partial review should be carried out, considering the most variable estimates. It is necessary to analyze these ranks and understand why the results are different. After analyzing the selected differing ratings, it is essential to reassign their assessment to a narrower range. For example, instead of using a 1-10 scale, one may use a 4-6 scale. It will help to remove all inconsistencies and come to a more precise result.