Suppliers producing parts for automotive manufacturers around the world have always been subject to varying documentation requirements. Each OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) customer defines its own requirements; these requirements are strongly influenced by the geographic location in which they reside.
In an effort to alleviate confusion and the documentation burden of a global industry, AIAG (Automotive Industry Action Group) of North America and VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie) of Germany jointly published the aligned “FMEA Handbook” in 2019. Those experienced with “classical” FMEA (Vol. III, Vol. IV) will recognize its influence in the new “standard;” however, there are significant differences that require careful consideration to ensure a successful transition.
A significant improvement to the typical presentation of classical FMEA is quickly revealed in the aligned standard. Aspects of FMEA that were previously taken for granted, or understood through experience, are explicitly presented in the new Handbook.
Discussion of the scope of analysis is expanded beyond defining a system, subsystem, or component FMEA to the type of risks to be considered. As shown in Exhibit 1, FMEA is employed to investigate only technical risks. Financial, time, and strategy risks are explicitly excluded from FMEA, though they remain important components of product and process development discussions.
Limitations of FMEA that may require other analysis techniques to be employed are declared early in the presentation of the aligned standard. Namely, FMEA is a qualitative single-point failure analysis technique. Quantitative analysis and multi-point failures require other tools and techniques. This discussion is relegated to the appendices in the previous AIAG Handbook.
The aligned standard restates the requirement for management commitment of resources – time and expertise – to ensure successful FMEA development. It is more explicit in its declaration that management is responsible for accepting the risks and risk mitigation strategies identified. It does not point out, however, that management is also responsible for all risks that have not been identified. Doing so would underline the value of training technical personnel in FMEA development to ensure thorough analysis and an accurate risk profile.
Basic attributes desired of FMEA are often assumed to be understood, undermining previous Handbooks’ utility as an introduction to the methodology. The aligned standard remedies this by defining the following four attributes sought:
The “New” Methodology
The FMEA methodology prescribed in the AIAG/VDA aligned standard, in most regards, is not a radical departure from its predecessors, though important differences exist. The steps followed and forms used will be familiar to practitioners of classical FMEA, though some terminology and formatting has changed.
The AIAG/VDA FMEA Handbook defines a seven-step process for conducting an FMEA. The seven steps are divided among three task categories, as shown in Exhibit 2.
AIAG/VDA prescribes the “Five Ts” to guide FMEA planning discussions. These topics should be discussed at the initiation of a project (i.e. in the “1st Step”). The Five Ts are summarized below:
The first five steps of the FMEA process each provide the basis for the subsequent step. That is, the information gathered in each step is used to complete the next step. Each of the seven steps are discussed in greater detail in subsequent installments, each dedicated to one type of FMEA.
The jointly-published FMEA Handbook is significantly expanded from its predecessors. The information provided in this installment is only a preview and introduction to the approach presented by AIAG and VDA. Upcoming installments of “The Third Degree” will distill the new Handbook into serviceable guides to aid experienced and novice FMEA practitioners alike.
For additional guidance or assistance with Operations challenges, feel free to leave a comment, contact JayWink Solutions, or schedule an appointment.
For a directory of “FMEA” volumes on “The Third Degree,” see Vol. I: Introduction to Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.
[Link] “Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis,” 4ed. Automotive Industry Action Group, 2008.
[Link] “FMEA Handbook.” Automotive Industry Action Group and VDA QMC, 2019.
Jody W. Phelps, MSc, PMP®, MBA
JayWink Solutions, LLC
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