May 20, 2012

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a tool that can assist in identifying where your areas of risk lie and helps structure solutions.

By using a table list, key steps in your process i.e. either a project or at the highest level, the core functions of your business. Against each of these steps note what the particular failures might be. Then give each a 1-10 score, 10 being worst for each failure representing its severity i.e. cost, impact on the customer etc. Then score 1-10 for occurrence, how often/likely is this to occur. Then in a total column, add the severity and occurrence scores. The higher the score the higher the risk.  Finally, you can list against each of the risks your current controls. You can also highlight the top risks and assign dates against each, to address how you will address each of the highest risk issues.

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.


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