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The FMEA template and Excel workbook will be emailed to you within the next 10-15 minutes. You’re one giant leap closer to great FMEA’s that can help up to 5X more of your products get adopted and embraced by your customer(s).

To get the most from your new FMEA template, watch the short video below now. Because I’m not just sending you spreadsheets; this workbook can be your launchpad to getting your products/systems not just accepted, but celebrated by your customer(s) for their impeccable reliability and safety.

If your company has email or video blockers that do not allow you to watch the video, then you may want to re-register with your home email address, so you can download the Excel Workbook and watch the video from home. Then re-attach the Excel Template (Workbook) to an email you send into your your work-email address, from home, to get through the blockers.

A well done FMEA is an effective and legal ‘due diligence’ document. It shows what has been done to achieve reliability, avoid safety hazards and avoid high warranty repair costs. This FMEA template can also be a key driver of innovation, maintainability, diagnostic fault detection and other product improvements.

Whether you use the FMEA template to;

  1. Quickly identify and collect failure modes into expensive ‘FMEA software’, or
  2. Use this template directly as your FMEA and use it as the generally preferred Excel Deliverable,  thus eliminating need for additional expensive FMEA software.
  3. This template and workbook can also help you plan;
    1. More cost-effective Design Verification Testing (DVT) and reduce DVT time & expense.
    1. More effectively mitigate safety hazards,
    1. Avoid both expensive safety lawsuits and high warranty costs, and
    1. Avoid product recalls.

Over the years, I have discovered a few tricks (methods & tools) which I now use to complete FMEA activities in a timely manner and get better results from the effort. So, let me explain these FMEA preparation methods/tools, in the video (above) and in the text (below). The video and text complement each other, yet not redundant. These method/tools empower users of this FMEA template to complete their FMEA activity 3-5X faster and without missing any critical failure modes.

(watch the video now, while your template is being delivered)

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Many companies have contracted me to do FMEA for them or to facilitate their product development groups through the FMEA process more quickly. But, many are simply looking to do their own FMEAs faster, in compliance with industry standards and customer expectations, without missing any critical failure modes.

If that is your goal, here are four FMEA preparation method/tools I use to:

  1. Minimize FMEA preparation time,
  2. Speed up populating of Failure Modes (FM’s) into the FMEA,  
  3. Accurately scoring of RPN (AP), and
  4. Ensure all seen and unseen potentially critical FM’s are captured and addressed in the FMEA.

Giving the FMEA team (engineers and development specialists) time they need to eliminate or mitigate critical FMs before the next peer review or customer design review.

Method/Tool 1:  The FBI-Block Diagram

Most often FMEA facilitators or project leads prepare for FMEA team activity by collecting a list of system functions and/or creating an RBD, a Reliability Block Diagram, or a FBD, Functional Block Diagram, or what is often called a B-Diagram, Boundary Diagram. Although these models help to describe the system to be analyzed and the components within the system (Items in the FMEA), I have found they are not complete enough to identify all potential failure modes (FMs), into the FMEA (especially when seeking all; e, m, i, and p FM’s). 

Example: This FB-Diagram of an exhaust system for a large industrial vehicle, shows not only the components within the system, but also the other systems this system interfaces with. Every line crossing the dotted-line boundary is a function.

I often see development specialists and FMEA teams that round up one of these block diagrams to describe the system (because they have been told, “they are supposed to), but then make very little if any attempt to use the model to identify Items and failure modes (FMs) to analyze within the FMEA. Even the manager of Reliability and Robust Engineering, at a large defense company I worked with, did not understand and could not explain the difference between FM, Failure Modes and SES, System Error States.

To remove FMEA team confusion, to reduce FMEA labor hours and expense (time in confusion) and to empower teams to easily identify all seen and potential FMs, I combined the advantages of each of the above traditional models into one model/tool called a FBI-Block Diagram (Functional Boundary and Interface-Block Diagram).

The FBI-Block Diagram can be used to:  

  • Better identify and verify input and output functionality of the system and sub-system or component functions with their four potential failure modes, into the FMEA.
  • Communicate to management, development specialists and to the customer(s) the internal components (sub-systems) and their functions.
  • In combination with the FH-Decomp Table (below) helps ensure critical failure modes are not missed, in the FMEA. 

What is the Value of a FBI-Block Diagram?

The Value of a tool is often hard to quantify, because a tool not used, is useless (of no value). Also, a tool may be miss-used, or used more or less effectively. Also, a single tool provides just a fraction of the value when using multiple tools (like a hammer and a measuring tape, or like the FBI-Block Diagram and the FH-Decomp table), to accomplish a project like FMEA. So, after describing the FH-Decomp Table (below)  you will see how and why I put a value of $25,000 on the FBI-Block Diagram. Keep reading and I’ll show you a way you might get these models (tools) for free.

Method/Tool 2: FH-Decomp Table

The FH-Decomp table is a valuable FMEA preparation tool to extract all functions and failure modes out of the FBI-Block Diagram, prioritize those functions, so you don’t miss any critical failure modes and quickly organize and populate the FMEA. Refer to the Exhaust System FB-Diagram (above), to see how the FH-Decomp Table is filled in…

Why do you need an FH-Decomp Table?

Maybe you don’t. I never used one. In my 7 years facilitating FMEA groups, I had never seen anything like this.  But, the month before discovering the FH-Decomp Table, my job was on the line (at risk of ending). Yet, the month after presenting this FH-Comp Table, my job was ‘lock-down’ secure.

Jobs of the other eleven FMEA facilitators in my department were also on the line. Because, the director of systems engineering had been getting complaints over the last 2-3 years about how much time FMEA was taking away from their engineering duties and complaints that the engineers were still missing  critical failure modes (FMs not showing up in the FMEA but manifesting themselves in system verification or validation tests).  So, the director had put out the word, “If you can’t come up with a way to do FMEA a lot faster and show me (justify) that you’re not missing critical FMs, then next quarter we will lay off the FMEA facilitators and contract these services out to an FMEA facilitator services company!”  Well, put it that way and you’ve got my attention!  So, I went to work. I felt like our FMEA facilitators knew what they were doing. It’s just that management couldn’t look at an FMEA (a spreadsheet with 26 subject columns and 300-500 rows of potential FMs and make any sense of it at all. Management was simply confused, I thought. And they don’t like being confused. So, I started creating this simple Function to Hardware correlation table to show them we did understand the system functions and the components (FM Items) and how to translate functions into FMs, in the FMEA.

No sooner did I complete my first function-to-hardware correlation table than I saw that this could also be an excellent tool to help identify the relative failure rates of each Item or ‘hardware component’, and identify failure severity of system performance, should anyone of these functions fail. The table could also then be used to show ‘worst-case criticality’ (severity * ‘relative failure-rate’). So, we had a way of prioritizing and extracting failure-modes into the FMEA, even faster.  Management loved it, because they could now see what was going on. The FH-Decomp Table could act as an index and an audit tool for the FMEA. The engineers and FMEA teams loved it because they could very systematically and faster populate the FMEA, without missing any critical failure modes (FMs)!

Over the next year we documented carefully to find what this method/tool was saving us. We knew we were moving much faster and, very logically, we were not missing any critical failure modes. During that next year the accounting department and the Six Sigma Projects Team verified that we had saved $4,205,817.00 by completing FMEA activities in less than 1/3rd the time.

Summary Purposes of FH-Decomp Table:

  • Helps tie hardware/software blocks (components or Items) to their sub-functions and to the system output function(s).
  • Better communicate to management and other development specialists the internal components and their functions (why each is needed).
  • Acts as an index to the FMEA and helps identify all functional failure modes going into the FMEA.
  • It also serves as an audit tool to ensure critical failure modes are not missed. 
  • Greatly speeds up population of failure modes into the FMEA.

What is the Value of a FH-Decomp Table?

Since the value of a tool is only a fraction of the money saved doing the FMEA project. I started my value calculation with the savings all four (4) method/tools help generate, to reduce FMEA team labor hours (for the company). That year, the company saved $4,205,817 by doing their FMEA’s in less than 1/3rd the time.  That’s across 40 FMEAs done that year = $105,145.43 per FMEA. I divided that savings by the four (4) preparation method/tools used = $26,286.36 per tool.

So, the value of each tool, when properly used, is a conservative $25,000 for each tool (each time the tools are used, to do an FMEA). Savings were verified by the company’s accounting department and their Six Sigma Project Leaders.

Method/Tool 3: P-Diagram – Template and Example (Excel Worksheets)

  • Helps communicate to management and other development specialists the System Functions and Error States (System FM’s) caused by; environmental noise factors (stresses), manufacturing variables, aging, customer use and miss-use as well as internal stresses and sub-system interactive noise factors.
  • Correlates stresses and noise factors with design controls, into the FMEA, implemented to prevent malfunction and system failures.
  • Helps the FMEA team fill in “End Effect” and SEVerity columns in the FMEA, as well as “cause” and all four “Design Control” columns and think about OCCurrence column scoring.
  • Plan and report DVP&R verification and validation testing for the product or system.

Value of the P-Diagram: $25,000

Since the value of a tool is only a fraction of the money saved doing the FMEA project, see value calculation, above, for the FH-Comp Table, Method/Tool 2 of 4.

(Optional) Method/Tool 4 of 4: AIAG VDA Compliant DFMEA Template and Example (Excel Worksheets)

  • If you need this FMEA Template, you know why you need it, because it is the new AIAG VDA Standard required for doing DFMEA in the Automotive Industry.
  • Puts an emphasis on safety and severity (over detection)
  • This AP template automatically adjusts from S X O X D = RPN to AP, Action Priority (on Safety,  Criticality and all 4 Design Control types to improve the product or system)

Value of the AIAG VDA DFMEA Template: $25,000

Since the value of a tool is only a fraction of the money saved doing the FMEA project, see my value calculation, above, for the FH-Comp Table, Tool 2 of 4.

I never charge $25,000 for these four additional method/tools, but their value does factor into what I charge for FMEA coaching, training and facilitating rapid-innovative product/system improvements.

But, right now, because you requested the Free FMEA template and because I feel some Q&A and Coaching would really help your team get the most from all this, I am offering all four of the above method/tools as bonus items for free. For those who attend my next online 3-hour work-shop titled:

“Completing Your DFMEA 3X Faster, without Missing Any Critical Failure Modes”.

Because you have downloaded the FMEA Template, this workshop is priced at only $197 per attendee.

Attendees will:

  1. Also receive all four Method/Tools described above, at no additional cost. ($25,000 X 4 = $100,000 Value)
  2. Get a working knowledge during the 3 hour online workshop on how to use these tools and
  3. How to complete FMEA activities 3X faster, without missing any critical failure modes.        

Only two online Workshop opportunities; Sept 7th, 9am-12n or Sept 12th, 9am-12n (limit: 15 per session)

                         To Register & Save Your Place in the Sept 7th or 12th 3-hour, online workshop, Click Here

Previous attendees greatly value the 3-hours they invested:

“The follow-up session, to your workshop… was extremely helpful. The follow-up session moved us from understanding the new FMEA method, to populating our own FMEA in 3 hours. We are not using Howard’s FMEA template, because of other internal Volvo procedures and reporting tools, but his 3X method is the fastest, most methodical and logical FMEA preparation method I have seen. If we need further help with FMEA we will likely watch the video again,or ask for some coaching from Howard.

     –Mike Hill, Systems Reliability Engineer, Volvo Construction Equip Co.

“The course was effective in revealing how to prepare FMEA 3X faster, while not missing any critical failure modes. It was directly relevant to the demands of my job. Although I wish we had had more time, I am excited to apply these concepts to enhance my FMEA work and my job performance. I would recommend this course to others needing to do D-FMEA or P-FMEA, faster or better.”   — Joshua Hughes

    “Your online workshop provided a way to bundle preparation directly into FMEA. Previously this preparation work was just additional documentation… With this new method, we saved preparation… time… before the formal FMEA meetings started. Our FMEA team which employed this method, moved 4-5X faster on the project we were working on. Through the triplet of FBI-Diagram, P-Diagram and FH-Decomp. I have never seen it done or packaged this way. It also allowed me to scope, identify and score component FMs by myself and later verify by soliciting experts.

   The follow-up session gave us time to review points from the class and to ask questions, to understand changes needed in our actual project FMEA. Finally, Howard highlighted post-review and a critical eye approach that I can use after a FMEA group meetings.”

— Nelson Martinez (Equipment FMEAs), Nevada Gold Mining Systems

Check the box, below, to see if there is still room at our next FMEA online Workshop, for just $197 instead of the normal $500.00 price. (15 limit per workshop) We will send the additional method/tool templates, then contact you to arrange one of the two FMEA Workshop Dates, given remaining availability.

As Tiger Woods says,

“Winning at golf is not so much in ‘which brand of clubs you buy’. It’s in ‘your swing’.  And that takes some coaching”

Let these FMEA templates & tools (“clubs”) and the workshop (“coaching”), become valued assets to your FMEA activities and your product or systems design and development successes.

Optional text on FMEA workshop, webinar, ads, method, tools…

Method-1: Make the FMEA go faster and improve development conversations during FMEA activity, by focusing on functionality not on failure modes.

Method-2: “There are only four failure modes.” These two concepts help everything go faster.

Method-3: Work down the columns of the FMEA, not across each FMEA row (failure mode). Understanding these three methods (or concepts) help move faster through preparation of the FMEA. There’s lots of templates you could use, or you may use and expensive FMEA software package, but using these preparation methods will help you move faster and not miss critical failure modes.

Those who are involved in doing FMEA, know that missing critical failure modes is probably the biggest risk. Especially if rushing or trying to complete the FMEA in less time. FMEA specialists are frequently accused of having missed one or more critical failure modes. Which leads occasionally to getting laid off or demoted, due to unexpected warranty recalls or even more expensive safety lawsuits.

The FMEA is a critical document. It’s a living legal document showing “due diligence” during development and manufacturing activities. For this reason, many engineers, reliability and safety specialists avoid getting involved with FMEA.

Yet, I found FMEA one of the most important activities to get involved in, to advance my own career. That is, after I found a systematic way to not miss any critical failure modes!

Through my years facilitating FMEA, I have discovered that companies pay the most money for employees who help solve problems, help the company make more money and help them not lose money. Companies want ‘self-starters’ who pitch in to help the team solve problems and improve products, rather than just seek attention by reporting risks and problems.

FMEA is an excellent work opportunity, in my mind. It brought me better pay-raises and large  annual bonuses. It secured my job. I never had to worry about layoffs after we developed this methodology. I was also awarded a large chunk of stock options which paid off handsomely a few years later.

When facilitating FMEA and when teaching others how to facilitate engineering and development teams through their FMEA activities, I demonstrate the method/tools described above. Here’s more detail on all three:

  1. Focus on ‘functionality’ rather than ‘failure modes’. Engineers think about functionality, they design their components and their system to perform certain functions. They understand those functions. They understand how their device works. What they don’t understand and what frustrates them greatly is when we  start talking about ‘potential failure modes’.

    Their response to ‘failure mode’ talk is usually, “This is my design. It’s a good design. It’s not gonna fail.” They don’t like thinking about failure modes and they don’t understand ‘reliability math’. “If I can add component failure rates to get the system failure rate, why can I not add component reliability numbers to get the system reliability?” “This is crazy.”

So, I don’t go there. Rather, I go into detail, helping engineers model their system functionality and component functionality and then show them how to systematically flip their model “upside down” to populate and complete their FMEA in 1/3rd the time, while not missing any critical failure modes.

2. The next point, as I mentioned earlier, there are only four possible ‘failure modes’ for any given function; 1. Too much of the function, 2. Too little of the function, 3. None of the function, or 4. Intermittent functionality.

Actually there are a few exceptions to these four, such as replacing “Too much” with “Erroneous information” when it comes to information functions. But there are still just four possible information function failure modes (FMs). These exceptions are laid out in a worksheet in the free FMEA template you requested.

We then simply populate these FMs into the FMEA without really even discussing them. Then go to the next meeting to review and discuss the next couple of columns that they do like to discuss, which are, “If my product were to fail in that way, what’s the effect on the system and what’s the effect on the end user, or customer?”

So, populate the FMEA by working down the FMEA columns, one at a time, not across the columns. This is much easier and faster and it provides better perspective and scoring S x O x D = SEVerity throughout the FMEA.

It is difficult trying to discuss and score one row, or ‘failure mode’ at a time, from left to right, addressing 26 to 30 columns (issues) for a single ‘failure mode’, let alone getting through 300-500 such failure modes per FMEA. Each column represents a different issue for the FMEA team to think about.

They can think quickly and accurately about one issue (column), i.e., ‘component functional failure’ by ‘component function failure’, until they get to the bottom of that column, then start on the next issue (column).

Go down the next column. How severe is this functional failure?

Then let the FMEA team or responsible engineer fill in the columns on what would most likely cause each functional failure and how likely is each failure to occur?

Another way to improve the FMEA, while saving multiple man-hours per column, is to assign the next one or two columns to be filled out by the proper SME, Subject Matter Expert, before the next FMEA group meeting. FMEA is certainly a group activity, requiring multiple engineers and multiple development specialists, but they don’t all have to be at every FMEA session. They don’t all need help populate column(s) not related to their area of expertise and experience.

They should be available to review completed columns and offer their input on design controls and possible corrective actions.

But, hours can be saved by having the proper SME’s fill out certain columns and then walk the group through a review of his work, to prepare the group or individual, for the next step or column to be assigned out.

A good FMEA facilitator is valuable to make these assignments and he acts as the “glue” that unifies the group and keeps them in harmony with their purpose. Like any orchestra, not all players need to be playing at the same time, nor at the same volume, nor playing the same melodic lines (tasks being performed).

Yet, they can work (play) as one team, synchronized in time and purpose to complete the FMEA in minimal time and with maximum effect. ‘Leaving time to correct or mitigate critical failure modes before the next customer review.   

The facilitator should discuss these issues and walk the FMEA group through populating all failure modes into the FMEA, then determining severity of each functional failure. Again, moving faster and more accurately through the FMEA. Usually 3-5X faster and without missing any critical failure modes.

3. In my webinars and workshops I discuss the unique method I discovered and began using, back around 2010-12, to verify that all system and component functions have been identified and to quickly identify maximum potential criticality of losing each function. Doing this not only eliminates endless discussion of non-critical failure modes while filling in the FMEA, it also ensures analysis of each and all potentially critical failures. Again, saving time and money getting through FMEA activities.   

By coaching and helping FMEA teams do these activities in the right sequence, it actually does help save time. One large defense company where we began using this methodology, in the very next year, saved $4,208,000 in labor costs doing FMEAs, because we were doing it in one third the time, compared to FMEA projects done in previous years.

We were able to move forward, with time on our hands, to improve systems, by mitigating or preventing the critical failure modes from occurring. We did 26 different projects like that, over a 5 year period. All 26 improved products got adopted by the US Army. All 26 got manufacturing contracts and then sent out into the field, to help win battles. All 26 helped the Army save $233 million/year, over the legacy systems they had been using.

This was amazing to me.

But, more amazing than the $233 million saved, was what I saw as a reversal of the 80/20 Rule.

Most engineers are lucky to have 20% of their projects adopted and embraced by the customer, without “do over”, “rework”, or failure to obtain next phase funding all together. It’s the 80/20 rule. 80% of engineers only get, maybe one out of five of their designs actually adopted by the customer.

I have personally spoken to many engineers who admitted they had been working at the same company for 5-10 years, but hadn’t seen any of their designs make it into the field (or win in the marketplace).  

Yet, I had just seen every project, all 26, where we had used this new method,  adopted and embraced by the customer and zero failed projects.

That is better than reversing the 80/20 Rule of failures. We had eliminated it!  

(Or at least, statistically speaking we had reversed 80/20 to 4/96, with some confidence.)

This helps the company make more money. The Six Sigma finance accounting group verified the numbers. Maybe you can do the same, maybe better? 

But, the fact that we had better than reversed the 80/20 rule of failures, verified to me that the big difference, here, was not me.

I’ve had plenty of project failures, over my career. It is painful when project failures turn into me and many others getting laid off. (no next phase funding)

The big difference, here, wasn’t the 26 design and development teams I had worked with. They’ve had their share of project failures too.

The big difference on these 26 successful projects was that these were the projects where we had applied this new method. The method made the big difference.

That kind of results excites the customer and results in repeat contracts.
It’s all about perpetuating the company, improving their profitability, improving their products, and that’s what engineers should do.

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