Unexpected failures within a business process can destroy profitability and customer satisfaction. It is critical to proactively error-proof your business, and fortunately there are many off-the-shelf tools and frameworks that can efficiently guide this journey.


A FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) is a very powerful process analysis tool, used for identifying all possible failures in a business process and determining focused actions to mitigate or eliminate the failure mode.


(To start your own assessment, download our free FMEA template at the end of this page!)

But many FMEA initiatives fail to make impactful change and improvements to a business. Here are the four most common errors that we frequently see companies make, and what you can do to avoid them:

(1) Insufficient Participation and Ownership

The FMEA will only yield success if the entire team is included in the assessment. Everyone who interacts with the process – from operator or server up through management, across all functions – has a unique perspective. The team should be empowered to speak out about their experiences and also to own and champion the identified improvements that fall under their responsibility

(2) Lack of Maintenance and Reassessment

Even after a successful FMEA assessment, always set a consistent schedule to revisit and readdress the residual risk present in the process in addition to any new Failure Modes that arise. Without this, process performance will undoubtedly stagnate. Take a Lean and Agile approach of continuous improvement and apply the Pareto principle to prioritize the most impactful failure modes each time.

(3) Missed Failures

To ensure that all potential failure modes are identified and discussed inclusively, a process mapping exercise and SIPOC analysis (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and Customers) should be undertaken. This helps to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project before work begins. Freethinking failure modes without a methodological SIPOC approach will almost certainly lead to missed failure modes.

(4) Misidentification of the True Root Cause

It is critical to drill down to the true root cause of a failure to understand its origin. For example, if one recorded the causes of a manufacturing failure mode as ‘personnel error’ – is the issue with training? Competency? Supporting tools? Materials? Without really reaching the root cause, one cannot design an effective improvement strategy. Try using the ‘5 Why’ approach.

Ready to get started? Click below to receive a free copy of our tried-and-tested FMEA assessment template!

This template provides a solid framework for identifying and mitigating the failure points in your business processes that is easy to understand and walk through at your own pace. It also includes real-life examples of its application in diverse service and manufacturing settings.

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