FMEA, and RCA, Got You Overwhelmed, and Paralyzed?

I get it, Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) are hard or at the very least hard to execute consistently. If you look at the amount of them that you need to do or should do, it can be quite overwhelming. Many sites get paralyzed by this and do very little or nothing with these very important tools. Just like many of the other elements we talk about that are needed for reliability improvement, it is critical to create a plan and set an expectation. It must be broken in into manageable bite size pieces. overwhelm

For sites that are just beginning to complete RCAs and FMEAs I often suggest the following goal: What if each reliability engineer or maintenance engineer committed to one FMEA and 2 RCAs per month? Would this be doable in your organization? The expectation is that these would be good quality FMEAs of 200 lines or more and RCAs that are more than 5 whys or fish bones. They all need to be taken through implementation and follow up even if that portion occurs after the month they are scheduled in. I would suggest that FMEA be selected based on "leveragability." What I mean by that is, select your target assets not just based on criticality or failure rate but also based on how many assets that you can apply the FMEA against while developing equipment maintenance plans and systemic improvements. Think of it as, what assets can I get the most bang for the buck?

If your site were to adopt this goal and execute on it then by the end of the year you would have 12 FMEAs implemented and 24 problems addressed with RCA for each reliability or maintenance engineer.  Imagine the change in performance you would experience with this volume of issues leaving the system. 

I get it, these tools can be overwhelming, but if you set a goal and hold each other accountable then your organization can be substantially better than most of your competition within the first year.