How to Outsource Any Problem Solving – FMEA de-mystified

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People were trained in school to wait for the answer from parents and teachers at home and at school. So when at work, you often meet the attitude of “You are the boss, you tell me what to do!”. Than they complain about what you say. Those 10+ years of schooling and childhood habits are hard to kill.

Is there a solution…. Yes grow you patience nerves stronger, and call for help. There are a couple of tools that will help you with, but today I want to share a tool for the braves. Even in sophisticated improvement cultures it is usually the privilege of Engineering of some sort to use such tools, but I am a strong believer of that everyone can be a master of this.

The tool is FMEA…. Failure Mode and Effect Analysis. The basic principle is to ask 4 questions, and use a scoring system to rank the importance what comes out.

Questions:

  1. What can go wrong or how the thing can go wrong?
  2. When it goes wrong how severe is the impact to the thing or process?
  3. How often does/can it go wrong?
  4. How easy is it to find that before it goes wrong?

The firs question is a simple brainstorming, so for example if it is a machine, that you list out what can break in it.

Than you use the later 3 and score them on a 1..10 scale (agree on criteria before) and multiply the 3 numbers you get for each line to establish the ranking order. For the scoring you either search for some standard, hundreds are in Google, pick your favourite, or you can come up with yours too, the key to success is consistency of interpretation.

I have used this tool many times in all levels of the organization, it is great as you can involve everyone related to the process in the scoring process and once you have the results it is a powerful communication tool to higher levels to gather support to fix the problem.

You can also use the outsourcing bit on the problem solving as promised and ask your group the question in a brainstorming format:

What could we do to change the impact/ score of:

  1. How severe
  2. How often
  3. How easy is to find

You can again rank the ideas by if I were to implement them how the scoring would change.

If you do this in a group setting with your team or the team involved with the process it is fun, engages good thinking and involvement.

Any questions…. Feel free to comment or reach out in contacts page!

 

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

G

FMEA Mouse 512x512

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