Centre for Learning

Process Failure Mode and Effect Analysis

Process FMEA – Failure Mode and Effect Analysis – is an established technique for preventing problems. It is mandatory in some industries. Although valuable, it can degenerate into a lengthy debate about risk levels rather than attacking its real purpose – the identification of unknown problems.

This course shows how to focus on the genuine value-added aspects of PFMEA, to get the most out of the people you invite to the FMEA session, and to do it in the least time.

The course is fully compatible with QS9000 FMEA requirements.


  • Learn how to addresses common problems of PFMEA, e.g. it takes too long and can fail to anticipate difficulties.
  • Overcome the confusion between the different terminology
  • Avoid wasting effort debating Risk Priority Numbers.
  • Focus on the real goal: the search for unknown problems.

Who should attend?

People who need to anticipate problems with new and changed processes.

Participants are encouraged to bring data on a current process. They can work on this while achieving an understanding of PFMEA.



Goal of PFMEA

  • Find Unexpected Problems
  • Find Underestimated Risks
  • Eliminate causes, or ensure problems don’t affect the customer.

Dangers to avoid, e.g.

  • Logical confusion
  • Excessive time

Organising PFMEA

  • When to do it
  • Customers to consider
  • PFMEA team


  • Practical explanation of key words:
  • Failure Mode
  • Effect
  • Cause
  • Current controls


Step One: Focus on high risk processes
Identify high risk areas, e.g. things which are…

  • New
  • New Combination
  • Newly absent
  • Old but never good enough
  • Old but expect more than before.

Step Two: Search for unknown problems

  • Take a good practical look and understand the process, and the customer requirements
  • Learn from history
  • Look for potential human errors
  • Use checklists for causes and failure modes
  • Look for combinations of causes which will result in failure.

Step Three: Assess the risks

  • Estimate the
  • Severity:
  • Occurrence:
  • Detection:
  • Risk Priority Number.

Step Four: Reduce risk

  • Select the failure modes and causes to address by looking at severity and RPN.
  • Attack the causes by removing, reducing, neutralising, or detecting.

FMEA tips
Common confusers.
Time tips to speed up your PFMEA

Workshop One
Anticipate Problems with a model process.

Concept Reinforcement
Shared learning task to reinforce knowledge of goals, terminology and method.

Workshop Two
Participants work together to anticipate real problems on their own processes.

Alan Long has conducted in house courses on PFMEA for Australian companies in the automotive, chemical, resources, and manufacturing. This course has evolved from meeting the needs—and solving the practical problems—of a wide range of clients.

Alan enjoys an excellent reputation as an instructor and is author of the ‘Statman’ series of books.

$495 excluding GST. Fee includes training Manual, computer spreadsheet files for data analysis, lunch & refreshments. Please refer to our standard terms and conditions for further registration details.

What to Bring?
Participants are encouraged to bring drawings, sketches and examples of product for the Workshop session.

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