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The FMEA Process at FP


Could you briefly define your role at FP International?
I am in charge of the European Quality of the company. Quality meeting customer requirements and expectation of machines, consumables and service (which include logistics, service processes etc.)

Could you define FMEA in the quality process?
FMEA means “Failure Mode and Effect Analysis”.
The FMEA is a way of identifying the potential failures and the associated relative risks designed into a product or process. The aim of the FMEA is to detect potential failures during the production process and product development and to prevent them by realising measurements to avoid the defects.

What are the fundamentals of the FMEA?
To my mind the fundamentals of the FMEA are:
First: Using experience of people not to make the same mistakes again.
Second: Doing a risk analysis and making sure that through prevention you’ll have a proper product and a proper process.

What are the benefits for FP and moreover for FP’s customers?
It can contribute to improved designs for products and processes, resulting in higher reliability, better quality, increased safety, enhanced customer satisfaction and reduced costs. The main benefit is surely to avoid problems in an early stage and therefore, the biggest advantage for FP would be to have satisfied customers!

Now tell me more about the FMEAs’ limitations?
The Failure Mode and Effect Analysis needs a lot of knowledge and technique, which represent a big investment to take results.

Isn’t FMEA only for high-end companies (automotive, aerospace…)?
The FMEA is a tool that can be adapted in many different ways for many different purposes. In every company you can learn from the past and use the people’s experience. We adapted the process for our purposes but in the basis we use the same techniques.

Why is FMEA important for a company such as FP International?
FMEA is important for a company such as FP to avoid issues in products and processes by having a previous experience of it.

What efforts were required to deploy FMEA at FP ? (cultural change, training,…)
Different things were done to deploy FMEA. First, we set up a training program that was used for the automotive sector and adapted it especially to our sector. We then conducted training at the engineering and service department so they are completely operational with the use of this tool. As we were in the development process we started using the tools. Cultural changes was not that difficult because our people are strongly customer focused and the method we use is based on common sense.

What role does FMEA play within the continuous improvement process?
In the service part of our product life cycle we have a change process. As soon as there is a need for a change we either check if we still cover the potential risk (minor changes)or if we have to make another FMEA (major changes). It is always thinking before you start acting.

What are the next steps of FMEA at FP ?
First we implemented the “product FMEA” and now we will start with “process FMEA”, which means looking at the risks during the production/assembly process. Together with our partners who assemble the machines for us we will make sure that potential risks are minimised. After our efforts in Europe, our US colleagues will follow with the eyes of their market.

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