Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a method to identify and prioritize potential failures of a product or process. The traditional FMEA uses three factors, Occurrence, Severity, and Detection, to determine the Risk Priority Number (RPN). This paper addresses two major problems with the conventional FMEA approach: 1) The Detection index does not accurately measure contribution to risk, and 2) The RPN is an inconsistent risk-prioritization technique.

The authors recommend two deployment strategies to address these shortcomings: 1) Organize the FMEA around failure scenarios rather than failure modes, and 2) Evaluate risk using probability and cost. The proposed approach uses consistent and meaningful risk evaluation criteria to facilitate life cost-based decisions.

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