FMEA and Reliability Testing: Closing the Loop on Risk

Dan Burrows

FMEA and Reliability Testing have a definite linkage when it comes to closing the loop on risk. FMEA is a “thought exercise” used early on to identify and address potential risks. But what failure modes could occur and what have we not thought of? This is where Reliability Testing can uncover failure modes, see their effects and severity, determine how likely they are, and even point to detection or prevention. This is then fed back into the FMEA to provide real, actionable information. Reliability Testing is a “physical exercise” used later on to demonstrate that risk has been managed. But what to test for? This is where the FMEA guides you in what the relevant failure modes are. In addition, if unexpected failure modes occur, the FMEA provides the means to sort out and address the risk. As a “special bonus”, this paper will also address the significant changes in ISO 9001:2015 concerning risk management and how the linkage of FMEA and Reliability Testing helps.