Are you tired of working in silos and struggling to align your PFMEA, Control Plan, and work instructions? Our new article explores how cross-functional teams and software solutions like FMEAQuest can help you identify potential risks, implement controls, and minimize the risk of IATF findings. Request a demo or try our software today and start building better PFMEAs!

Building Better PFMEAs: How Cross-Functional Teams and Software Solutions Can Help

As manufacturing processes become increasingly complex, it’s more important than ever for cross-functional teams (manufacturing engineering, quality engineering, production, etc.) to work together to identify potential risks in subject processes and implement controls to mitigate them. One powerful tool for achieving this goal is the Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA).

The Importance of Cross-Functional Teams in PFMEA Development:

But what happens when different teams within an organization aren’t communicating effectively, and aren’t aligning their work on the PFMEA with downstream processes like the Control Plan and work instructions? This is a common problem in the automotive industry, where adherence to IATF 16949 standards requires manufacturers to follow AIAG guidelines that dictate a flow from the Process Flow Diagram (PFD) to the PFMEA to the Control Plan to work instructions and inspection sheets to ensure that information regarding risks and critical characteristics identified for mitigation and control are addressed through the successful implementation of controls and in every day operations at the point of manufacture.

Our team of implementers was recently working with a cross-functional team made up of various engineering disciplines at a manufacturing company. What we found was that the teams were working in silos, not developing the FMEA as a cross-functional team, and not being aware of the FMEA when creating the control plan. This lack of alignment ultimately led to confusion and inefficiencies downstream in the manufacturing process – and lead to a finding in an IATF audit.

We work with engineering teams as we implement our FMEA solution to better see the bigger picture and start to look at their process differently. We encourage engineers responsible for PFMEA to define the characteristics being considered for failure, for instance, and select whether they are being carried over for control right from our software so that downstream members are aware of what has been identified for control and, based on the action priority or RPN, can establish the appropriate control methods, with the software enforcing strict alignment from PFMEA to Control Plan – the use of software, aside from quickly becoming a requirement for many automotive suppliers due to updated OEM Customer Specific Requirements (CSRs), helps bring everyone together to work towards a common goal.

The Consequences of Working in Silos:

Alternatively, working in silos and not properly cascading the PFMEA process can lead to a wide range of issues that can impact both the quality of the product and the success of the organization. One of the biggest risks is that potential failure modes may be missed, leading to inadequate controls and ultimately product failures that could damage the company’s reputation or even harm end-users. 

A lack of alignment between the PFMEA, Control Plan, and work instructions can lead to confusion and inefficiencies downstream in the manufacturing process. This can lead to delays, increased costs, and even production shutdowns if critical issues are not identified and addressed in a timely manner.

But perhaps the most immediate or most visible risk of not properly cascading the PFMEA process is that it can lead to major findings during IATF audits. Adherence to IATF 16949 standards is critical for automotive manufacturers, and failure to comply can result in lost business, damaged reputation, and even legal consequences. By aligning the PFMEA, Control Plan, and work instructions, and ensuring that everyone is on the same page, organizations can minimize the risk of IATF findings and demonstrate their commitment to quality and continuous improvement.

How FMEAQuest Can Help Your Team Build Better PFMEAs:

That’s why we created FMEAQuest, a powerful software solution that streamlines the PFMEA process and helps teams work together more effectively. With FMEAQuest, you can easily create PFMEAs that align with downstream processes like the Control Plan and work instructions, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

But FMEAQuest isn’t just about aligning teams – it also helps identify potential risks and prioritize actions to mitigate them. The software allows you to assign severity, occurrence, and detection ratings to potential failure modes, calculate risk priority numbers, and develop recommended actions to reduce the likelihood or severity of failure modes – all of which being pulled from common libraries and benchmarks to allow for consistency throughout your process and to better meet new Customer Specific Requirements.

That’s why FMEAQuest is such a powerful tool. By streamlining the PFMEA process and aligning teams, it helps organizations identify potential risks, implement controls, and minimize the risk of IATF findings. Plus, with our 60-day Proof of Concept (POC), it’s easy to see the benefits of FMEAQuest for yourself. Don’t wait – request a demo or try our software today and start building better PFMEAs!


Industry Leading Features

  • Dependency Matrix
  • Conditional Data Mirroring
  • Preformatted Templates
  • Comprehensive Libraries
  • Enhanced Change Tracking
  • Structured Lists
  • Security
  • Multi language support
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