How to Use FMEA to Improve Business Processes

  • by Jawad Akhtar, Head of SAP Delivery, AbacusConsulting
  • December 12, 2014
Learn how to configure settings for valuating detection actions, preventive actions, and effects in failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). Receive tips on how to use the FMEA monitor to keep track of the progress of FMEAs.
Learning Objectives

By reading this article, you will learn how to:

  • Configure settings for valuation of detection actions
  • Configure settings for valuation of preventive actions
  • Configure settings for valuation of effects
  • Track the statuses of FMEAs using the FMEA monitor
  • Create a control plan (CP) to transfer FMEA characteristics to an inspection plan
  • Integrate the CP with FMEA
Key Concept

A detection action stipulates the possibility of detecting a defect. A preventive action defines the preventive measure that is put in place to ensure reduction or elimination of the cause of defect. An effect reflects the damage or the loss that results from the defect in the product or the process.

In the business process of failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), the system automatically calculates a risk priority number (RPN). The business processes in FMEA entail three steps that then form the basis for automatic calculation of the RPN. The three steps are:

•    Detection action
•    Preventive action
•    Effect

In each of the three steps above, you specify the actions that you have taken and how this has resulted in achieving the target or desired valuation of the element. In other words, now you start to fill in the actual and factual information and results in the system after performing the necessary steps.

You need to ensure that two components are installed in your SAP ERP system to enable you to implement FMEA:
  • Enhancement package 3.0 or higher
  • Adobe Document Server (ADS) 
I cover each of these three steps in the next three sections.

Valuation of Detection Action

Figure 1 is the screen for a detection action. Notice that at the very bottom of Figure 1, the Start Action check box is not selected. This means that no detection action has taken place so far.

Figure 1
The Basic Data tab of a detection action

Jawad Akhtar

Jawad Akhtar earned his chemical engineering degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology. He has 17 years of professional experience, of which nine years are in SAP. He has completed eight end-to-end SAP project implementation lifecycles in the areas of PP, QM, MM, PM, and DMS in the steel, automobile, chemical, fertilizer, FMCG, and building products industries. He also has worked as an SAP integration manager and an SAP project manager. He has been proactively involved in a business development and solution architect role for seven years. He is the author of Production Planning and Control with SAP ERP, it's filled with in-depth infomation on discrete, process, and repetitive manufacturing types. His profile on LinkedIn is at You may follow Jawad on Twitter @jawadahl. Currently, he is associated with AbacusConsulting as Head of SAP Delivery.

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