Practical Problem Solving 8D Problem solving and FMEA

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As Manufacturing Growth Director, Steve helps businesses to compete, innovate and grow providing advice and support on new product development, intellectual property protection and production process optimisation. His broad career includes MD of £75M multi-site, European medium volume manufacturing company, Director of global sourcing in a $12B US corporation, MD of an off-shore engineering company in India and design and engineering leadership in sectors spanning aircraft to lawn-mowers. He has a PhD and MSc in Aerospace Vehicle Design, Cranfield, BSc Aircraft Engineering, Salford and is a Six Sigma Green Belt.

A recession as deep and all-encompassing as the one that we have just experienced creates a need for fire-fighting, doing everything that you can to survive, provide jobs and remain profitable.  The businesses that have survived are looking around and understanding how they can improve their own processes and systems.

At EEF, we have seen a 200% increase in demand for practical problems solving training.  This demand has been driven by firms eyeing new markets and areas for growth, as well as searching for new ways of adding value to their customers, anticipating problems and building long-term business relationships. 

The companies looking for this training are split evenly between two processes – the 8D Method and Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA).  Neither 8D nor FMEA are better than the other – they are both effective methods of analysing and preventing failures.  Of the two, FMEA is perhaps the more proactive technique and can be applied to both product development and processes.  8D uses deduction and problem solving to steadily bring about a solution to any given problem. 

The table below compares the two techniques.

Practical problem-solving: 8D v FMEA:

8D (8 disciplines) FMEA
Establish the relevant multi-disciplinary team Establish every way a product and process can fail
Correctly define the problem Establish what is the effect of that failure and its severity
Develop a plan Establish what is the cause of the failure and its chance of occurrence
Develop and implement immediate containment actions Establish how easy it is to detect the failure
Determine the root cause of the problem What prioritised actions can be taken to minimise the failure
Choose the permanent solution to the problem Mistake proofing techniques.
Implement the solution

The two techniques work together very well.  FMEA failure modes are much the same as the problem statement or description used in 8D and FMEA ‘Causes’ are the equivalent of ‘Potential Causes’ in 8D

It’s important that you learn how to fit different processes together seamlessly, making the most of the natural links between problem solving and lean, six sigma and new product development process improvements. As your business starts to grow and you need to quickly respond to your customer’s needs, this type of ‘joined up thinking’ could be enough to set your company apart from the competition.

EEF Training offer a range of problem solving training courses, including an 8D Training course and a Basic FMEA training course through our dedicated training centres across the UK as well as directly in-house.

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Manufacturing Growth Director

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