In times in which products are getting more and more complex and their development cycles are getting shorter and shorter, early error prevention by FMEA gains steady importance. That is applicable everywhere, but especially in the Aerospace industry, for medical products and in the Automobile industry. FMEA anticipates potential errors as tool and as process and helps in preventing these. "That is the only way of securing series start-ups systematically and with maximum reliability", says Winfried Dietz, Managing Director, Dietz Consultants (DC), which advises companies across the world on Failure Mode and Effect Analysis and hosts the FMEA forum in Osnabrück once a year.
The regular meeting of the European FMEA experts took place at the end of February, already its 13th meeting. With a never before attained 170 participants, including FMEA persons-in-charge and experts from Germany and many countries in Europe, it underlines its role as the most important platform for the exchange of experience between users and experts.
In its unique way, the FMEA forum offers the experts for this tool and the process an open communication platform, on which they can communicate, discuss new developments and learn from each other. With this approach, the FMEA forum has continued to grow step by step in recent years and has become international. Meanwhile, Dietz Consultants has been able to establish a comparable event in Shanghai and another one in Detroit is on its way. As per the concept proven in Osnabrück, risk managers from across the world are meeting there to exchange methodical knowledge on failure prediction and error prevention as partners.
Wide acceptance by participants through high technical competence of the speakers
One look at the list of participants and the agenda confirms the high significance of the FMEA forum in Osnabrück just like the high technical competence of the lecturers. Participants included QM managers, developers, technicians/engineers and FMEA persons-in-charge of many international groups, automotive suppliers and leading FMEA software companies like APIS Informationstechnologien GmbH, Babtec Informationssysteme GmbH, Böhme & Weihs Systemtechnik GmbH & Co. KG, EnCo Software GmbH, iqs Software GmbH and PLATO AG including experts from different industries and faculties. The lecturers/speakers included Hans-Joachim Pfeufer, who spoke as the project manager from the VDA working group on "FMEA harmonisation VDA and AIAG". Linda Armbruster from ETH Zürich gave a lecture on "Design Thinking: Collaborative creativity and risk management in conflict". The topic of the lecture by Dr. Alexander Schloske from the Frauenhofer Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA was "Assessment of the harmonised description of methods of AIAG and VDA". Wolfgang Hinrichs from Daimler AG gave a lecture on "FMEA-MSR". Tilman Tillmann of VDA QMC China spoke about the "Challenges in FMEA implementation in China and the chance to improve through new FMEA standards". Over and above that, there were also lectures, discussion as well as presentations by partners and software companies.
FMEA is the central component for future, agile product development
A central aspect, which was discussed by the experts through numerous specialist lectures, was that as per the necessary innovations in the area of FMEA, to fulfil the increasing claims of industry. "Products and innovations are developed globally now, in global development teams. Thus, we are required globally and the forum reflects this internationality", says Dietz, who opened the two-day FMEA forum with his lecture on the question, how far does risk management and FMEA hinder or promote innovation. A result: With respect to the increasingly agile product development, FMEA lends the necessary security and stability to the project in a very early state, from which everybody profits in the end, from the manufacturer to the customer, across all steps of the value chain.
"FMEA-Coaching Slam" as learning a different mode
In the 13th edition, FMEA-Coaching Slam was part of the agenda for the first time. Moderated by Ralf Wohlleben, Porsche Engineering Services, the three experts Dr. Alexander Schloske (Frauenhofer IPA), Martin Werdich (FMEAplus Akademie GmbH) and Winfried Dietz rose to the challenge of spontaneously putting in a nutshell, three central aspects, and that too in just three minutes. As in Poetry Slam, creativity was monitored and also the ability to present your ideas with enthusiasm. "The other mode of learning", was in the programme for this agenda item and that hit it. The three FMEA experts each presented in their own individual style and yet always differently, what it takes for System-FMEA, Constructions-FMEA and Process-FMEA. The experts proved that FMEA can also entertain quite well.
In their seminar evaluations, the participants praised, among other things, the high specialist competence of the lecturers, the informal atmosphere, the topicality of the topics and the relevance of the lectures for their daily work in product development and production. Jürgen Eilers (Apis Informationstechnologien GmbH) remarked that there was an increased level of professionalisation and thanked the team, who had organised the event. For Carsten Harre HARTING Electronics GmbH, "the FMEA forum offered simply the perfect platform for interacting and networking for quality representatives and FMEA persons-in-charge from diverse fields". All of this makes the FMEA forum a compulsory event for many of them, in which incidentally even a joint FMEA-free evening programme must not be missed. Together, it drew more than 170 participants in small groups and accompanied by medieval night guards through the historic old town of Osnabrück.