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Product Life Cycle Management

Product Life Cycle Management

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Published by: Dennis Onchieku Onyando on Mar 07, 2013
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10/09/2013

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Nowadays customers are placing increased demands on companies for cheap high quality and
reliable products. As products become more and more complex, quality and reliability is getting
very hard to be maintained by manufacturers. In previous years reliability and quality was achieved
through extensive testing at the end of the product development process. The challenge was to
design reliable and quality products from the beginning of product development and in particular at
the early stages of product idea selection and product concept development.

NPD Stage 2: Idea Screening.

39

FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis), is used by many companies as their central pillar
of their design process, since it addresses in a big way the challenge mentioned above. FMEA can
provide a structured approach to the analysis of route causes of product failure, the estimation of
the severity of impact to the product, and the effectiveness of strategies for prevention. The output
of the analysis is the generation of action plans to prevent, detect or reduce the impact of potential
modes of product failure. When this analysis is conducted in the second Level of NPD i.e. the idea
screening - product concept development, for each generated idea, the selection of the best idea that
can result in a reliable and quality product can be achieved.

FMEA was firstly developed by the US military in the 1940's as a tool to improve the reliability of
military equipment. It was quickly adopted by the aerospace industry and the automotive industry
in the 70's. The analysis can be applied to address several issues such as organizational issues,
strategy issues, product design issues, production processes and individual product components.

FMEA cannot only be used in the early stages of product development. During the design and
product development processes updates are made to the product and its components. These changes
can introduce new failure modes and it is therefore critical to review some or all of the FMEA
analysis results by conducting an update to the analysis data.

Source: America Society for Quality, FMEA, On-line http://www.asq.org/learn-about-
quality/process-analysis-tools/overview/fmea.html

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