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FMEA

Blog posts and articles about the quality tool known as Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, or FMEA.

Before I joined Minitab, I worked for many years in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences as a writer and editor. I frequently wrote about food science and particularly food safety, as I regularly needed to report on the research being conducted by Penn State's food safety experts, and also edited course materials and bulletins for professionals and consumers about ensuring they had safe... Continue Reading
In previous posts, I discussed the results of a recycling project done by Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology last spring. (If you’re playing catch up, you can read Part I and Part II.) The students did an awesome job reducing the amount of recycling that was thrown into the normal trash cans across all of the institution’s academic buildings. At the end of the spring... Continue Reading

7 Deadly Statistical Sins Even the Experts Make

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I didn’t expect that our family trip to Florida would end with me driving a plane load of passengers nearly 200 miles to their homes, but it did. Yes, it was a long and strange journey home. A journey that started in the tropical warmth of southern Florida and ended the next morning in central Pennsylvania, which felt like the arctic wastelands thanks to the dreaded polar vortex. During this... Continue Reading
To promote ethical and moral responsibility in shaping its graduates, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology created a sustainability initiative to reduce its own environmental footprint. As part of that team's efforts, Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman conducted a project to reduce food waste at the campus dining center. We got the opportunity to learn more about the project by talking with Dr. Diane... Continue Reading
Normally, I tell you about ways to practice with Minitab Statistical Software so that you can boost your confidence with statistical analysis. But over the last few days in my house, we’ve been planning some activities for the family. That planning has given me a chance to have some fun with Quality Companion. Quality Companion is a substantial piece of software: everything that you need to manage... Continue Reading
Due to recent comments on this blog post (scroll down to view the comments section), I want to acknowledge that the definition of Lean in this post is incomplete. The goal of this post wasn't to offer definitions of Lean, Six Sigma, or any other methodology, but was rather to state that the focus of improvement efforts should be on using all the available tools, whether those be Lean or Six Sigma... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger For want of a nail the shoe was lost,For want of a shoe the horse was lost,For want of a horse the rider was lostFor want of a rider the battle was lostFor want of a battle the kingdom was lostAnd all for the want of a horseshoe nail. (Lowe, 1980, 50) According to the old nursery rhyme, "For Want of a Nail," an entire kingdom was lost because of the lack of one... Continue Reading
As I sat down to examine Cost of Quality (COQ) at Minitab, I flashed back to my CQE exam almost 20 years ago. I can still vividly remember staring down at a particularly difficult Cost of Quality question and wondering why I didn’t just follow my 4th-grade career assessment and become a novelist.   Mental note: a study of the correlation between 4th grade career assessments and actual career... Continue Reading
In the past couple of years, I've noticed a new acronym popping up across the Web. In case you've not yet encountered it, "FML" typically appears in social media updates about something gone awry.  As in, "The cat ate my homework. FML!"  Or, "My production line just broke down, and now the company is going to be short on a major order. FML!"  This acronym reminds me of an abbreviation used in... Continue Reading
I’m relatively new to the world of quality improvement and the various terms and acronyms that are often thrown about in writing and conversation. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with jargon like LSS, GR&R, MSA, MBB, SIPOC, FMEA, kaizen, kanban, poka yoke, and others flying around when you’re starting a project. Define Your Problem First If you’re new to the discipline, I’ve found that it helps... Continue Reading
Every so often I get to interview someone who applies quality methodology in ways I wouldn't have imagined before I began working at Minitab. For instance, I spoke with the quality manager for a world-renowned medical center not long ago. This facility is consistently included in U.S. News and World Report's list of America’s Best Hospitals, but even the best hospitals occasionally have “sentinel ... Continue Reading
When I first started learning about Lean Six Sigma and familiarizing myself with all the different terminology and methodologies, I was a little overwhelmed and confused by all the acronyms. FMEA, C&E Matrix, Gage R&R, SIPOC, DMAIC…the list goes on and on! However, I really got tripped up by the similar-sounding acronyms of DMAIC, DMADV, and DFSS. These acronyms stand for the most common Lean Six... Continue Reading
Balancing Cost, Quality and Delivery Let's talk about risk-based testing. I should start by saying that this is a sensitive subject. It’s why a career in quality is not for the faint of heart. The fact is that cost, quality and delivery are at constant odds in every industry, including software. Quality professionals play a key role in this balancing act. And, whenever things become "unbalanced,"... Continue Reading