FMEA CornerFMEA Corner

The FMEA Corner is a recurring feature in ReliaSoft's Reliability HotWire eMagazine that is authored by Carl S. Carlson, a noted expert in the field of FMEAs and facilitation. In each monthly issue, Carl addresses a different FMEA theme (based on his book Effective FMEAs) and also answers your questions.

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As part of ReliaSoft's continuing commitment to empowering the reliability engineer, FMEA Corner aims to communicate and promote best practice analysis methods so that more organizations can experience the benefits of implementing truly effective FMEAs. Please submit your feedback and questions today to to find out something you have always wanted to know about FMEAs.

Archive of Past Issues

Issue 202, December 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Is there a better way than RPN?
Issue 201, November 2017
  • FMEA Corner: How to Get Better Results with FMEAs, in Less Time
Issue 200, October 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Legal Guidelines for FMEAs
Issue 199, September 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Pugh Analysis (Decision Matrix Method)
Issue 198, August 2017
  • FMEA Corner: To Scribe or Not to Scribe
Issue 197, July 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Key Process Characteristics
Issue 196, June 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Key Product Characteristics
Issue 195, May 2017
  • FMEA Corner: How to Manage Conflict in FMEAs
Issue 194, April 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Brainstorming
Issue 193, March 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Achieving Balanced Participation in FMEA Meetings
Issue 192, February 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Essential FMEA Facilitation Skills
Issue 191, January 2017
  • FMEA Corner: Decomposing System Functions to Lower Levels
Issue 190, December 2016
  • FMEA Corner: FMEA and Robust Design
Issue 189, November 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Hazard Analysis
Issue 188, October 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Software FMEA
Issue 187, September 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Using "Mode of Operation" in FMEA Applications
Issue 186, August 2016
  • FMEA Corner: What is Unique About a System FMEA?
Issue 185, July 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Can You Anticipate Everything?
Issue 184, June 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Interface Matrix
Issue 183, May 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Functional Block Diagrams
Issue 182, April 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Parameter Diagrams (P-Diagrams)
Issue 181, March 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Using FMEA Quality Objectives to Audit FMEAs
Issue 180, February 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Common FMEA Mistakes
Issue 179, January 2016
  • FMEA Corner: Using Process FMEAs to Improve Process Control Plans
Issue 178, December 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Using Design FMEAs to improve Design Verification Plans
Issue 177, November 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Discussing the Controversial Issue of FMEA Pre-population
Issue 176, October 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Application Tips - Begin with Concerns
Issue 175, September 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Common Facilitation Problems
Issue 174, August 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Action Strategies to Reduce Detection Risk
Issue 173, July 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Action Strategies to Reduce Occurrence Risk
Issue 172, June 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Action Strategies to Reduce Severity Risk
Issue 171, May 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Five Whys
Issue 170, April 2015
  • FMEA Corner: The Use of Failure Mechanisms in FMEA
Issue 169, March 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Function Types
Issue 168, February 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Assembling the Correct FMEA Team
Issue 167, January 2015
  • FMEA Corner: Gathering Information
Issue 166, December 2014
  • FMEA Corner: FMEA Ground Rules and Assumptions
Issue 165, November 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Making the FMEA Scope Visible
Issue 164, October 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Determining the Scope of the FMEA
Issue 163, September 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Preliminary Risk Assessment
Issue 162, August 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Philosophy of Effective FMEAs
Issue 161, July 2014
  • FMEA Corner: RPN
Issue 160, June 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Detection
Issue 159, May 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Occurrence
Issue 158, April 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Severity Risk
Issue 157, March 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Recommended Actions
Issue 156, February 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Controls
Issue 155, January 2014
  • FMEA Corner: Causes
Issue 154, December 2013
  • FMEA Corner: Effects
Issue 153, November 2013
  • FMEA Corner: Failure Modes
Issue 152, October 2013
  • FMEA Corner: Functions

About the Author

Carl S. CarlsonCarl S. Carlson is a consultant and instructor in the areas of FMEA, reliability program planning and other reliability engineering disciplines. He has 35 years of experience in reliability testing, engineering and management positions, and is currently supporting clients from a wide variety of industries, including clients of HBM Prenscia. Previously, he worked at General Motors, most recently senior manager for the Advanced Reliability Group. His responsibilities included FMEAs for North American operations, developing and implementing advanced reliability methods and managing teams of reliability engineers. Previous to General Motors, he worked as a Research and Development Engineer for Litton Systems, Inertial Navigation Division. Mr. Carlson co-chaired the cross-industry team that developed the commercial FMEA standard (SAE J1739, 2002 version), participated in the development of SAE JA 1000/1 Reliability Program Standard Implementation Guide, served for five years as Vice Chair for the SAE's G-11 Reliability Division and was a four-year member of the Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS) Advisory Board. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and completed the 2-course Reliability Engineering sequence from the University of Maryland's Masters in Reliability Engineering program. He is a Senior Member of ASQ and a Certified Reliability Engineer.

Effective FMEAsSelected material for FMEA Corner articles is excerpted from the book Effective FMEAs, published by John Wiley & Sons, ©2012. Information about the book Effective FMEAs, along with useful FMEA aids, links and checklists can be found on Carl Carlson can be reached at