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FMECA Example 2: Operational Tactics Review Process

Like most organizations, police agencies have a number of predetermined processes that they use regularly to achieve their objectives. Also like most organizations, police agencies need to review their processes periodically to make sure they are still effective. This might occur as part of a regular review cycle, or may be brought about due to the manifestation of a risk that the process was not able to effectively deal with. In this example, we consider the process that an agency uses to deploy its uniformed patrol officers in a geographic area. Many North American police agencies deploy their uniformed officers based on the number of calls for service located in a geographic space (either a neighborhood or a collection of neighborhoods), and use metrics such as the time taken to respond to a call to define how many officers they need to meet these predetermined standards.

Step 1: Identify Failure Modes

For our patrol deployment example, some of the potential failure modes we might see are identified in the second column of Exhibit 21.5.

Exhibit 21.4 Failure Mode, Effects, and Criticality Analysis – Example 1

Part: Heat transfer unit

Function: Transfer of heat to milk products in order to achieve pasteurization

Item

Failure Mode

Local Effect

System Effect

Potential Cause

Current Control

O

S

D

RPN

Recommended Action

1

Heating water too cold

Plates do not get hot enough

Pasteurization is not achieved

Heating unit temperature controls inoperable

Local

temperature

gauge,

monitored

hourly

6

6

5

180

Install centrally monitored temperature gauge with low temperature alarm

2

Heating water too hot

Plates get too hot

Milk is spoiled when protein is denatured

Heating unit temperature controls inoperable

Local

temperature

gauge,

monitored

hourly

6

8

5

240

Install centrally monitored temperature gauge with high temperature alarm

3

No heating water flow

Plates do not heat at all

Pasteurization is not achieved

Water pump is inoperable

Water pressure gauge mounted to pump

4

6

5

120

Install low flow alarm on inlet pipe from pump to heating unit

4

Heating water in milk flow

Milk flow is contaminated

Milk product has to be dumped

Leak in seals between plates

Physical observation of leakage

3

10

3

90

Institute seal replacement schedule as part of maintenance program

5

Structural

rupture

Loss of milk product and heating water

Milk product is lost/has to be dumped

Water and/or milk overpressurized; heating plates are not strong enough

Plates designed to withstand double normal pressures

2

10

8

160

Install pressure sensors and alarms on milk and heating water inlet pipes

Exhibit 21.5 Failure Modes – Example 2

Process: Patrol deployment model

Function: To provide police response to community calls for service in line with community and agency expectations

Item

Failure Mode

Local Effect

System Effect

Potential Cause

Current Control

O

S

D

RPN

Recommended Action

1

Response too slow

2

Response too fast

3

No response provided

4

Wrong

response

provided

5

Too much

response

provided

Step 2: Identify the Potential Effects

Considering our potential failure modes, we can see that the crux of the issue is going to be matching the expected response (based on community and agency expectations) with the resources required to provide that response. Stepping through our effects analysis, we can identify what the impacts of getting it wrong might look like, as shown in Exhibit 21.6.

Step 3: Identify the Criticality of the Failure

Using the same approach as was outlined in the first example, we need to consider what existing controls we already have in place, as well as:

• The likelihood of occurrence (O) of the effect

• The severity (S) of the effect if it were to occur

• The probability of detection (D) – how likely we are to know that the effect has occurred

To score these elements (and ultimately develop our RPN) we may be able to use existing data sources to determine how often each of the failure modes has occurred in the past. Police agencies tend to keep a range of detailed records on what calls they have dispatched their officers to attend, as well as the time it took for them to arrive and deal with the situation. Where more quantitative data of this type is available, it may be possible to determine very accurately what each level of our O, S, and D scales represents. By applying a consistent approach of this type, it is likely that more confidence would be placed on the results by key decision makers.

For our patrol response example, we might make an assessment based on our failure modes and effects from the first two steps, as shown in Exhibit 21.7.

In this case, we can see how a process can be examined using the FMECA technique, with this analysis used to identify not only how it might perform compared to expectations, but also how any modes of failure errors could be reduced or corrected. Coupling this approach with a technique such as six sigma can be used to drive down the level of errors, as well as increase the overall performance of the process or system.

 
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