FMEA Facilitator: The Secret Sauce of an FMEA Workshop
In our last blog post, we talked about 4 essential factors for a successful FMEA process. In this post, we will discuss one of the factors – have a skilled FMEA facilitator – in detail. Under the facilitator’s guidance, the team and workshop is more likely to deliver real value adding in the FMEA processes.
Why does an FMEA facilitator matter in an FMEA workshop? What are the benefits this role can bring? How can we define a good FMEA facilitator and what is the core skill set an FMEA facilitator needs to show his/her competence? Keep reading to find out the answers.
What is an FMEA Facilitator?
An FMEA facilitator is a helper and an enabler whose goal is to support the FMEA team, so collectively they can perform with excellence. They provide structure to all interactions, allowing the team to function effectively and make high-quality decisions.
The Importance of an FMEA Facilitator
Benefit 1: Maximise the value of information in data systems
When starting an FMEA workshop, most businesses have a wealth of valuable information at their disposal, but they fail to take full advantage of it. Some companies have difficulty identifying and extracting truly valuable information from their data system, while others may not fully realise what to do with the information they’ve worked so hard to unlock.
This is where the art of facilitation comes into play.
Benefit 2: Maximise the value of each member in the FMEA team
FMEA is a cross-functional team activity.
It needs subject matter experts from various disciplines, such as design, manufacturing, reliability, maintenance, purchasing, sales, marketing, or customer service etc. Each expert contributes their expertise as a member of the FMEA team. Their knowledge of their part in the business is generally deep, and it’s this knowledge that ultimately defines the success of the outcome of an FMEA project.
However, without a competent facilitator, the team will usually struggle to achieve its potential within an efficient timeframe. An FMEA facilitator helps to ensure balanced participation in the meeting, supporting team members to do their best thinking and ultimately achieving synergy.
How to Identify a Good FMEA Facilitator?
An FMEA workshop is a gathering of minds. Each individual in the room should be carefully selected based on two fundamental criteria:
- they must be willing to contribute knowledge from within their area of expertise, and
- they must have a keen interest in resolving whatever challenges the business has chosen to place in front of them.
The choice of facilitator must also be made based on these criteria.
Competent facilitators don’t need to be subject matter experts in the plant or system or industry in which the project is being conducted. They should however be well-versed in the fundamentals and procedures of FMEA and skill in facilitation, which mainly encompasses interpersonal skills and leadership skills.
Core Skill Set Required for an FMEA Facilitator
A competent FMEA facilitator generally needs to possess the following core skill set:
- A deep theoretical and practical understanding of FMEA fundamentals;
- Sharp analytical skills to enable efficient and effective workshop preparation. For example, determining the scope and timing of the FMEA workshop, preparing required documents or software for the meeting;
- The ability to suppress their own opinions and biases – not take things personally;
- The ability to read people in order to understand how best to extract their expertise;
- The ability to listen actively and acknowledge the value that each team member contributes;
- The ability to rephrase another person’s ideas and bring the whole team to a common understanding;
- The ability to ensure balanced input from all team members;
- The ability to ‘stick to the script’ without creating unease or conflict;
- The ability to control the room and keep everyone focused on the task at hand and the meeting objectives.
As you can probably appreciate this specific combination of skills is not common within today’s industrial landscape. However, these skills can be taught and exercised in FMEA facilitation training. Businesses are for more likely to achieve real return on their investment in time and effort if they conduct FMEA projects under the guidance of an experienced and competent FMEA facilitator.
FMEA Related Resources:
- FMEA / FMECA: The Definitive Guide (2020)
- FMEA: Adding Value to Maintenance Plan Optimisation
- The Quick Guide to Perform an FMEA Process [one-page infographic]
- 4 Essential Factors You Must Consider for a Successful FMEA
FMEA Software: ReliaSoft XFMEA software – facilitate your FMEA team’s work
FMEA Case Study: Optimising Fixed Plant Maintenance Strategy for a Mining Company
Document: A simplified FMEA template