In the recent past, the automotive industry has experienced an increase in competition. In order to provide customers with quality products and services, manufacturing companies have been forced to adopt effective models. For instance, companies are being forced to re-design their product development process to identify and control the noise factor limits, and then come up with appropriate countermeasures. By distancing products from failure modes, companies can then be able to improve reliability. The importance of using failure mode avoidance (FMA) methodologies is supported by many researchers. This paper examines the application of this concept within the automotive and manufacturing industries.
In the modern economy, it has become imperative to produce quality products that are appealing to customers. With this in mind, car manufacturers constantly improve their production processes and their designs. The concept is very suitable in the face of growing recall cases, and a perfect example can be borrowed from the Toyota Company. In 2013, the company recalled 1.3 million vehicles due to airbag defects, and this exercise is expected to cost the company over $55 billion. In 2010, the company suffered a similar problem occasioned by the pedal entrapment malfunction. Since then, the company has conducted other recalls, and Ahsen, (2008) suggests that such incidences could have been avoided by implementing the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis programs. The FMA approach helps the manufacturers to identify high-risk characteristics and develop appropriate measures to avoid potential failures. The current rules and regulations require the automotive industry to use multidisciplinary teams to identify failures and defects. The technical team is required to identify the following three types of failure modes: materials, processes, and costs. The concept of failure mode avoidance was first used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA) group in the 1960sand was later adopted by the Ford Motor Company in the 1980s. Since then, the concept has been extended to the healthcare industry. In this sector, the concept is being employed to reduce the number of medication errors, and evaluate the effects of the failure modes. The next sections examine the application of the concept in the automotive industry.
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