Product failures cannot be avoided, so plan for it.

Author of Article courtesy by Quentin Fourrier.

It is a common perception that a product that fail is a bad product. But can you think of a product that has never failed? Indeed, your car, your phone, your coffee machine and even your clothes will fail at some point. Are they bad products? Not really, they are just product that have been designed to last without major failure until they become obsolete. This is not done by luck but rather by properly assessing and planning for the inevitable failures the product will face in its lifespan.

Take your car for example, there are literally thousands of potential failures waiting to happen. However, during its development, every single failure the engineers could foresee or that have been detected during various tests have been used to build a database that establish all potential failures, their causes and their solutions so that it won’t disturb the end customer, you. This database is not just created for your car model but is instead a general knowledge that grow and is used with every single new model the manufacturer is creating.

Whether it is on the product’s design itself or the processes to make it, there will be a lot of potential failures. So rather than reacting to it you should take a proactive approach to prevent, detect and mitigate those failures. To do so, there are a handful of methods, but one that is commonly used is called Failure Modes Effects and Analysis (FMEA). Using this method will not only help you build this failure database, but more importantly help you identify the highest risks and establishes the right solution, making your product and process more robust and less likely to fail.