Imagine you’re cooking a recipe that has main ingredients and a few optional yet recommended ones. When shopping, you’d make sure that you’ve purchased the main ingredients first, without which the recipe cannot be made. This quick prioritization provides a clear direction and helps with your decision-making.
The moral of this intro and the link to manufacturing – we need to prioritize well in order to take the best decisions. When assessing risk, assigning priority is that much more important. You want to be in control, aware of what can go wrong, and of the impact on your operation. And, like in our simplified example, you want to know what should go on top of your to-do list. A Risk Priority Number (RPN) helps exactly with that. It assigns priority objectively which aids understanding and consequently helps teams to take action.
Risk Priority Number (RPN): why does it matter?
The Risk Priority Number (RPN) is a critical step in Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) or risk-based quality management. It quantifies risk into a single number by assessing severity (how bad is the outcome), frequency (how often will it happen) and occurrence (how likely are you to detect the problem before it becomes one you cannot afford).
Simply put, calculating the RPN provides manufacturers with a priority scale. This helps them to quickly identify which risks require immediate attention and which ones can wait until later.
In AlisQI, customers can easily add the Risk Priority Number to view as part of their analysis sets. This allows them to visualize data and take better decisions moving forward. In addition, specifications and alarms can be assigned to the calculated risk factor to upscale when needed.
The Right Tool for the Problem
While the value of an RPN cannot be discounted, understanding how best to capture the information can be a bit complicated. Many organizations settle on spreadsheets as a starting point, but as companies become more sophisticated in their approach to risk management, the need for a more comprehensive solution arises.
This is where specialized software comes into the equation. With AlisQI, manufacturers analyze risk data, gain visibility, and easily assign priority, computing the RPN with the expression engine. This allows them to quickly prioritize their efforts when making process improvements or changes to effectively reduce risk and ensure reliable products.
And it doesn’t end with the RPN. To ensure improvement, we connect this to the CAPA list to keep track of the countermeasures. We also assign owners and use workflows for process management. This way, you’ll eliminate and counter the risk you cannot afford and focus on what truly matters.