Template for managing risks

Creating Risk Management Matrix Templates & Checklists

A famous Greek aphorism—ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΑΥΤΟΝ—translates to "know thyself," and it is an essential tenet for understanding your strengths, as well as your weaknesses. Acknowledging failure, it turns out, is a critical step in creating optimal, successful solutions.

When developing PCBAs, many common failure modes can befall your boards during manufacturing or operation. Avoiding these failures, however, is not simply a problem for your CM; you should consider how to avoid failure before spinning your board. The process of identifying, classifying and controlling potential faults during design—often to improve reliability—is referred to as failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). Similarly, process failure mode and effects analysis (PFMEA) evaluates a more extensive set of steps or stages.

To ensure that PFMEA and FMEA implementations include essential elements, a risk management matrix template should be employed.

What Is a Risk Management Matrix Template?

Good risk management is comprehensive, yet it includes well-targeted specific failures. For each failure under evaluation, a FMEA algorithm template, similar to the following, should serve as a guide.

FMEA Template Steps

  • Put together a team that includes everyone involved in the process.
  • Define and list all failure modes and the effects they have on the process.
  • Rank failures according to the severity of their impact or effects.
  • List a set of possible causes for the failures.
  • Rank causes according to the likelihood of their occurrence.
  • Determine and list actions or controls to be taken if a fault occurs.
  • Calculate the risk priority number (RPN = Severity x Occurrence x Rank) for all faults.
  • For high probability RPNs, which are faults that will necessitate the stoppage or shutdown of operations, mandate that action be taken. For all other occurrences, institute the control as defined.
  • Recalculate RPNs after each fault occurrence to improve the overall risk management plan.

To be most effective, this FMEA algorithm is best represented as a matrix. To better understand a risk management matrix template, a few definitions may be useful.

Risk management defines a process that intends to identify risks, assess their severity, and apply mitigation controls to reduce their impact on a process or operation. Continual monitoring and event analysis are required to enable modifications that minimize the probability of future failure.
A risk management plan documents the implementation of an enacted risk management strategy, such as FMEA or PFMEA. This plan often includes a risk management matrix.
A risk management matrix is a visual tool that aids in the assessment of fault events. Typically, probability or likelihood categories, along with severity or impact classifications, are included.

As indicated above, a risk management matrix is used to assist a risk manager in assessing a contingency due to an identified risk. A template example is shown here:

Risk Assessment Matrix Template

As illustrated above, a risk management matrix can be constructed using three essential building blocks: risk occurrence probability, risk impact, and risk mitigation strategy. These elements are assigned a value that can be used to quantify an event. Although color-coding is not required, it does provide an easy way to recognize the association between the various risk management matrix template elements. And while risk matrices can be created for a single risk, a single matrix is more commonly used for multiple risks, like those that may occur as a process progresses through its various stages.

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Incorporating Risk Management Into Your PCBA Development

The most regulated board development processes required for the aerospace, medical devices and automotive industries place a high premium on quality and utilize PCB reliability analysis to ensure that boards meet a high bar for operation, durability and safety. These quality standards often include specific guidelines for instituting risk management. Whether you are building boards for critical industries or other commercial applications, it is prudent to devise and follow a checklist when creating your risk management matrix template.

Checklist for Risk Management Matrix Template Creation

  • Clearly define the event, step, stage or process that is under evaluation
  • Create a list of all risks for which mitigation action may necessary
  • Define the categories for the risk occurrence axis
  • Define the categories for the event impact axis
  • Define the set of controls that can alleviate each impact
  • Utilize a visual means of easily associating severity with each matrix element

By following the checklist above, you will be able to build an effective, easy-to-use matrix to institute your risk management plan and improve the development of your PCBAs.

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Tempo Automation leads the PCBA industry with the fastest turnaround times for high-quality custom board designs. We also strive to maximize the incorporation of your design intent into the built boards by instituting a white box manufacturing strategy and a software-driven digital thread process to identify risks and promote collaboration and transparency.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium Designer or Cadence Allegro user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in other CAD formats and Excel.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you would like more information on how to create and use a risk management matrix template, contact us.

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