DRBFM (Design Review Based on Failure Mode)

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Design Review Based on Failure Mode (DRBFM): this article provides a practical explanation of Design Review Based on Failure Mode (DRBFM), developed by Tatsuhiko Yoshimura. Next to what it is (meaning), highlights this article also the concepts within DRBFM, the reason why you should use it and the steps to get started. After reading, you will understand the basics of this quality management tool. Enjoy reading!

What is Design Review Based on Failure Mode (DRBFM)? The Meaning

Design Review Based on Failure Mode was created by Tatsuhiko Yoshimura, (Toyota).

It was intended to systematically analyse design changes and identify risks and undesired effects in advance. The goal is understanding the design alterations.

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Tatsuhiko Yoshimura is a quality expert and professor at Kyushu University in Japan. Yoshimura knew that design problems would occur when changes were made without an appropriate level of supporting documentation.

With the philosophy of preventive measures (Mizenboushi), he created his own DRBFM philosophy. Since then, he has introduced the theory behind Design Review Based on Failure Mode at many companies.

Tatsuhiko Yoshimura believes that companies that implement Design review based on failure mode will be better for it.

In addition, he feels that the implementation of DRBFM requires discipline and commitment from everyone to add value for the customer. That’s because that way, technical functional requirements and customer expectations are met.

The philosophy of Design Review Based on Failure Mode is about three concepts:

  • Good design: reliable designs that contribute to customer satisfaction
  • Good discussion: evaluation of the current design based on ‘good design’
  • Good design evaluation: problem solving and discussion

DRBFM is now a certified documented SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers)process and has also been certified by the AIAG (Automotive Industry Action Group).

SAE J2886 DRBFM recommended practice was published in 2013, and the AIAG DRBFM reference guide was published in September of 2014. Bill Haughey chairs both organisations to ensure a consistent application of the DRBFM process in both documents.

Concepts within DRBFM

Good design

According to Yoshimura the basis for reliability is not changing the design. He believes that when the design does change, it should be done in small steps.

Disruption of a design is caused by the discontinuity of implementing changes that affect the interfaces between parts and interactions between systems.

The point of that is that a design shouldn’t be changed in two ways simultaneously, as too many changes can quickly lead to disruptions. These will occur faster than can be detected. The key to successful changes is to make them visible.

Good discussion: FMEA vs DRBFM

In discussions, we should focus on the proposed changes to a design. If a proven strong design is applied to future products, the risk of failure is low. However, if changes are made to the existing design, the risk of failure increases.

Yoshimura advises individuals to understand the changes instead of trivialising them. In addition, he also recommends that validation tests could help identify design flaws. On the other hand, he also states that good discussions about provisional design evaluations can have the same effect. Here, Yoshimura refers to Design review based on failure mode.

The analysis for DRBFM is modelled after a link between good design evaluation and FMEA.

An extensive, properly carried out FMEA can be considered one of the requirements for a Design review based on failure mode. It is not an FMEA however, since the focus is on changes and interfaces.

Design review based on failure mode is implemented based on the newness of changes on every level (design, process, supplier, etc.).

The purpose of DRBFM is to make these changes visible by discussing them extensively, as well any potential worry about mistakes that might occur; anything that could affect quality, costs, or supply.

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Good dissection

The third part is about the goal of a good design evaluation being the analysis of the validation test results, bringing to light any product weaknesses. The analysis includes the application of another Gd3 concept, Design Review Based on Test Results (DRBTR). When using DRBTR, we have to take into account the product test before, during, and after completion whenever possible.

  • DRBTR requires the validation (test) engineer to lead the assessment of a DRBTR evaluation, in order to analyse the tested part and find imminent problems (test errors are clear).
  • DRBTR encourages the designer and test engineer to discuss potential issues (observations) or weaknesses in a cross-functional and multiperspective approach and to share this information.
  • DRBTR lets the designer observe real test pieces and discuss test results in open discussions, such as design reviews.

Why Design Review Based on Failure Mode (DRBFM)?

Design Review Based on Failure Mode is a cross-functional, disciplined process that’s used to evaluate proposed design changes. The model consists of three components:

  • Resolving problems: a disciplined method that’s used to resolve complex issues
  • Preventing repetition: the use of a collection of processes within a system that has been designed to prevent repetition regarding the problem-solving method
  • Proactive prevention: a process to find hidden issues in new or altered designs

In addition to reducing design-related issues, companies will benefit from improved brand imaging, lower product costs, and improved timing for product development.

Other advantages include better employee morale and increased work satisfaction.

Getting started with DRBFM

The systematic approach is used to create an extensive procedure that is proactive and ensures an overall idea of the product hierarchy.

This offers insight to ensure that all communication levels are addressed. These interactions not only help the designer, but the full system communication.

The following steps illustrate the process that mainly applies to deliberate design changes. It can also be used for new designs when integrated with tools like FMEA and FTA.

When you start an FMEA, you should focus on the components affected by the ‘deliberate change’. The Design review based on failure mode should be started based on prototype drawings in order to increase the effectiveness of the process.

  • Select the team based on the system and interaction (based on design change)
  • Take a representation of the system, subsystems, and components
  • Visualise the differences between the changes based on the good design
  • The scope of the change should be identified

As most businesses waste their time identifying problems without resolving them, it’s important that the team remains within the defined scope. Facilitation can help to manage the team’s focus and ensure that the team understands what can have a negative impact on proven function or functions within the good design.

  • If the content of the change isn’t supported by the designer, the process suffers
  • The FMEA process is used to determine details based on the functions that are affected by the deliberate change
  • Information is then transferred from the FMEA to the columns on the left of the Design review based on failure mode work sheet
  • All participants should participate from item # 1
  • The discussion starts on the right side of the Design review based on failure mode work sheet
  • Interactions between components will correspond to interactions between subsystems and the system. This means that everything that isn’t understood about a change of the function or component will affect functions on a higher level.

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Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Do you recognise the explanation of DRBFM / design review based on failure mode, or do you have anything to add to this explanation? In which scenarios do you think this philosophy would be effective? What do you believe are success factors that contribute to the practical application of this theory?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. AIAG (2014) CQI-24 : Design Review Based on Failure Modes (DRBFM Reference Guide), 1st Edition.
  2. Carslon, C.S. (2012) Effective FMEAs Achieving Safe, Reliable, and Economical Products and Processes using Failure Mode and Effects Analysis.
  3. Haughey, B. (2012) Design Review Based on Failure Modes (DRBFM) and Design Review Based on Test Results (DRBTR), Process Guidebook.
  4. Tailony, R. (2020). Design Review Based on Failure Mode – Risk Managment, TOYOTA Secret Weapon to Quality and Durability. Retrieved 01/11/2024 from Udemy.

How to cite this article:
Sari, J. (2019). DRBFM (Design Review Based on Failure Mode). Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/quality-management/design-review-based-on-failure-mode-drbfm/

Published on: 09/16/2019 | Last update: 01/11/2024

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Jessie Sari
Article by:

Jessie Sari

Jessie Sari is a content writer at ToolsHero. Jessie studies Trade Management in Asia at the Hogeschool van Rotterdam. As part of her education, she focuses on building fundamental skills, including marketing, importing and exporting products and services in Asia, economy, finance, management, consultancy and project management.


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