In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, ensuring high reliability is crucial for an expanding range of systems. To improve reliability and maintenance processes, numerous methodologies have been developed over the years. One such methodology we will explore today is FRACAS.

FRACAS, an acronym for Failure Reporting, Analysis, and Corrective Action System, offers valuable insights into effectively managing system failures. Join us as we delve into the meaning behind FRACAS and its process, and learn how to successfully implement it within your organization.


A Failure Reporting, Analysis, and Corrective Action System is a robust and structured framework that organizations utilize to proficiently document, categorize, and evaluate instances of failure. It is pivotal in enabling these organizations to strategically plan and execute appropriate corrective measures in response to these failures. To streamline this process, many organizations implement software solutions specifically designed to support and enhance their FRACAS system.

By leveraging such software, organizations can efficiently manage many failure reports and establish a comprehensive repository that captures the failures encountered and the corresponding corrective actions taken. This comprehensive record is valuable, enabling organizations to analyze past failures based on meticulously recorded information.

Originally developed and deployed by the United States Department of Defense in 1985, the Failure Reporting, Analysis, and Corrective Action System follow a well-defined closed-loop process comprised of the following key stages:

  1. Failure Reporting (FR)

    In this initial step, all instances of failures or faults in a particular system, equipment, or process are formally documented using a standardized form commonly referred to as a failure report or defect report. The failure report serves the purpose of clearly delineating the failed asset, outlining the symptoms of the failure, specifying the testing and operating conditions, and providing the precise time at which the failure occurred.

  2. Analysis (A)

    The analysis phase entails conducting a thorough root cause analysis to ascertain the underlying factors that contributed to the occurrence of the failure. This process aims to pinpoint the fundamental cause(s) responsible for the failure event. By employing effective 5 why root cause analysis techniques, the analysis stage helps illuminate the underlying issues or weaknesses that led to the failure.

  3. Corrective Actions (CA)

    Once the root cause of the failure is identified, the next step involves implementing and validating appropriate corrective actions to rectify the root cause and prevent any recurrence of the failure. These corrective actions can also encompass preventive measures intended to avert future failures. It is crucial to meticulously document any modifications or adjustments made during this stage to ensure consistency and standardization in the implemented actions.

By adhering to this structured FRACAS process, organizations can effectively capture and analyze failure data. This enables them to identify systemic weaknesses, devise targeted solutions, and establish measures to mitigate or eliminate potential failures. Ultimately, the FRACAS approach promotes continuous improvement and helps organizations enhance their systems, equipment, and processes based on the insights gained from failure analysis and the implementation of corrective measures.

What is the Purpose & Applicability of FRACAS?

The Failure Reporting, Analysis, and Corrective Action System is a comprehensive methodology that is widely applied across business functions. Typically, Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) is utilized to capture failure events in a standardized format, enabling engineering and maintenance professionals to classify, analyze, develop, and monitor corrective actions to prevent a recurrence.

FRACAS is often juxtaposed with Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA), which is a more abstract and conceptual process utilized primarily during the design phase. In contrast, FRACAS is an operational process employed throughout the system’s lifecycle, immediately following an in-service failure to prevent future occurrences.

Implementing a FRACAS system requires bespoke solutions that are specific to the operating context of each business. Although there are no ready-made templates for the FRACAS methodology, there are industry-specific programs such as ISO 14224:2016, which are predominantly utilized in the petroleum, petrochemical, and natural gas sectors. Such programs standardize failure data collection and modes of failure, providing a framework that can guide organizations in tailoring their FRACAS systems.

Ultimately, the implementation of FRACAS is a critical step in improving business operations by proactively identifying and resolving failures. It enables businesses to optimize their resources by minimizing downtime, improving efficiency, and reducing maintenance costs, thereby driving continuous improvement across the organization.

What is a FRACAS Loop?

The FRACAS loop encompasses a systematic approach to establishing and deploying a Failure Reporting, Analysis, and Corrective Action System. Composed of five essential steps, this iterative process provides a structured framework for reporting failures, conducting analyses, and implementing corrective actions, thereby enabling organizations to continually identify, learn from, and rectify failures.

  1. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)

    This initial step involves creating an inventory of potential failure modes, their corresponding effects, likely causes, and recommended actions. FMEA helps prioritize actions based on factors such as asset criticality, the impact, and frequency of failures, and required resources for repairs. As insights are gained about failure patterns, FMEAs can be modified to reflect emerging trends and enhance the accuracy of prioritization.

  2. Failure Code Creation

    Failure codes are concise descriptions used to categorize and quickly identify the type of asset failure encountered. Typically composed of three components (component, defect, cause), failure codes aid in organizing, sorting, and tracking failure types over time. By effectively utilizing failure codes, organizations can develop comprehensive plans to address and eliminate specific failure types.

  3. Work Order Analysis

    This step involves analyzing work orders to identify common failure occurrences and facilitate their resolution. By examining the frequency of failure codes within work order completion notes, patterns and trends can be identified. This analysis enables organizations to focus on specific problem areas and establish a baseline for measuring the effectiveness of subsequent corrective actions.

  4. Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

    Root cause analysis delves beyond immediate causes to identify the underlying reasons for asset failures. For example, while a lack of lubrication may be the immediate cause of bearing failure, RCA aims to uncover factors like unclear instructions or inadequate training that contribute to the lack of lubrication. By addressing root causes, organizations can eliminate the sources of failure, minimizing the likelihood of recurrence. Various approaches and tools can be employed for conducting an RCA, and a root cause analysis template can serve as a helpful starting point.

  5. Strategy Adjustment

    The final stage of the FRACAS loop involves implementing the insights gained from previous steps. This includes taking action based on the findings of root cause analyses. For instance, if mislabeled lubrication is identified as a root cause of bearing failure, a new labelling system can be implemented and technicians can be provided with training to mitigate this specific failure. Closing the loop involves updating FMEAs to reflect the adjustments made and evaluating the impact of these changes on reducing asset failures.

By consistently repeating the FRACAS loop, organizations can proactively address failures, improve operational efficiency, and continually enhance their processes and systems based on insights gained from analysis and corrective actions. This iterative approach fosters a culture of continuous improvement and enables organizations to achieve higher levels of reliability and performance.

How is FRACAS Implemented?

FRACAS proves to be a straightforward approach when it comes to addressing concerns within a facility, providing a fundamental framework for implementation. However, the question that naturally arises is how to initiate the implementation process effectively.

A crucial aspect of successful FRACAS implementation lies in maximizing the utilization of data. A mere abundance of data is insufficient; it is equally important to ensure that the data is organized. This facilitates the identification of associations between observations and conclusions. To ensure a comprehensive approach, it is beneficial to follow the following phases during the implementation process.

  1. Discovery Phase

    The initial phase focuses on identifying and defining the tasks that need to be performed. This involves specifying the responsible person or unit, delineating the procedures involved, and establishing any necessary approval processes. Furthermore, this phase involves setting definitions and standards.

    During the discovery phase, several crucial steps should be undertaken. These include establishing definitions of failure, describing failure incidents, defining verification procedures, outlining failure modes, and determining root cause analysis (RCA) procedures. It is essential to comprehensively document all processes by the end of this phase.

  2. Design Phase

    The subsequent phase aims to streamline and structure the identified requirements. Building upon the prerequisites identified in the discovery phase, the design phase involves creating a sustainable system that effectively fulfils the facility’s needs.

    In the design phase, each activity should be carefully planned and organized. Tasks can be categorized as either human work or document-based tasks. Human work tasks require manual intervention and should be assigned to designated individuals or execution teams. Document-based tasks, on the other hand, primarily involve analysis and reporting.

  3. Enactment Phase

    The enactment phase marks the stage where planned activities are put into practice. It involves ensuring that team members are well-informed about their assigned tasks, schedules, and methods of updating. Real-time progress notifications sent using a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) help accurately track the progress, preventing inefficiencies such as duplicated efforts and unnecessary delays.

    By adhering to these phased approaches during implementation, organizations can lay a strong foundation for an effective FRACAS system. This ensures the proper utilization of data and promotes a structured process for addressing facility concerns, thereby enabling continuous improvement and proactive failure management.

What are the Benefits of Implementing FRACAS?

Incorporating FRACAS into a company’s everyday operations can offer significant advantages. By recognizing that FRACAS is a closed-loop process, one can be assured that issues are being addressed for the long term. FRACAS offers several key benefits, including:

  1. A Decrease in Total Cost of Ownership/Lifecycle Costs

    By implementing FRACAS and experiencing fewer breakdowns in production systems, significant cost savings can be achieved. This reduction is attributed to various factors such as reduced expenditure on spare parts, decreased labor costs associated with repairs and maintenance, and extended useful life of the equipment. These combined savings contribute to a decrease in the overall total cost of ownership and lifecycle costs.

  2. An Increase in Asset Availability

    FRACAS enhances the operational availability of assets, leading to increased revenue generation by creating additional capacity to accommodate new clients. The improved availability also enables the amortization of equipment costs over larger product quantities, thereby increasing product margins. This, in turn, reduces the production cost per unit, making operations more efficient and financially beneficial.

  3. An Increase in Customer Satisfaction

    Enhanced equipment reliability achieved through FRACAS implementation directly impacts customer satisfaction. With improved reliability, organizations can consistently meet planned quantities, maintain quality standards, and adhere to delivery schedules. This reliability fosters customer confidence, satisfaction, and loyalty, contributing to increased client retention and a positive brand reputation.

  4. Better Regulatory Compliance

    Failure of equipment poses risks to employee safety and can lead to environmental non-compliance. By implementing FRACAS, organizations can operate in a controlled environment that allows for planned shutdowns and stoppages rather than responding reactively to sudden equipment failures. This proactive approach ensures better regulatory compliance, mitigates safety hazards, and reduces the potential for environmental violations.

  5. Reduction in Scrap Rates and Warranty Claims

    Equipment failures or degradation can result in the production of products that do not meet specifications or exhibit high failure rates. FRACAS implementation plays a pivotal role in improving reliability, thereby reducing the occurrence and impact of such events. This reduction in failures directly translates to lower rework costs, decreased scrap rates, and improved customer satisfaction due to higher product quality and reliability.

By observing these practical outcomes of FRACAS in action, organizations can recognize the significant advantages it brings to their operations. The system’s ability to minimize costs, increase asset availability, enhance customer satisfaction, ensure regulatory compliance, and improve product quality reinforces the value and effectiveness of implementing a robust FRACAS system.

FRACAS Examples in Maintenance

Here are some examples of FRACAS from the maintenance world that show how you can use fault data to improve the reliability of your plant:

  1. By analyzing orders for fault codes and analyzing the root cause, you can see that equipment fails when old parts are used for repairs. You can also see that these faults result in large production losses. You can commit to increasing your inventory budget to avoid these mistakes.
  2. An asset that has rarely failed before fails more often, and you don’t know why. A FRACAS analysis shows that the problems began three months ago when the plant began to use different product specifications that affected the configuration of the machine. You can develop a new way to communicate plant changes that reduces downtime in multiple locations.
  3. A failure report for all your work orders identifies three common types of error codes. They only have the resources to address one this quarter. You review your FMEA, cost reports and RCA to find the error that has the biggest impact. That way, you can secure the budget to hire more technicians and correct the other errors.

What are Some Common Concerns When Implementing FRACAS?

To fully leverage the benefits of FRACAS, organizations need to be mindful of common mistakes and misconceptions that can hinder its effectiveness. The following points highlight some challenges that companies may encounter and need to address:

  1. Complex Organizational Structures

    FRACAS involves multiple teams and individuals responsible for data input, which can lead to complexities and inefficiencies. Double-handling of data and unnecessary work can occur if roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined.

    To address this issue, it is important to identify the scope of work for each team involved. Limiting data input and accountability to specific responsible groups ensures that each step is assigned to the appropriate person, reducing redundancies and streamlining the process.

  2. Lack of Prioritized Goals

    Differences in perception regarding the prioritization of goals can pose a challenge in FRACAS implementation. Various functional groups within an organization may have different priorities when it comes to specific projects or initiatives.

    For example, when implementing FRACAS within a limited budget, corrective actions may be taken without sufficient data or thorough analysis due to resource constraints. Listing and prioritizing goals can help align efforts and ensure that resources are focused on addressing the most critical concerns, optimizing the effectiveness of FRACAS.

  3. Inefficient Data Tracking

    Data serves as the foundation of FRACAS procedures, and as such, its accuracy and consistency are crucial for successful implementation. Inadequate data tracking can undermine the effectiveness of subsequent FRACAS steps. Even a single reliable data point can be rendered useless if subsequent data points are inaccurate.

    Managing data for multiple assets can be a daunting task, making it challenging to track each piece of equipment continuously. Leveraging modern software systems can alleviate this burden. Real-time asset data tracking through software enables automation and provides accurate information, minimizing manual efforts and maximizing the usability of data.

    By being aware of these common pitfalls, organizations can proactively address them during FRACAS implementation, enhancing its effectiveness and ensuring optimal results. This understanding enables companies to streamline processes, align priorities, and leverage technology to maximize the benefits of FRACAS in their operations.

Final Thoughts

A well-executed FRACAS (Failure Reporting, Analysis, and Corrective Action System) serves as a fundamental aspect of a dependable reliability system, yielding greater profits, enhanced client satisfaction, reduced expenses, and improved efficiency.

To assist you in achieving heightened reliability, consider bringing NEXGEN’s CMMS solution along for the ride. It not only keeps your team aligned and equipped with essential data, but it also streamlines and organizes your maintenance management endeavors, ensuring your safety and success. For more information, click the button below to see NEXGEN in action.