Date of Award

Summer 2011

Access Restriction

Campus Access only research projects

Degree Name

Dual Degree in Master of Science & Master of Business Administration


Systems Engineering and Leadership Program

School or College

Seaver College of Science and Engineering


FRACAS (Failure Reporting, Analysis and Corrective Action System) is an essential element in achieving product reliability. In simplified terms, FRACAS is a formal process conducted in a closed-loop system environment in which a failure is reported, tracked, analyzed, and resolved with the intent to prevent future reoccurrences. This process has recently been emphasized by the Secretary of Defense through a Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 11-003 - Reliability Analysis, Planning, Tracking, and Reporting - on March 21, 2011.

Companies compete in an environment where cost weighs heavily in business decisions and in some cases becomes the determining factor in closing a business deal. With that in mind, company leaders and managers push to further scrutinize all processes and functions emphasizing on ROI (return on investment) of their activities. By discovering and eliminating non-value-added activities (waste), a company better positions itself towards gaining a competitive edge in winning or sustaining their business; this strategy is not to be implemented without caution. How should a company address its management behaviors of focusing only on the short-term goals during the proposal phases of each program? This type of management behavior ignores any activity that consists of a low ROI now, but has a long-term gain for the organization.

A well-implemented FRACAS increases product reliability and consequently contributes to higher availability of the product. This is achieved through adequate resources (both labor and tools) as well as collaborative functions and its management

within the organization. However, through its involvement from a product's inception to sustainment, FRACAS can quickly become very costly if it is not implemented properly. For this reason, ROI on its activities can easily be misinterpreted; thus resulting in managers who are reluctant to invest in FRACAS for the next project. Therefore, managers often allocate minimal or no funding for FRACAS activities.

This project takes the approach of first understanding what FRACAS is and what it means to the customer, then identifying the reasons behind management's reservations about fully funding FRACAS, and lastly evaluating the challenges faced by the FRACAS engineers in performing FRACAS activities. The project outcomes are to accomplish the following objectives: 1) to define the role of FRACAS within the total systems engineering process; 2) to reveal the key contributors to an ineffective FRACAS, and 3) to provide the important factors to a successful implementation of FRACAS. The goal of this project is to suggest possible resolutions to shortcomings preventing FRACAS from fulfilling its intended role in improving product reliability.