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The difference between NCR vs. FRACAS (Failure reporting, analysis, and corrective action system)



What's the meanning of the 'Fault' in FRACAS? Does it contain the defect of a pruduct? And in my company it is needed to fill a Fault Notice Record while finding out a noconformance. In my opinion the relationship between 'Noconformance' and 'Fault' is just like cause to consequense. But now I am comfused. I am very appreciated if someone help me out of this!

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
This may only be a language problem.
There is no complicated definition or meaning to the words.

The 'F' in FRACAS (Failure reporting, analysis, and corrective action system) actually stands for FAILURE. It has no connotation or meaning that implies cause. In this case, faliure means the effect of the cause. Other terms often used in place of Failure in FRACAS are Problem or Data, etc.

I cannot explain why your company uses the term 'fault' instead of nonconformance. You would have to ask them. People and organizations often assign words without regard to their true meaning...sad but true.

To make these definitions somewhat complicated, read the following. In the most generally accepted definition of the words in the quality and engineering sciences:

'Defect' is typically a static thing; a nonconformance to a specified geometric feature or physical property. So a crack is a defect if the material is suppposed to be crack free. Likewise a length that is suppopsed to be between .9 and 1.1 but is actually 1.2 is a defect. In some countries, the term defect has legal consequences. In the United States courts of law, a defect has legal liability consequences and most legally sensitive companies will preclude the use of the term defect substituting the term 'nonformance' or other more benign term.

'Failure' is a dynamic event and the result of a defect, IF the tolerances for the 'defect' were properly engineered. properly specified defects will always result eventuallly in a failure of some sort. (Some defects require a condition for failure to result in an actual failure. This is the classical stress/strength interaction...)

'Nonconformance' is typically an event or condition that does not conform - or comply - to a stated requirement or procedure. You can think of a nonconformance as equivelent to a defect.

HOWEVER, many companies and customers have their own definitions of these terms and you must check those sources first as they generally supercede any 'commonly accepted' definition. For example, some people define a nonconformance to a procedure as a failure to folllow the procedure.
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Hi Bev, I have heard that the usage of defect is sensitive in the US by another statistician. I am glad to see your exact same explanation about "defect". I have been looking for an evidence/ a material to support my arguments about not using the term defect and replacing that with non conformance. Could you please share if you have seen any Orders or Law statements that speaks the same context of defects? Thank you!

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
Not sure of where I may have read this, probably in a book related to the auto industry. I remember having a book that dealt with how to handle legal implications...but I left the book to a colleague when i left the auto industry. I have been advised by several lawyers that the use of the term defect can be construed negatively by the courts and that I should use the term non-conformance. Of course defect and defective have specific meanings in quality statistics that relate to the use of the Poisson or Binomial distributions so we are in a difficult spot.
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