An introduction to engineering change management

Engineering change management refers to the change in the functionality of a product by means of careful request, evaluation, implementation and control when production of the product has already started. Depending on the product and the items the changes can be either total or partial. For instance there might be a change only in component, assembly or material.

Changes constitute a major component of the development of modern products. They represent both an engine of innovation, opportunities of benefits, but can also generate cost and delays.

Usually the engineering change management process is made up of 6 processes.

Request for engineering change

The first thing that will take place is that a formal request for engineering change must be made to help clarify the problem clearly.

Alternative solutions to the requested change

Other alternatives to the ECM are tried out and an evaluation of the alternatives is made and usually a single one is chosen.

Risk evaluation of the alternatives

All the alternatives should be evaluated in terms of cost and benefits in relation with the other department affected by the change.

Approval of Solution

The top management needs to give approval to the favored solution.

Implementation stage

Once approval has been granted the change request becomes a change order and needs to be propagated across the whole organization. Changes can be made in a single phase or in some cases in various small phases.

Reviewing

The change process is monitored to make sure that everything went out as planned and all the necessary information is documented for use in the future.

These 6 steps make up the generic engineering change management process but may be more or less detailed depending on the organization.

Written by Robert Bellarmine for www.visitask.com

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This post was written by Noel D'Costa on July 28, 2010

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