Engineering Change Order And What You Need To Know

In the world of business and manufacturing, an engineering change order (ECO) is an informational packet used to outline the products, parts, and proposed changes that are affected in the event of change during the manufacturing process. ECO’s are to be shared with, reviewed by and approved of by those individuals who are directly impacted by the change in the production process. These packages are created to make a note of any modifications to the components involved, the assembly process, any documentation associated with the process and any other types of information involving how the change will affect the product in question.

How does an engineering change order fit into the engineering change management process?

The Engineering Change Order begins when an issue that needs to be adjusted or modified is identified during the manufacturing process. The ECO process ceases when the change has been agreed upon, implanted, enforced and upon completion of the process. ECO’s are utilized during the process to make a note of any modifications that occur as well as to finalize any specific details and to obtain the required approval needed to complete the process.

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What are the stages of the engineering change process?

  1. Identify and scoping the issue: The issue or problem is determined by an employee or member of management. Once it is determined that change is in fact required the scope of the issue as well as the possible results are discussed.
  2. Creating the ECR: The next step is to build at ECR (engineering change request) The ECR will examine the need, the reasoning as well as identify that those components, parts, etc. that may be affected as a result. An ECR will also list the estimated costs and resources that are necessary to enforce the proposed change,
  3. Reviewing the ECR: The ECR is then circulated amongst the team for its consideration and any modifications are then made at this time.
  4. Creating the ECO: Upon approval of the ECR, the Engineering Change Order (ECO) is then created. The ECO will list in detail the items, processes, and documentation that are being changed. Any standard operating procedures, manufacturing work instructions and any other factors that will be affected are also included on the ECO.
  5. Reviewing the ECO: The Engineering Change Order (ECO) is then circulated to the necessary staff and team members for final approval.
  6. Circulating the ECO: Once it is approved, the team shall receive an ECN (Engineering Change Notification) to notify that the Engineering Change Order (ECO) has met approval and the change may now be acted upon.
  7. Implementing the ECO: The team directly involved in the process will then use the ECO to apply the changes as specified in the Engineering Change Order.

What are some of the other types of changes orders that are used by various teams?

Change orders, of course, vary by department. Some other types of change orders include:

  • DCO (Document Change Order): a DCO details any changes of modifications made to existing documents or specs.
  • MCO (Manufacturing Change Order): an MCO details changes made to the equipment or manufacturing process.

What are the benefits of an Engineering Change Order?

Although you might think it’s unnecessary to create even more paperwork, there are many advantages of an engineering change order:

  • An ECO is critical as it is an organized means of tracking the change process
  • The ECO contains the complete details involved in the change process including the description, cost analyze and predicted the outcome.
  • An Engineering Change Order is an efficient means of keeping any involved parties informed of the details and events of the change order, including shareholders, management, and staff.
  • As well, the ECO is a good method of open communication between all of the involved parties.
  • An ECO documents the full history of a product or process
  • An ECO can help identify and rectify any problems or issues that may arise in the process
  • ECO’s make easier to address and implement changes
  • An effective Engineering Change Order can help maintaining a relativistic view of the impact of the proposed change that will have on the overall process.

As businesses need to be able to adapt to the ever-changing business world quickly, they need an easy way to document these changes and how they effect on their products and sales. Engineers and manufacturers continually make adjustments and modifications during the process so it is imperative to keep a detailed and accurate record of these changes as they can significantly affect the product, and can help manufacturers to identify and debug any issue that can arise during the product launch.

Engineering Change Order software can greatly aid businesses and can help them to identify, address and implement the product change, and thus make the entire process more efficient. A quality Engineering Change Order software program allows companies to manage multiple ECO orders from a variety of locations, thus speeding up the communication process. With automated Engineering Change Order software you will also be able to keep a detailed history of any past ECO’s as well as any current engineering change orders. ECO software is an excellent way to keep your company up to speed on any changes that have been conducted in the past or will be implemented in the future.

Author: Eric Raio

Eric Raio is one of the founders of Factory Solutions. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome software. He likes to geek out about flying drones and technology.

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