Engineering change notice (ECN)—The start to an efficient change implementation
Engineering change management process
The engineering change process begins when a customer, manufacturing partner, or internal employee raises an issue or problem with a product. Manufacturing, operations, engineering, and others discuss the problem and determine what action (if any) should be taken. Once the group members agree that a change is necessary, they must agree upon a solution and then drive the implementation.
Companies typically use various change forms throughout the change process. This article describes the importance of the engineering change notice (ECN) and how using an electronic system to communicate changes helps. [Note: please refer to our other articles on engineering change requests (ECRs) and engineering change orders (ECOs).
What is an engineering change notice (ECN)?
An engineering change notice is a form that communicates the details of an approved change to someone who needs to know about the change. It often authorizes a notice recipient to make a change to the design or process, which may include purchasing new materials. A detailed description and an explanation of the change should be captured on the ECN form. The form must contain the list of the items impacted and how to disposition each of them. It should also reference the approved ECO.
ECN forms—a starting place for change notification
The ECN form is an organized way to document and communicate change data. But paper forms can make implementing a change a time-consuming process. Even the simplest products can have many parts and lots of product data. If a change needs to be made, there is no telling how much time it may take to manually gather all the required documentation. Plus those responsible for making a change will need to be notified. All in all—this could take hours or even days.
Why electronic engineering change notice forms help
Managing the change process with paper forms is just not enough. An engineering change notice plays such a vital role in the engineering change process—it is the step when change details are communicated to the parties responsible for putting a change in motion. The engineering change notice starts the discussion to ensure that the change is made in a timely and efficient manner.
A cloud-based engineering change notice system keeps changes on track. It allows change information to be gathered more easily. Notifications can be sent automatically to all necessary parties, including those across the supply chain and inside the company. There are no messy stacks of papers or files floating around on servers and in emails. An electronic engineering change notice can accelerate the change process.