What is an Engineering Change Request (ECR)?
Defining the engineering change request (ECR)
An engineering change request (ECR) form is used to describe a suggested enhancement or fix to a product design. The form initiates the change process and promotes discussions within the engineering team to help determine the impact of a change and the best possible solution.
The ECR form is circulated and reviewed among key engineering teams before it's shared with extended product teams typically. Once the ECR is approved, it spawns an engineering change order (ECO), which further describes the details of the proposed change and allows for a more formal review and approval process with all teams that will be involved in planning, procuring, testing, assembling, and supporting the final product.
Examples of change requests
A change request originates from customer complaints, field failures, non-conforming materials, audits, product enhancement ideas, and other various sources. Depending on the basis for the change, a change request can be categorized as one of the following:
- Engineering change request (ECR) — A change request listing proposed improvements or problems with components or assemblies.
- Manufacturing change request (MCR) — A change request specifying changes to the manufacturing process or equipment.
- Document change request (DCR) — A change request detailing changes or problems with documents, specifications, or SOPs.
- Corrective action request (CAR) — A change request documenting a critical problem with a product.
- Field failure request (FFR) — A change request detailing a problem with the product as observed in the field.
- Supplier corrective action request (SCAR) — A change request describing something that is wrong with a part, process, or component from a supplier.
What should the ECR form capture?
Whether an employee, supplier, or contract manufacturer creates a change request by documenting information on a piece of paper or entering change details via an electronic system, a change request should include the following:
- A description of the problem encountered
- The reason the change is needed
- A proposed change (optional)
- The part number(s) affected by the problem
- The part descriptions
- The request originator’s name
- The change request submission date
- The key stakeholders' names and roles
- The stakeholders’ opinion on the change request
- The disposition action required to resolve the original issue
The role of the ECR form and why it’s important
As a standard form for employees to review and understand a problem or make a suggested change to a product or process, the ECR form helps facilitate business decisions. It provides a method to document problems, raise issues, capture responses, propose solutions, and define consequences when deferring issues. It captures the action the group wants to take on a particular problem or suggested change. And unlike an ECO, which documents an actual change, an ECR shows the origins of an issue, discussions of options and thoughts behind the action chosen. The information captured on the ECR can often be helpful in the future when looking at past modifications.
How you can manage ECRs in Arena PLM and QMS
Arena Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Arena Quality Management System (QMS) solutions offer cloud-based approaches to manage product record information including the complete bill of materials (BOM), engineering changes, and quality processes. These solutions bridge the gap between design, engineering, and manufacturing with a controlled, centralized way to manage changes to product data.
Arena enables companies to:
- Capture change requests like ECRs, MCRs, DCRs, CARs, and SCARs electronically
- Share change requests with internal employees, suppliers, and partners
- Streamline ECR review, evaluation, and sign-off with a fully automated system
ECR—Evaluations in Arena PLM or QMS. The evaluation view of a change request in Arena captures comments about a problem and the requested action, including recommendations, raised issues, and responses to those issues.
ECR—Status in Arena PLM or QMS.
The status view of a change request in Arena shows where the request is in the workflow and what actions it will take to move the request to the next stage.