Engineering Change Management:

Three Challenges, Five Fixes

Three Common Engineering Change Challenges

Engineering Change Challenges

Given the myriad of approaches in use, we want to cover three common challenges and provide five solutions or “fixes” to help you improve your engineering change management process and deliver innovative products to your customers on time and under budget.

CHALLENGE #1: You’re Managing Change With a Paper-Based Process

A paper-based change management system locks your organization into communication habits that add time and hassle to the change process.

  • Paper is cumbersome. A folder of printouts is not a secure and efficient means to communicate information. What if a page slips out or the folder gets lost? What if a reviewer has a question? And what would happen if the folder were to fall into the wrong hands?
  • Reconciling paper data sources is time-consuming and error-prone. The potential for conflict between different sources is high, and the process of reconciling this conflicting information places a huge burden on resources.

CHALLENGE #2: Real-Time Visibility to Change Information Isn’t a Top Priority

Real-time visibility that enables people throughout the organization to view change information at any point in the process saves time and money.

  • Don’t assume that visibility equals vulnerability. Letting people view information is not the same thing as letting people change information.
  • Visibility extends throughout the organization. A change system needs to accommodate everyone involved in the product process, from engineers to managers to executives.

CHALLENGE #3: The Supply Chain Is Not Integrated Into the Change Process

Don’t think of your four walls as the boundary of your business: including your suppliers and outsourced partners in the change process saves you time and money.

  • Supply chain mistakes are expensive. Production delays, mistakes, and scrap and rework are costly and can hurt both customer satisfaction and partner relationships.
  • Don’t waste supply chain partner expertise. It’s in the best interest of your suppliers to help you, so capitalize on this by involving them in your product development and change review and approval processes.