Engineering Change Control

While uncovering the requirements for PLM with a customer, I heard that one of the big 5 consulting companies was coming in to perform a research project.  They had a $100,000 contract to uncover this company’s most expensive business process.

I told my contact that I would tell them what their most expensive process is for a mere $10,000.  That is because, I knew the answer.  The most expensive business process for any manufacturer is their engineering change control process.

At the end of the week, the big 5 consulting company presented them with a fancy report saying that engineering change control was their most expensive process.


I have performed many ‘return on investment’ analyses over the years for PLM investments.  The 2 biggest areas for savings are in document management and engineering change control.

There have been many studies that support that statement.

Document Management – Engineers spend an average of 25% of their time looking for information.  Even shared directories don’t help this number much.

Engineering Change Control – The average cost of managing an engineering change request/order using a paper based system is $1,800 each.

Any PLM solution will dramatically reduce these numbers.  Depending on your company’s requirements, the size of your reductions will vary.

What all this means to you…

If your company generates as few as 10 change requests per month, a PLM solution will pay for itself.  Some of the benefits you can expect include: shorter turnaround time for ECR/ECO’s; control – making sure that all of the change request rules have been followed; visibility – see the status of your change request with the click of a mouse; and many more.

I am still amazed at how few companies have implemented PLM when the benefits are so great.  What is holding you back?


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