Engineering Change Control

A number of years ago, I was speaking with a disk drive manufacturer in the west.  They were looking at engineering document management software.  They had a couple of issues that they were trying to solve.

– Document Management

They suffered from the usual problems associated with document management.  They were having trouble finding drawings, files, etc.  They didn’t know what the latest version was.  Their engineers could overwrite files causing information to go missing.  You can add to this any of the usual suspects.

– Process Management

Their biggest problem was managing engineering changes.  They generated something like 50 changes per month.  The volume was likely too high.  Their engineering change process not only allowed anyone in the company to generate a change request, they actually approved all of them.  Their big problem was that no one performed a cost analysis – the cost of the change compared to the gain in revenue.

For example, if someone wanted to change the paint color on the drive they would change it.  Whether the drive is blue or grey will not increase revenues, but the added costs were killing them.  As a matter of fact, the company did die due to cost over-runs.

From that point forward, I always made sure that my clients had a step in their change control process to perform a cost/revenue analysis.

Your Thoughts…

Have you experienced something similar?


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