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Answered January 08 2020
An engineering change request (ECR) in manufacturing is a suggestion that can be submitted either by paper or electronically to management to solve a problem or make an improvement to a product. It becomes the first step in a multi-step process, which is designed to shepherd the actual project or activity to completion.
Since ECRs are designed to promote conversation, thinking and problem-solving within an organization or industry, these requests can come from a wide variety of sources.
For example, an engineering change request might come from a customer complaint, a continuous improvement brainstorming session, or an employee suggestion. Problems that are identified in the field, from non-conforming materials, or as a result of process-related failure codes may initiate an ECR process. If a company conducts regular audits or performs a facility condition assessment, it may generate ECRs from these processes as well.
Whether your organization uses a paper ECR or an electronic one, each ECR should include some key information.
First, the engineering change request should describe the problem and the reason a change is needed. Some details including part descriptions, part identification codes, and the name and contact information of the person initiating the ECR should be included. The submission date, deadline date, and any resolution suggestions should also be included in the ECR.
Typically, the details of an ECR in manufacturing are reviewed by management, relevant employees, and key stakeholders. If it is deemed appropriate to pursue, an engineering change order (ECO) or manufacturing change order can result. This form will move the process to the next stage where action items, details, and instructions are laid out.
For example, Cable Labs, a cable industry member association, outlines a multi-step ECR process. After electronic submission, key participants receive a web portal announcement. Then, members are encouraged to monitor and engage in the engineering change process. Finally, the ECR is incorporated into relevant processes.