Engineering Change Orders (ECO)

Engineering Change Orders (ECO)

What is an Engineering Change Order (ECO)?

An Engineering Change Order (ECO) is a document that specifies changes in product or structure design details or recommended engineering changes. Engineering Change Orders are commonly found in engineering workflows and are used to implement a change for an existing object or the release of a new one. It’s sent to stakeholders including, but not limited to, the Engineering or R&D department, Quality Control/Assurance, Production, and external design partners.

The Engineering Change Order Process

There are several steps workers must complete when implementing an Engineering Change Order. These steps include:

1. Identifying the Issue
2. Reviewing the Engineering Change
3. Creating the Engineering Change Order
4. Reviewing the Order
5. Implementing the Change.

1. Identifying the Issue

The process begins when engineers identify an issue that needs correcting. Issues can range from inaccurate specifications, functional changes, unexpected costs, infeasible requirements, warranty claims, or compliance violations. Sometimes a formal Engineering Change Notice (ECN) is created to establish and specify the issue and begin the review and change order process.

2. Reviewing the Engineering Change

Once the issue has been identified, engineers must meet to review the change and other relevant documents and determine the best course of action moving forward. This is achieved through a review process, which can be managed using a digital workflow and associated document management system.

3. Creating the Engineering Change Order

Now that the ECO has been reviewed, engineers can work to create a new version of the original documents in question. Engineers must ensure they submit the correct version of the document for final review and approval – done easily if using an automated version control system. Importantly, all required documents and drawings and the appropriate versions need to be associated and available with the ECO.

Read More: Version Control

4. Reviewing the Order

Workers integrate engineering change orders into their review and approval workflows to ensure there are audit trails of the changes made and all changes were reviewed and approved by the appropriate personnel. This process can be completed remotely using a collaboration system like ImageSite.

5. Implementing the Change

Once the necessary steps are completed and the change has been reviewed, the team can move forward with implementing the change. Finalized ECOs are the documents used to summarize the changes and communicate to relevant parties.

Engineering Change Order Software

ImageSite (Engineering Change Order software) improves engineering design workflow efficiency, accuracy, and management by reducing or eliminating the errors and time sinks created by changes in design and materials. In industries such as manufacturing and engineering, you need a complete account of all changes. Having this information readily available can increase productivity as well as address any problems along the way.

Ensuring Accuracy of Engineering Change Orders

ImageSite and Engine-Box (the Cloud version of ImageSite) help organizations ensure the accuracy of engineering change orders by providing them with integrated review and approval processes (using the Workflow+ module). Managing ECO workflows in ImageSite is easy, as the system automates file actions and ensures all necessary reviewers have the chance to comment, markup, and make changes to a file before approval. The module also includes the options of using a unanimous or majority voting feature that appropriate reviewers have the final authority over a change.

The system’s version control function ensures the updated documents and drawings are versioned correctly before passing it on to reviewers by automatically changing the version number as it is checked out, edited, and checked back into the system. Accuracy is paramount in the ECO process, as engineers need to know the change has been corrected before manufacturing or construction commences.

Read More: Workflow Management

Improving Speed and Efficiency of ECOs

ImageSite and Engine-Box help improve the speed at which ECOs are completed by automating document actions in the ECO workflow. It also serves as a single-source collaboration site for engineers and third-party reviewers that can be accessed from the office, field, production floor, home, or anywhere else in the world. Additionally, the systems help managers set and monitor deadlines to ensure the process remains efficient and workers continue to be productive throughout. Using post-mortem audit trails also allows for analysis and process improvement reviews to make the ECO process even more effective.

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Enables authorized parties to submit engineering change requests and correct design errors
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Routing to appropriate decision makers for approval, assists in improving quality control, and authorizes engineering design changes that might change the structure of the product or project

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Appropriate notifications through internal messages and emails when tasks are assigned, approvals are needed, or steps fall behind schedule

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Organizations can classify revisions as “major” or “minor” and determine who can access and edit the documents at any point in the life cycle
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Flexible workflow design to accommodate each organizations' own engineering change management processes.

eQuorum

eQuorum specializes in engineering workflow and document management. Our comprehensive, yet easy-to-use software provides the solution to manage data from design to manufacturing and production, to sales, support and administration.

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