Engineering change control can have a major impact, not only on business needs or practices, but also on the safety of employees and customers or users. The need for a solid system in place to control that change is paramount and the ability to keep a system in place that can tackle all aspects of engineering will require a holistic approach. Engineering requires the manufacturing of materials, the documentation that goes along with any product being engineered, schematics for how things are built and created, and each of these things individually need a solid change control system in place. When you look at engineering as a whole, there really is no way to seamlessly accomplish any change without a change control process in place that is unflappable.
One aspect of engineering change control is the logistical side of equipment being used, the mockups being used, the schematics that are provided to those putting the products together and the actual manufacturing process that goes into creating the products. Any change that is requested in any part of this process in engineering will require a robust plan in order to analyze, test, approve and implement that change. Skipping any step here can result in malfunctioning products and that can cause damage to your reputation along with lawsuits and very serious physical harm to anyone who is interacting with that malfunctioning product. Understanding the gravity of this side of the business is an important first step in engineering change control.
The other side of engineering change control is the part that is designed to build your brand and your relationship with your customers and employees. The documentation that you provide, the way that research is done, the way that discontent or an error in manufacturing is handled are all aspects of the engineering process that could also experience change requests. The ability to think with agility is important in this regard because the way that the company functions needs be able to continue even in the face of all of the changes that you are reviewing and attempting to test out and implement. Having a team that understands both sides of the engineering business is important as part of your change control process, and far too often engineering companies are split into silos that do not overlap in this way. This can create a lot of dysfunction when any change is being sought after, so make sure that you have the right team set up that can cross over from one side of the business to the other prior to any major change requests going into effect.
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