What is Manufacturing Change Control?

Manufacturing change control is a crucial part of your business practices because these change requests typically come from someone who works on the floor every day and sees a consistent problem in the way that work is done and how it should be improved. This is generally not going to be a technology issue, although it can be. Normally this is going to be more closely related to process than anything else, and often times it will come back to how people and time are being managed. The most important step in this process is to maintain open lines of communication and create a culture where feedback from those lower level employees is encouraged so that people feel confident in presenting their ideas. This will improve morale and allow management to see who has the innovative thinking and the drive to be able to move into leadership positions in the future. It’s a win for everyone involved!

The other part of manufacturing change control, once the change request has gone through, is creating a process that involves all of the right people. It is common that those in leadership become farther removed from the logistics of the operation and it is important to have team members who have a perspective on various aspects of the business to be involved before any real change request can be implemented properly. Creating a bird’s eye view to the problem at hand is the only way to make sure that the change is going through the process with the fewest obstacles to the actual manufacturing process. This is crucial to ensure that no money or time are lost on the production floor as the change is being analyzed and tested.

The final stage of communication will be important in the sense that once a change has been analyzed and tested, then it needs to be implemented in a way that will be as seamless as possible, which means that many people need to be informed and trained on the matter before it can be fully trusted. Often times in manufacturing, the roll out of these changes needs to be announced and worked through early and slowly so that there is time for teams on the floor to adjust and for management to work out all of the issues in the new changes before it is set in stone throughout the entire company. The communication in manufacturing change control in all stages is essential and it is unique to this industry because of the hands-on nature of so many of the positions. As long as it is understood that communication is king in each step along the way, the change control process should be able to support the avoidance of insurmountable problems.

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