An ECR is not something you typically want to happen. They generally result in some additional cost, a slowdown or shutdown of the process, and delays in the completion of the work. 

Let’s get a deeper understanding of what an ECR is and what should be included on your form. 

Overview: What is an engineering change request? 

Once you realize a change is needed in your product or product design, the first step is the completion of an ECR. You can define an ECR as a form used to describe a suggested enhancement, revision or fix to a product. The form begins the change process and initiates discussions within the engineering team to help determine the impact of the proposed change and the best possible solution.

Once the ECR is approved, an engineering change order (ECO), is completed that further describes the details of the proposed change. This allows for a more formal review and approval process with all teams involved in planning, procuring, testing, assembling, and supporting the final changes.

The ECR form should include the following information:

  • A description of the problem 
  • Why the change is needed
  • Recommended change
  • The part number(s) affected by the problem
  • The part descriptions 
  • Who is making the request
  • Submission date
  • Names and roles of key stakeholders
  • Stakeholder feedback on the change
  • Next steps and actions needed to resolve the problem

An industry example of an engineering change request 

An electronics company was experiencing a higher than normal reject rate on one of its components. The engineering manager proposed the company create an ECR to try and rectify the problem. 

Below are the steps they used to create an ECR and ECO:

  1. Identify the issue or problem that needs to be fixed
  2. Create an engineering change request (ECR)
  3. Make your business case for the proposed change by including the following:
    • Expected outcomes
    • Reasons for the change
    • Expected costs
    • Potential obstacles
  1. Discuss with appropriate people and teams, revise and seek approval. Seek feedback from those you expect to participate in the change request.
  2. Upon approval, an engineering change order (ECO) is created
  3. Prepare changes and start implementing them
  4. Release changes
  5. Document changes and communicate them
  6. Close the change order. Upon completion, the engineering change order is closed.
  7. Document the results

Finally, document the changes, its results, and communicate these results to relevant parties.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about an engineering change request (ECR)

1. What’s the difference between an ECR and ECO 

Once an ECR is circulated for review and discussion among key stakeholders, modified and approved, an engineering change order (ECO) is generated. The ECO is a document that specifies either new product design details or proposed changes to existing products. ECOs provide a list of all the components, assemblies, and documentation that will be affected by the change.

2. What are the steps of the engineering change process? 

  • Identify the issues or needs
  • Investigate the need and create an engineering change request (ECR)
  • Once the ECR is approved, create an ECO
  • Review and approve the ECO
  • Implement the changes

3. What do I do if I have a problem with my process, not a product? 

Instead of using an ECR, you would use a PCR, or process change request. The process is similar to an ECR but applies to problems and changes in a process rather than in a product.

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