Engineering Change Control in your ERP

By John Nugent

What is Engineering Change Control? 

Engineering change control and engineering change notices enable manufacturing organizations to create, review, and approve engineering change requests and maintain an audit trail of such changes. This functionality combined with revision control enables complex engineer to order and make to order manufacturers to manage engineering changes and revisions within their ERP system. This functionality is essential to complex manufacturers where precision in engineering and change control is critical. 

How Change Control Works 

Change control requirements are typically set at the part level and your ERP should provide you with granular functionality on change control management for the fields and parameters you want included in the engineering change control process. Once you select the parts and fields within that part that should be subject to the change control process, then you are able to start creating and using engineering change notices. 

Engineering change notices include a description of the change, date submitted, the name of the submitter and may include file attachments, images, text, comments, as well as tracking of disposition codes and disposition dates. Your ERP system should offer tracking of change codes as well so you can identify and report on your changes and the source of the change request (such as customer change request). For some parts you may want a change notice for when a revision is updated and for other parts you may want a change notice when there is a change to the bill of material. Your ERP system should offer out of the box functioanlity to create the specific change control rules you need to manage your engineering and manufacturing processes. 

What to Look for in an ERP System

Once engineering change control is enabled and an engineering change notice is issued, you need an ERP system with proper roles and permissions and automation to allow an authorized engineering supervisor to approve and authorize the change. When an ECN is applied by the authorized party the end result may be that the new current revision of the bill of material takes the place of the prior revision or a particular field or parameter updated on the part replaces the value previously set for that part. Your ERP should allow you to view and report on all revision history and review audit trails for such changes. Ample reporting is essential in engineering change control to enable decision makers and supervisors to manage such changes.

Visibility ERP offers the engineering change control functionality detailed above (and more!) out of the box. If your current ERP doesn't stack up, give us a call at (978) 269-6510 or send us an email at


Topics: Engineering Change Control

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