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Right now, changes to BOMs are executed through verbal or email instructions to an employee who serves as BOM gatekeeper. This means paper trails are almost non-existent. Who changed what and why is almost impossible to track down. I'm planning to establish an engineering change order system to correct this.

I have an issue. There are BOM changes that require engineering approval: swapping parts around, changing PCB revisions, etc. But there are BOM changes that don't need engineering approval: wire lengths, lug sizes, pre-approved alternate parts, etc.

Obviously our BOM gatekeeper could just sort the changes into those piles intelligently. But is there a standard automated way to accomplish the same end? To define certain changes that can be made, and others that can't without engineering approval?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you trying configure the user privileges for a ECO tool, or are interested in general approval process per change management systems. I have given a general example below, I will add a flow chart in due course. $\endgroup$ – Mahendra Gunawardena Apr 1 '15 at 11:33
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The main purpose of a ECO process is to communicate changes to team members, other departments, customer and suppliers. ECO is industry accepted process that has now been automated using various tools. All affected parties need to provide input for the system to work effectively.

Many global organization require multiple levels of approvals. In one such organization the changes are classified as priority 1 and priority 2. The change request would be reviewed at most at three levels. The first level change was chaired by the Chief Engineer, and the project manager, all affected engineers, and engineering managers would discuss change. An approved change would be assigned a priority number. A priority 1 change would be routed to next level where the affected manufacturing plants would discuss and provide input. Note: In this organization most manufacturing plants were global. Next an approved change would precede to the next level for approval mostly for funding and customer communications. The change owner champions the change and is responsible for maintaining the documentations. Some content from this post can be helpful too.

ECO-Global Company

Note: This organization was global with over 200,000 employees.

Technology has made the process efficient. Some of the available software platforms are:


References:

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Smaller organizations naturally have simpler ECO processors. In one such organization with about 500 employees, the change owner submitted the change to the change management board. The board consisted of VP manufacturing Engineering, VP of Research and Development, VP of Quality, representative of other affected departments. These included engineer, documentation, procurement and supply chain management. The change leader coordinated the meeting. Approved changes are submitted to documentation management system for revision updates or to create new initial documentation.

All the PCB were manufactured by contract manufactures (CM) and assembly of the final product was done in house. The organization was operating in a heavily regulated industry. Therefore all changes to product had to be approved. Though the documentation was complicated the process needless to say was simple and effective.

Software tools currently available for smaller organizations are:

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