Engineering change: drivers, sources and approaches in industry

Eckert, C.M.; De Weck, O.; Keller, R. and Clarkson, P.J. (2009). Engineering change: drivers, sources and approaches in industry. In: 17th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED'09), 2009, Stanford, California.



Engineering change is a fundamental part of all design activities at all stages of design. Most complex products are designed by modification from existing ones. Requirements change during long development projects. Problems through the design process require rework. Yet engineering change has only recently become the topic of academic research and only few specific tools exist to manage engineering change. This paper reports on two workshops held in 2008, one in the UK and one in the US, where practising engineers reported on the challenges their organisations face with engineering changes and what approaches they take to deal with the effects of change. An analysis of 11 presentations shows that the causes volunteered for engineering change are very similar. However the approaches taken by companies to assess, manage and potentially take advantage of engineering changes are very different. In the absence of specific tools for management engineering change companies used general process improvement and systems engineering tools, ranging from virtual design and QFD to high-level system simulation.

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