Original Date: 02/01/1991
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Engineering Change Processing System
In 1987, Litton Guidance and Control Systems Division (GCSD) realized a problem existed with the processing of engineering change orders (ECOs) when it was estimated that $13 to 17 million were spent in the effort to transfer technical data between engineering and the manufacturing floor.
Litton GCSD identified four major problems in its existing ECO processing system. First, this system required approval from numerous personnel, some of which carried little authority. At times, this process could include 30 signatures spread over 90 individual signature blocks in a complex and organizationally-based process flow. Secondly, each department used its own form to document, log, track and approve all changes. This last problem was further complicated by errors in copying the change information and represented a duplication of effort between departments. Finally, there was a lack of communication between departments that should be working together but were separated in the process flow by organizational boundaries.
To correct its ECO problems, Litton GCSD reviewed policies and procedures governing ECOs and found much of the process redundant or unnecessary. Streamlining the ECO process began with development of a new process flow and an approval form containing only the information required by each department. This new process flow and form immediately reduced the number of required steps and signatures for approval, and in some cases, allowed selected individuals to waive the signature requirement of other departments. A single form replaced the individual department forms and resulted in a reduction of errors from recopying information and eliminated duplication of effort. In cases where the information provided was not sufficient for a particular department, additional information would be added to the appropriate block.
Litton GCSD also revised the routing procedure for ECO approval to improve communication between departments with similar requirements. This change was a direct effort to reduce the number of ECOs returned to the originator for modification. For example, the Electronic, Mechanical and Purchasing departments are required to sign off at the beginning of the ECO process. In the past, Purchasing was the last to sign off, often resulting in a component being selected that no longer was able to be procured.
Litton GCSD’s modification of its ECO procedure has resulted in significant improvements. The new process has:
Reduced number of required signatures by 66% Reduced the number of forms by 70%
Reduced the number of steps for implementation by 50%, and
Eliminated 75% of the ECOs returned for changes.
ECOs can be implemented on the factory floor in an average of 11 weeks, representing a 50% improvement in time and similar financial savings.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.