Operations, Information and Decisions Papers

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Journal Article

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The Journal of Product Innovation Management





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Engineering change orders (ECOs) are part of almost every development process, consuming a significant part of engineering capacity and contributing heavily to development and tool costs. Many companies use a support process to administer ECOs, which fundamentally determines ECO costs. This administrative process encompasses the emergence of a change (e.g., a problem or a market-driven feature change), the management approval of the change, up to the change's final implementation. Despite the tremendous time pressure in development projects in general and in the ECO process in particular, this process can consume several weeks, several months, and in extreme cases even over 1 year. Based on an in-depth case study of the climate control system development in a vehicle, we identify five key contributors to long ECO lead times: a complex approval process, snowballing changes, scarce capacity and congestion, setups and batching, and organizational issues. Based on the case observations, we outline a number of improvement strategies an organization can follow to reduce its ECO lead times.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Terwiesch, C., & Loch, C. H. (1999). Managing the process of engineering change orders: the case of the climate control system in automobile development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 16(2), 160-172. , which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1540-5885.1620160/abstract. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving [link to http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-820227.html#terms].



Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.