Operations, Information and Decisions Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

3-1999

Publication Source

Journal of Product Innovation Management

Volume

16

Issue

2

Start Page

145

Last Page

159

DOI

10.1016/S0737-6782(98)00042-3

Abstract

Engineering change orders (ECOs) are important drivers of development costs and lead time. This article analyzes the process of administering engineering change orders in the case of the climate control system development within a large vehicle development project. This administrative process encompasses the emergence of a change (e.g., a problem or a market-driven feature change), its management approval, and final implementation. Despite strong time pressure, this process can take several weeks, several months, and, in extreme cases, even over 1 year. Such a long lead time is especially remarkable as the actual processing time for the change typically does not exceed 2 weeks. Based on our case study, we develop an analytical framework that explains how such an extreme ratio between theoretical processing time and actual lead time is possible. The framework identifies congestion, stemming from scarce capacity coupled with processing variability, as a major lead time contributor. We outline five improvement strategies that an organization can use in order to reduce ECO lead time, namely, flexible capacity, balanced workloads, merged tasks, pooling, and reduced setups and batching.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© . This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.