The objective of this research was to compare the behavior of two methods of managing an engineering change request (ECR) process, namely, perform changes as they occur or in a batch.
This comparison was accomplished by creating a computer model of a new product development (NPD) process and simulating ECR management. The model connects process design and process characteristics (teamwork, parallel activities) to process outcomes (development time, effort). The first method executes the ECR promptly and the rework is done as soon as the ECR is initiated. In the second method, ECRs are batched; in other words, a number of them are accumulated, and processing of the ECRs takes place when a batch of a certain size has accumulated. Thus, the change requests are grouped into a batch, and then, the section(s) of the process to effect the change(s) is (are) reworked.
Batching ECRs was found to be superior to doing them one at a time.
Future work should focus on refining the computer model and differentiating ECRs by assigning priorities to incoming ECRs.
For product development managers, processing ECRs in batches is preferable than attending to them on an individual basis. Nevertheless, in some situations ECRs require immediate attention. A mechanism will always be needed to deal with situations directly. Also, in terms of batching, ECRs could be processed in groups on a periodic basis. Periodically performing ECRs due to new design versions or prototypes in a timely manner is a good compromise between a random batch mode and doing them individually.
The paper shows that batch processing is superior to executing ECRs promptly as they are received. This result has been shown through the use of a computer model of NPD. To the authors' knowledge, no other studies have used computer modeling to study this problem.
Nadia, B., Gregory, G. and Vince, T. (2006), "Engineering change request management in a new product development process", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 5-19. https://doi.org/10.1108/14601060610639999Download as .RIS
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