Engineering Change Orders: Understanding the Process and Benefits

August 16, 2023 Debankan Chattopadhyay

An Engineering Change Order (ECO) is a formal document used in engineering and manufacturing organizations to document and authorize modifications or changes to an existing product's design, specifications, or manufacturing processes.

What is an Engineering Change Order (ECO)?

An Engineering Change Order (ECO) is a formal document used in engineering and manufacturing organizations to document and authorize modifications or changes to an existing product's design, specifications, or manufacturing processes. ECOs play a critical role in ensuring the controlled and organized management of changes throughout a product's lifecycle.

Typically, an ECO contains detailed information about the proposed change, including the reason for the change, the affected components or parts, technical specifications, and any associated drawings or documents. The ECO process involves a structured workflow, including review, approval, and implementation steps, to assess the impact of the change on product quality, cost, and schedule.

ECOs are vital for maintaining product integrity, complying with industry regulations, and minimizing disruptions in production. They help organizations track changes systematically, reduce errors, and ensure that modifications align with project goals and quality standards. In essence, ECOs are a fundamental tool in managing change and ensuring product excellence in engineering and manufacturing.

What are the Steps in the Engineering Change Order Process?

The engineering change order (ECO) process involves several essential steps:

  • Identification of Change

    : The first step in the ECO process is recognizing the need for an engineering change. This may be due to design errors, customer feedback, market demands, regulatory requirements, or other factors. Proper documentation of the identified change is essential.
  • Evaluation and Impact Analysis

    : Once the change is identified, an evaluation and impact analysis is conducted. This involves assessing the impact of the proposed change on product designs, cost, schedule, resources, and other relevant parameters. The goal is to understand the implications and feasibility of the change.
  • Change Planning

    : After the evaluation, a comprehensive plan is developed for implementing the engineering change. This includes determining the necessary steps, resources, timeline, and dependencies required to execute the change effectively. The plan should consider the potential risks, costs, and benefits associated with the change.
  • Implementation and Testing

    : With the plan in place, the engineering change is implemented. This involves updating design files, modifying production processes, and conducting tests to ensure the change meets the desired outcomes. Testing is critical to validate the effectiveness and integrity of the change.
  • Documentation and Communication

    : Throughout the ECO process, proper documentation is maintained to track and record all the changes made. This documentation ensures transparency, accountability, and traceability. Effective communication is also crucial to keep all stakeholders informed about the change and its impact.

By following these steps, organizations can ensure that engineering changes are properly evaluated, planned, implemented, and documented, leading to improved product quality, compliance, and customer satisfaction.

Engineering change orders offer several benefits to organizations and their products:

Improved Product Quality: Engineering change orders and engineering change notices allow organizations to address design errors, improve product functionality, and enhance overall quality. By implementing necessary changes, organizations can ensure that their products meet the desired specifications and standards.

  • Flexibility and Adaptability

    : Engineering change orders enable organizations to respond to changing market demands, customer preferences, and technological advancements. By incorporating modifications and updates, organizations can keep their products competitive and relevant.
  • Risk Mitigation

    : Systematically managing engineering changes helps mitigate risks associated with product performance, safety, compliance, and customer satisfaction. By addressing potential issues and making necessary improvements, organizations reduce the likelihood of product failures or recalls.
  • Process Optimization

    : Engineering change orders often involve evaluating and improving production processes, supply chain logistics, and quality control procedures. This leads to increased operational efficiency, reduced costs, and streamlined operations.


Engineering change orders are essential for ensuring product integrity, maintaining competitiveness, and driving continuous improvement within organizations. By embracing change and leveraging the benefits of engineering change orders and engineering change notices, organizations can adapt, innovate, and thrive in dynamic market environments.

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