United Equipment Accessories has been around for over 60 years, but our ECO (Engineering Change Order) system has only been in place since 2000. Before that time, changes were handled with drawing revisions and word of mouth.
To qualify for ISO status, it was necessary to switch to a more sophisticated ECO system. That 'sophisticated' system was to fill out a form by hand and circulate it manually to everyone whose approval was necessary. After the ECOs were reviewed and signed by the appropriate individuals, they would, somehow, make their way back to a drawer in engineering. When anyone needed to reference an old ECO, whether for slip rings, cable reels, shift controls or hydraulic swivels, it was a matter of searching through a drawer stuffed full of old documents in semi-chronological order.
In 2015, we took the plunge and scanned in all of our old ECOs. We placed them in a location that is accessible to anyone in the company. They are searchable by date or by part number. Soon, they will also be searchable by customer. There were over 600 ECOs in the last 15 years, some containing as many as 50 pages, with photos and corroborating evidence, so it took a little time and effort, not to mention tying up the engineering copier (thank you, customer service people, for your patience).
For now, the ECO process itself remains the same, however the storage has improved. We are investigating engineering change software that is either part of our ERP system or stand alone.
Our ECO process is becoming more modern, one step at a time.