Classification of Methods for the Indication of Change Propagation - a Literature Review
Paper i proceeding, 2014

In today’s globalized and competitive world, product development processes need to be innovative, effective and efficient. Engineering changes (EC) are an unavoidable part of product development and are both source of innovation and costs. Every innovation derives from a change, but at the same time unnecessary and late changes can be the reason for sky-rocketing costs [Fricke 2000]. Therefore, companies have to find a balance between having too many changes which are costly and time-consuming, and having too few which might lead to missed opportunities with regards to improving quality and being innovative. One particular aspect of changes in engineering design is their risk of propagating further through the product. Engineering change propagation (ECP) can occur wherever there are dependencies within the product and thus a change to one part of the system will trigger subsequent changes in other parts [Yang 2011]. To tackle the problem of unwanted ECP, various methods that aim at supporting designers with the assessment of alternative change options have been developed in recent years. These methods, however, often apply to different scopes and intend at answering different questions. There are academic papers that include a listing and discussion of the various methods that are out in literature such as the one from Jaratt et al. (2011). Moreover, authors that introduce their own method in their paper often refer to other already existing methods. However, most of these papers not exclusively consider the methods that are able to deal with ECP but rather consider the broader field of EC. Also, there is no classified overview in literature that provides deeper insights into what aspects of the various methods differ or are similar. Having such a classified overview at hand with methods that can handle ECP a quicker comparison and assessment of those methods can take place and can therefore save precious time. Hence, this work’s objective is to find methods that can indicate change propagation and to analyse how these differ to each. Therefore, the research questions to be answered are; (RQ 1) what methods in literature to EC propagation do already exist and (RQ 2) based on the findings from RQ 1, how do the so found methods differ to each other? Based on the definitions from Jarratt et al. [Jarratt 2011] and Conrat [Conrat 1998], ECs are in this work defined as modifications in forms, fits, materials, dimensions, functions, drawings or software of a product or component that has already been released during the production design process. ECs include the connected process changes and can be of any size or type, can involve any people, and can take any length of time. EC propagation, based on Tang et al.’s [Tang 2008] and Koh et al.’s [Koh 2012] definition, originates from the relationships or dependencies between items, such as between components, parameters, functions, etc., and describes the process by which a change to one part or element of an existing system configuration or design results in one or more additional changes to the system, when those changes would not have otherwise been required.

engineering change

literature review

change propagation


Sandra Helms

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management

F G H Behncke

Ludvig Lindlöf

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management

M C Wickel

N Chucholowski

Udo Lindemann

Proceedings of International Design Conference - Design 2014


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