What Are Manufacturing Change Requests, and Why Are They Important?
Manufacturing processes involve a multitude of moving parts, from design and development to production and delivery. With so many variables at play, changes are inevitable.
A manufacturing change request (MCR) is a formalized process manufacturers use to document and manage changes to their products, processes, or documentation. By following a structured MCR process, manufacturers can minimize risks to product quality, safety, and compliance while improving efficiency and productivity.
What is a manufacturing change request?
In simplest terms, a manufacturing change request is a formal, written request outlining a change in either the manufacturing process or the design of a product. Change requests usually are made to ensure products are made to the highest quality standards and comply with various regulations. A manufacturing manager could also make a change request to confirm the production process is as efficient as possible without sacrificing quality.
Typically, change requests arise in one of two situations: after a thorough review of a production process or based on downstream feedback. For example, if quality control shows a higher-than-average number of rejected units, the production manager might write a change request specific to a particular defect. The MCR then becomes a formal change order — the work order resulting in the desired change.
Types of manufacturing change requests
When it comes to managing project changes, different change requests are often made by various departments. While they all have the same goal — to remedy a potential or known problem — they’re all a little different in the type of change they seek to initiate.
- Document change request (DCR). A DCR is a formal request to alter a document or report, such as technical specifications or user manuals. Think of an update to a standard operating procedure (SOP) or a change in policy needing formal documentation.
- Engineering change request (ECR). This request targets changes to an existing product or design due to possible issues or improvements arising during the premanufacturing or testing phases.
- Manufacturing change request (MCR). Often simply referred to as a “change request,” this request is made to alter the way a product is manufactured. It’s typically used to improve efficiency and reduce costs during production.
- Field failure request (FFR). Made when a product or service fails, this request relies on data to investigate the cause of the failure. It is frequently supported by downstream evidence.
- Supplier corrective action request (SCAR). A manufacturer can initiate a SCAR when a supplier’s product or service doesn’t match the required, agreed-upon standards and must be corrected.
Why are change requests important?
Change management is a critical component in manufacturing, regardless of the type of goods you produce. Using manufacturing change requests the right way can improve not only your production processes but also the quality of the product you deliver to customers.
MCRs help manufacturers solve problems and minimize potential risks. By addressing issues such as product quality, safety compliance, and customer satisfaction, you can avoid future problems. Successful implementation of MCRs has the potential to improve efficiency and productivity, leading to cost reduction and time savings.
In short, regularly using MCRs in manufacturing is crucial for mitigating risks, improving efficiency, and getting the best possible product into the hands of customers. They are an essential part of continuous process improvement.