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Manufacturing Change Request (MCR)

Quick Definition

A Manufacturing Change Request (MCR) is a change request used to propose a new change to the manufacturing process that does not require a change in the design to the product.

What is a Manufacturing Change Request (MCR)?

A Manufacturing Change Request (MCR), similar to an engineering change request (ECR), is a formalized and structured document used in the realm of change management, particularly in the context of manufacturing processes, product development, and product design. The MCR serves as the initial step in the change management process, providing a systematic means for stakeholders to propose modifications, revisions, or improvements to manufacturing processes, product designs, or related aspects of product data.

Key stakeholders, including team members from various departments such as engineering, quality management, supply chain, and the shop floor, play a crucial role in initiating an MCR. The MCR template typically includes fields for documenting the proposed change, the rationale behind it, and its potential impact on the manufacturing process, product quality, and overall product lifecycle.

The workflow of an MCR involves several essential steps:

  1. Initiation: An MCR is initiated when a stakeholder identifies the need for a change with an engineering change order (ECO) or manufacturing change order (MCO), whether it involves optimizing manufacturing processes for continuous improvement, addressing quality management concerns, or enhancing product design to meet customer satisfaction requirements.
  2. Documentation: The proposed change is thoroughly documented within the MCR, including a clear description of the change, its objectives, and the specific areas of impact. This documentation is essential for assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed change.
  3. Review and Approval: The MCR undergoes a comprehensive review by key stakeholders and is subject to an approval process. The review ensures that the proposed change aligns with the organization's strategic goals and quality standards. The involvement of change control boards or designated teams may be part of this process.
  4. Feasibility Assessment: The feasibility of implementing the proposed change is assessed, taking into consideration factors such as resource availability, timeline constraints, and potential risks.
  5. Implementation Planning: If the MCR is approved, an implementation plan is developed. This plan outlines the steps required to implement the change effectively, including any necessary adjustments to production processes, supply chain operations, or product data management.
  6. Change Control: Effective change control mechanisms are put in place to ensure that the change is carried out according to the approved plan and does not deviate from the desired objectives.
  7. Audits and Monitoring: Audits and monitoring mechanisms may be employed to track the progress of the change implementation, measure its impact, and identify areas that require adjustment.
  8. Document Changes: All relevant documents, such as manufacturing instructions, product specifications, and quality management procedures, are updated to reflect the approved change.
  9. Continuous Improvement: MCR initiatives often align with the principles of continuous improvement, aiming to enhance manufacturing processes, product quality, and customer satisfaction over time.
  10. Customer Satisfaction: Ensuring that the proposed change contributes positively to customer satisfaction is a critical consideration, as it can directly impact the organization's reputation and competitiveness.

Manufacturing Change Requests are closely linked to the broader concept of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), where changes and revisions to products and manufacturing processes are managed systematically throughout the product's lifecycle. PLM tools and software may be used to facilitate and track MCRs, providing visibility and traceability.

In conclusion, Manufacturing Change Requests (MCRs) are a fundamental component of effective change management within manufacturing organizations. They provide a structured and documented approach for stakeholders to propose and assess changes to manufacturing processes, product designs, and related elements. By following a well-defined MCR process, organizations can ensure that changes are implemented efficiently, with minimal disruption, and that they contribute positively to continuous improvement, quality management, and customer satisfaction.