The nature of engineering change in a complex product development cycle

William Rowell, Alex H.B. Duffy, I.M. Boyle, Masson, Nick, Babcock Marine, Rosyth, EPSRC and Babcock Marine (Funder)

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The complex dynamics of modern business mean companies are constantly exposed to rapid and radical change. The way by which a company copes with change, can act as an insight into its propensity for sustainable profitability and hence predicted longevity. In complex product development cycles, engineering change must be managed as efficiently and effectively as possible. This paper presents a case study of one hundred engineering changes, taken over a sixty seven day period, of a complex product development cycle, during the detailed design phase of the project. It establishes the specific engineering change process utilised as a reactive process, which takes a mean of 126 days to complete its impact analysis phase and compliments this with a review of change stimuli and effects. It was found that the stimuli behind change are frequently not understood, with 68.4% reasons being classified as 'other'. The most effected entities were found to be the bill of materials, baseline and structural changes respectively; however it was found that each specific stimulus had a unique effect profile, which differed from the cumulative effect profile for all change stimuli.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Event7th Annual Conference on Systems Engineering Research - Loughborough University
Duration: 20 Apr 200923 Apr 2009


Conference7th Annual Conference on Systems Engineering Research
CityLoughborough University


  • engineering change management
  • change stimulus
  • change effect

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