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Applying Engineering Changes to the Shop Floor

Applying Engineering Changes to the Shop Floor


Engineering Change Notifications or (ECN)s are changes made to the product structure as an improvement or to introduce a new product. Along with ECNs, a change may arrive through Deviations or Deviation From Spec (DFS) which typically originate from the shop floor. The intention of the deviation is to handle unplanned part or process issues. These changes directly impact the quality of the product and therefore warrant proper tracking and implementation. The Assembly Planner (AP) software provides substantial capabilities to track and manage these changes through manufacturing engineering and onto the shop floor.

What How When

Figure 1. How Proplanner fits into the process


Proplanner’s Manufacturing Process and Execution sits in the middle of product Design and Operations. The typical flow of data from Product Design to Shop floor is shown in the image below.   

Proplanner Position

Figure 2. Proplanner Position


The dataflow shown in the position diagram is one of many possible configurations. Proplanner’s flexible architecture allows for multiple dataflow configurations.



Data Components

Key Feature

MRP – Proplanner

Bill of Process

  • Bi-directional exchange of BOP
  • Establish detailed industrial engineering data in Proplanner

MRP - Proplanner

BOM, Item Master

  • Use the MRP BOM and Item Master to update BOP in Proplanner
  • Update the BOP in MRP


Bill of Process

PDM – Proplanner - MRP

eBOM, Item Master

  • Receive eBOM and Item Master from PDM.
  • Update mBOM and Item Master and BOP and export to MRP

mBOM, Item Master


Bill of Process

PDM – Proplanner – MRP

eBOM, Deviations and Item Master

  • eBOM to mBOM to BOP to MES & ERP
  • Complete traceability of as-build data



Inventory Backflush


Managing Changes

There are two sources of change notifications in Proplanner - ECN and Deviations. Each change goes through the system via an MCO (Manufacturing Change Order).

  1. Engineering Change Notification - ECOs originate in PDM or Product Data Management Systems and are sent to Proplanner to allow the Manufacturing group to make those changes to the mBOM or Manufacturing BOM and related processes. The change may impact several groups at the plant and the MCO allows for including these groups through the workflow definition.

Deviation Management – Unlike ECOs, Deviations are created in Proplanner. They can be tied to BOM adjustments, part shortages, stock consumption and process changes. Similar to the ECO, a deviation is also mapped to a MCO workflow.


ECO Queue

Figure 3. ECO Queue


Deviation Queue

Figure 4. Deviation Queue



  • Every Engineering Change Order or Deviation is sent to an MCO workflow

  • The workflow takes the MCO to all the relevant groups in the plant

  • Each group has a list of tasks (checklist) to be completed before handing over the MCO to the next group

A typical workflow is shown here.

Typical Workflow


The workflows can be predefined or can be created on the fly. Each stage of the workflow represents a group or a function that is necessary in approving the change. Typical decisions are – is this a new part/purchased part, does this require paint, does this require fabrication, do I have tooling ready etc. Based on these decisions subsequent groups are selected. The MCO also presents a checklist to each group to show the list of tasks they need to complete. The check list can be test, yes/no or tables


  Select workflow part 1 Select workflow 2

Figure 5. Workflow MCO Settings


  • Review All New Parts on ECO- Assign Default Effectivity Date

  • Item Master Fields-Assign Stocking Type, Product Code, and Paint Code

  • Item Master Fields-WPS Remarks Field (as required)

  • Item Master Fields-Annual Volume Estimate

  • Item Master Fields-Engineering Work Task Number (as required)

  • Item Master Fields-Comments Field - to be populated into AQP comments or other comments as required.

  • Item Master Fields-BOP Comments Field

  • Item Master Fields-Identify new or changed Line set sheet codes

  • Create PPRs-Type in PN and Revision (Data Mgmt Tab, PPR Export Option) - then Export PPRs

  • Review Revised Parts-Confirm for GI and Identify Stocking Type

  • Review Revised Parts-Review Dwg impact on SOS/SOP (Time components of weldment to account for LT offset)

  • BOM Changes-Time In & Time Out Components of Assemblies

  • BOM Changes-Create New BOMs (MBOM from EBOM)

  • BOM Changes-Confirm Op Sequences are correct and move tooling from old BOM to new BOM.

  • Add to Anixter Hardware Report-Add hardware that goes to a new location to Anixter Hardware table

  • Impact on BOM-Identify new 9 digit PNs to add and Line-set Sheet Codes to be modified

  • Assess Impact on any Tooling-Note new tooling needed, or tooling needing changed

  • Write any tool orders required or order purchased tooling

Example of a Checklist


Documents Management

Each MCO in the system has a Documents tab that allows centralized documents tracking. Add/Change/Delete documents, Drawings, SOPs, Summary reports etc. can be attached to the MCO and allow each group to review and edit the same.


Document Management

Figure 6. Document Tab


Tracking Changes

The Change Order will likely impact both the mBOM and the Process as well as studies which reference them such as Work Instructions, Ergonomics Evaluations and Quality Assessments.


The BOM view in Proplanner compares the newly received eBOM to the existing mBOM in the system and compares the content of the two. This comparison then points out to the users of the Adds, Deletes and Changes (ADC) to the mBOM. Proplanner has a list of flags that highlight these changes.


BOM View

Figure 7. BOM View



Once the changes to the mBOM have been applied, the next steps would be to update the process. The consumption workbench in Proplanner allows the same. These changes could result in new process creation, deleting of existing process or simply updating existing process. The process of part Consumption is how the system connects the part changes to the process.

The workbench looks at the current processes and highlights where the part Deletes, and Changes need to be reflected and asks the user where the Adds need to be done.


Workbench View

Figure 8. Workbench View 


The MCO workflow also allows for users to designate a reference part number to the ADC parts thus allowing for a faster search of the processes that would be impacted. The system simply returns all the processes that have the reference part being currently consumed and makes the replacement decisions a lot easier for the engineers. In the image below, the part 47511342 needs to be updated on all processes that are currently consuming 47511343. By setting up the old part as a reference, the workbench will only pull in those activities that have the old part mapped.


Reference Item Mapping

Figure 9. Reference Item Mapping


The updated consumption data is then compared to the CAD model that was received with the. This comparison enables the system to highlight the new consumption and create the new as-built product. The comparison gives a visual to the manufacturing group and confirm if the process sequence is correct, the operator assignment is accurate and also allows the group to update the views and images tied to the process. These views and images are then published to the shop floor.

Click through the process tree to see the model being built

Figure 10. Click through the process tree to see the model being built.


Create multiple views of the product and save as the SOP image

Figure 11. Create multiple views of the product and save as the SOP image.


Shop Floor Notification

The final step of engineering change flow is to notify the shop floor operators of the change. The Shop Floor Viewer/MES application is a web-based application that can be easily viewed on the shop floor on multiple devices (including tablets, phone) or even on wearables (like Google Glass). The shop floor database is the downstream recipient of changes, involving both process and product.

When a shop floor worker signs on to the viewer and selects a station and position in that station (for stations with multiple operators), the system reviews that operator’s history at that station. Any new/updated processes are requested to be reviewed and acknowledged. This is typically done at the beginning of each unit (as each unit can be a different configuration) but can be setup to be displayed at the beginning of shift also.

Process changes for the operator to acknowledge

Figure 12. Process changes for the operator to acknowledge


Key Benefits of Engineering Change Management

  • Visibility of Change: Track the change from the point it is released by engineering till it is implemented on the shop floor.

  • Workflow and Traceability: Having a workflow with groups allows for reviewing the progress of the change at each stage.

  • Virtual build of product: Virtual build module allows validation of the BOM and Process.

  • Reduce the time to launch a change: By including all groups and validating the change at each stage, the time it takes to release a change to the floor is greatly reduced.


Releasing of engineering changes is an essential part of the manufacturing cycle. These changes impact multiple products on the line and therefore managing the implementation of these changes to the shop floor is an essential process. Proplanner’s MCO workflow feature allows for assigning these changes to the essential groups at the plant. The mBOM and Consumption workbenches along with the Virtual Build module streamline the process of authoring, validating and applying these changes. And our Shop Floor Viewer/MES ensures that the changes are communicated and acknowledged by the operators on the line and thereby closing the loop of applying the engineering change.

Watch our descriptive video on how ECN Processing works.


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