Dynamics 365 – Engineering Change Management – Part 1 – General Overview

Today we will start a four-part series on the Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management feature called “Engineering Change Management” which brings structure to product change. Why use Engineering change management? Companies that specialize in make-to-order or highly complex items and those with a global footprint can use the Engineering Change Management process to increase visibility in the product lifecycle, improve control of changes and usage and reduce manual processes in product management. The product lifecycle processes include:

New Production Creation

Product Change Process

Product Retirement

Change… no one likes it; however, change must happen to improve products and services provided to customers. What is change? Change, as a verb, is defined as:

“[to] make (someone or something) different; alter or modify”

“[to] replace (something) with something else, especially something of the same kind that is newer or better; substitute one thing for (another).”

In this first blog of the ECM series, we will focus on terminology, license configuration, and feature enablement in D365. Engineering change management in D365 allows your company to manage product versions, lifecycles, and changes.

Let’s get through some terminology in D365. These terms are defined as they pertain to the ECM feature in D365.

  • Engineering Company – Legal Entity that creates and maintains all products
  • Operations Company – Products are released to these Legal Entities for transactions
  • Product – a unique item to be produced or purchased
  • Variant – a change, like color, between the same base product that does not affect form, fit or function
  • Version – a change, change button to switch, between the same base product that affects form, fit or function
  • Change request – systemic way to document idea or suggestion, but does not ensure change will occur
  • Change order – approved change request by product manager, structured process to create a new product, variant, or version
  • Product Lifecycle State – as defined by the diagram below
  • Common Change Request and Change Order attributes:
    • Engineering Change Categories – Change, Issue, new developmentEngineering Change Priorities – Emergency, Urgent, Routine
    • Engineering Change Severities – Very high, High, Normal, Minimal
  • Additional Change order attributes:
    • Engineering Change Reasons – Customer complaint, Internal QA, New design insight
    • Received Customer Approval – NA, Handled, In progress, Requested
    • Material disposal codes
      • ferrous metal dust and particles
      • synthetic machining oils
      • machining sludges containing hazardous substances
    • Environment health and safety codes
      • British Approvals Service for Electrical Equipment in Flammable Atmospheres
      • Canadian Standards Association
      • Restriction of Hazardous Substances

Now that our D365 vocabulary has been defined, let’s talk access. To use D365 Engineering Change Management, you or your D365 partner must enable the feature from the Feature management workspace. For those businesses using D365 version 10.0.25 or newer, the feature is turned on by default. An optional feature that can be used in conjunction with ECM is the Product dimension version. This feature allows for the tracking of the version dimension of the products in D365 transactions. Next are the required configuration keys. While in Maintenance mode, enable the configuration key for the main feature using the ECM checkbox. Expanding the node of the ECM checkbox will show options to include the Attribute search and Change management for process manufacturing. Further in the feature list, you will find the Product dimension – Version checkbox. Select this configuration key if the Product dimension version will be used. Once all selections are made, turn off Maintenance mode and sync your database as required. Additional features related to ECM are available from the Feature management workspace once the database sync is complete. These features are on by default as of D365 version 10.0.25.

Feature name in feature managementDescription
Enable change management on existing productsThis feature lets you convert existing products to engineering products so that you can start to manage them by using engineering change management.
Engineering notifications for productionWhen a product is changed in engineering, it might be important to notify production about those changes. In that way, production workers can take appropriate action, such as component substitution, bill of materials (BOM) replacement, or route replacement. This feature lets you notify production about changes to products that are being produced.
Improved attribute inheritance for Engineering Change ManagementThis feature simplifies the management of attributes for finished goods or intermediate items. When this feature is turned on, it’s easier to identify all the attributes that belong to an item, and you can select the attributes that should be propagated from that item to its parent item. This feature is useful when, for example, one component of a finished good is fragile, toxic, or flammable, because you can easily identify the fragile, toxic, or flammable attribute and propagate it to the finished good.
Product readiness checksThis feature lets you set up readiness checks for standard (non-engineering) products. Use product readiness checks to ensure that each product is fully defined, and all the required policies are configured before the product is made available and used in transactions. If you disable this feature after you’ve used it for a while, all existing readiness checks for standard products will be deleted.
Manage changes to formulas and their ingredientsThis feature lets you track changes to formula ingredients, co-products, and by-products.
Variant generation for engineering productsThis feature lets you generate variants for engineering products, based on available dimension values.

Now that you have terms and access, what is next? Keep following our blog series on D365 – Engineering Change Management to find out more details about New Product Launch, Product Change Process and Product Obsolescence.

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