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Decision-Making Assistance in Engineering-Change Management Process

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3 Author(s)
Habhouba, D. ; Comput. & Electr. Eng. Dept., Univ. de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada ; Cherkaoui, S. ; Desrochers, A.

Effective engineering-change management (ECM) is a real challenge in mechanical engineering industry and manufacturing companies. Computer-aided design systems are usually connected to other systems such as ERP or product data management, but currently this integration does not provide effective means to manage engineering change (EC). While communication between multidisciplinary teams working on a project is known to have a significantly positive impact on the ECM, the communication between disciplines is generally performed solely through message exchange. Experts could feel the need to meet to agree on the requested changes, which in turn translates into longer design and manufacturing processes. There is a need for a system that assists human experts in making decisions about ECs. Such a system will considerably reduce the processing time following a change-request procedure. This paper proposes a collaborative tool named EchoMag, which assists designers and experts during the change-management process. The proposed system ensures the coherence of data between the various disciplines involved in the change process. EchoMag also assists experts in making decisions by proposing alternative solutions when change requests are not agreed upon. Software agents were used to implement EchoMag for which a prototype was developed. Results of the implementation are discussed.

Published in:

Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 3 )