Engineering Change Order (ECO)
An engineering change order (ECO) is a documentation packet that outlines the proposed change, lists the product or part(s) that would be affected and requests review and approval from the individuals who would be impacted or charged with implementing the change. ECOs are used to make modifications to components, assemblies, associated documentation and other types of product information.
ECOs are also called an "engineering change note", engineering change notice (ECN), or just an engineering change (EC). In a typical system development cycle, the specification or the implementation is likely to change during engineering development or during integration of the system elements. These last-minute design changes are commonly referred to as engineering change orders (ECOs) and affect the functionality of a design after it has been wholly or partially completed. ECOs can compensate for design errors found during debug or changes that are made to the design specification to compensate for design problems in other areas of the system design. In case of electronics, ECO may also be needed for replacement of electronic components due to previously used versions reaching their end of life. When improperly managed, engineering change orders can vastly increase costs. However, in some cases ECOs are done to reduce production costs in already shipping products by starting using cheaper components that became available after the initial product release.