Any change to a connector design can cause undesirable and unanticipated results. In order to manage the risks associated with design changes, a well-established and effective process is required.

 

Plan A or Plan BThere are many possible motivations for changing the design of a connector. Typically these would include:

  • Need for enhanced performance by a specific customer or the general marketplace (competitive performance)
  • An unexpected problem with the connector design discovered after release of the connector to the marketplace
  • Reduction of the connector manufacturing cost (price competition)
  • Discontinued materials used to make the connector

The request for a design change may be submitted by sales staff on behalf of the customer(s); by the manufacturing department to improve ease of production; the design engineers; or any other interested party.

Any change to a connector design can cause undesirable and unanticipated results. In order to manage the risks associated with design changes, a well-established and effective process is required.

ISO Requirements

ISO 9001-2008, clause 7.3.7 states the following:

[box]“Design and development changes shall be identified and records maintained. The changes shall be reviewed, verified, and validated as appropriate, and approved before implementation. The review of design and development changes shall include evaluation of the effect of the changes on constituent parts and product already delivered. Records of the results of the review of changes and any necessary actions shall be maintained.”[/box]

The foregoing requirements are particularly important for changes made after the connector design has been validated and has been released for sale to customers.

Evaluating the Design Change Request

A team is established to review, evaluate, verify, validate, and implement the change. The company procedure will grant the authority to individuals to approve the change. The following scenario may describe a possible example of a connector design change request:

[box]The connector company has successfully launched a cable connector which mates to a standard header with 20 contacts. The product line was expanded to include headers and cable connect