Change control and configuration management - When to create a new model/part number?


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Having a "discussion" amongst product development teams....when making a change to a current product (add a feature, minor design changes, etc.), when is it necessary (or best practice) to change the associated model number of the product as well? What criteria do you consider in your process? Obviously, maintaining traceability is the critical need. We do not currently have a process/procedure that defines when a new model (or part number) is required for a change and have some bad examples of significant product design changes that retained the same model number in our history. In my experience, consideration is given to interchangability (is the new component/device interchangeable with the current component/device), does the change modify the form/fit/function of the device, is the change visible to the user, etc. Looking for what criteria you use and how you guide product development teams and marketing - if anyone has a template SOP to get us started, that would be great! Thank you!
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