Cloud and Next Generation of BOM

by Oleg on October 19, 2011 · 9 comments

Few days ago, I was talking about some interesting patterns of PLM and ERP implementation. In a nutshell, the integration between PLM and ERP systems presents a significant level of implementation complexity. The need to synchronize between PLM and ERP storage is a complicated process that different among many companies. In many situations, service providers hired to make this implementation.

Earlier, this week, I stumble around Arena Solution website. The following white paper caught my attention – Beyond BOM 101: Next Generation Bill of Materials Management. Take your time and read this 8 pages document. It is worth reading. Despite the fact Arena is bluntly marketing their cloud BOM management tools in this paper, I found it explaining very well all challenges a company can face with regards to the management of Bill of Materials and related activities. According to Arena’s opinion, the following picture represents a very typical situation when BOM created by multiple people involved into the process of the project.

To answer the challenge, Arena presents another picture presenting next-generation bill of materials tool that bridges the design and manufacturing world. I tried to abstract the Arena name on this picture. The picture made me think about how the solution solves the problem.

I found that this architecture contains the same PLM-ERP implementation pattern that creates a high level of implementation complexity and requires a significant effort to be spent in order to be integrated between engineering Bill of Material in PLM and manufacturing BOM in ERP.

Now, let me get back to the Arena tools. Arena is suggesting “cloud BOM” solution. Does it mean the integration between BOM in Arena and manufacturing BOM in ERP will be different? Frankly, saying, I don’t know the real answer. Arena’s white paper didn’t say a word about how to integrate Arena BOM with ERP.

What is my conclusion? I think, cloud and other web-based solution can introduce many advantages. One of them is to streamline BOM access by members of the team. Think about BOM as a Google spreadsheet and you probably can get excited by how it may change the way you work. However, cloud technologies introduce new challenges (especially in the field of integration) that need to be solved. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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