Single Bill of Materials in 6 Steps

Single Bill of Materials in 6 Steps

Last week I started the discussion about about modern BOM challenges. That discussion made me think more about the idea of unified and consistent Bill of Materials that can be shared across the company (single BOM). In my view, this is a clear paradigm shift from what we know today as “multiple BOMs”. How to move from well-known multiple BOM paradigm to single BOM? If you are PLM manager, IT or implementation service company, you need to be prepared for the discussion that will involve all organizational stakeholders. In the post, I’m trying to identify steps in this discussion. I identified 6 steps – structure, part numbers, extensions, end items, ECO and BOM sharing with some comments.

1. Structure: Phantoms, Modularization, Planning Bills

The “beauty” of  multiple BOM strategy is in segmentation. In your silo, you decide how to organize Bill of Material. Historically it gave a lot of advantages. By trying to combine it together, you can face discussions about how to create BOM compartment to fill a particular process and/or organization needs.

2. Part Numbering

One of the fundamental conversation about BOM is related to Part Numbers. In the past, discussion about part numbering schema raised lots of controversy. Many companies historically tied to using so-called intelligent part numbers. Be prepared to switch towards something more easy and straightforward. The process of Part Number assignment is also very important.

3. Specific extensions to the BOM

Each company has their own little secrets about what to add/exclude items to BOM. In most of the companies, this is a place that will be very hard to transform. The discussion about adding “nuts and bolts” as well as some other specific materials to BOMs can be endless. Be prepared.

4. End items

Large amount of end items can make your BOM strategy very cumbersome. The sales and business people need to take a part in this discussion. In most of the cases, you can delete end items and switch to the strategy to use options for the same purpose.

5. How to deal with ECO?

The question of dealing with engineering changes is critical. You need to have an ability to make a change easy without restructuring of BOMs (or, at least, with a very small effort). The ability to find a way to present ECO process will be critical. Another critical process to clear is new product introduction.

6. BOM sharing

The effort to create a single BOM experience is useless if you cannot share BOM holistically in an organization. If people are not accessing the same model, the same data at the same time it will destroy the idea of a single BOM.

What is the conclusion? Depends on the nature of your business, one of these topics can become a key and showstopper for your organization to transform into the single BOM. Some of you will disagree of structures and some you will not have a system to share BOM across the organization. The multi-BOM paradigm evolved during many years as a result of fundamental organization silos. However, these days, the efficiency how organization can resolve the problem of connected cross department processes is a dominant one. BOM is a lifeblood in these cross-department processes. If you switch to a single BOM, you have an opportunity to optimize processes. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • Ketan

    To your point 1: Different BOMs
    My take on it is very simple: Product is a Parts list
    we talk ownership – the ownership is for the “structure” and NOT for
    the “part list”. So I envision that all users for a system there is
    clear understanding of list of parts that makes a product. Every entity
    be it Engineering, Manufacturing, Sourcing, Service, etc – may view the
    list in its “own way”. This “own way” is the “structure” thru which we
    need to filter the parts and create a view for the end users.

    Point 2: Part Numbering
    I will play to the strength of the organization and if it feels that smart numbering is the way then so be it. It does bring in old school terminology but sometimes its worth it. Change is coming as the whole paradigm shifts for engineering / sourcing.

    Point 3: Specific Extensions
    This is crucial but may need a different approach. But also I feel this is more related to Engineer to Order products specifically ordered in bulk.

    Point 4: I would like to understand more of this point. Is it different that extensions? and how is sales associated to the decision? Can you provide a specific example to understand it?

    Point 5: ECO
    Agree this becomes very very crucial and maybe a big bottle neck in how it is implemented to the overall efficiency of the change process and who can change what at what level and on what kind of BOM structure.

    This does invoke a lot of thoughts, thanks for sharing.

  • beyondplm

    Ketan, you are very welcome! thanks for sharing your thoughts and insight. Couple of comments / answers below:

    1- it sounds compelling. Without going into details of implementation, the ability for a person to see “his” view is important.

    2- Old school part numbering is possible solution. IMHO, classification can be better. Also, if you think the difference between smart PN and classification is practically invisible.

    4- imaging you sell 300 variants of a electrical equipment system (or anything else). You don’t wont to create 300 top level BOMs, but you probably want to have one with options.

    I hope it clarifies some of your questions / points.

  • Ketan

    Thanks for the quick reply and yes it does clarify.

    Point 3 is debatable :o) as I feel to service the 300 variants you should know which one has what parts on it. One with 300 may will not matter unless you are going to get a new one for defective product.

  • beyondplm

    yes, #3 is debatable and it depends on how company is building product lines, manage configurations and maintain business. It might be a case for ETO situations.

  • abhijit patil

    How can I restructure my BOM (as of now it is EBOM Only) to facilitate making of CKD SKD?

  • beyondplm

    Are you asking how you do it using a specific BOM tool?

  • abhijit patil

    We work on complete vehicle asm and use Teamcenter. But I think it is not about a tool. I think if we restructure a EBOM in “Some specific” way, it would help creating CKD SKD in better way. So I am asking about “Some Specific” way or ways of restructuring EBOM.
    As of now, my EBOM is similar to CAD BOM (as assembled in CAD – multi level structure) and I know it is complex to manage.

  • beyondplm

    I see your point. I haven’t seen BOM tools specifically focused on KDX work. I’d be checking Airbus PLM implementations and learn how they produce BOM for aircraft assembled outside of Europe. Can you share what is your biggest problem of CKD/SKD management in Teamcenter?

  • abhijit patil

    Suppose I have 3 variants in my Program.
    We use 150 % BOM (EBOM) in Teamcenter.
    to manufacture 3 variants, we create 3 MOBM (by changing the variant conditions and adding few more things).

    Problem 1) We need to release extra part numbers for semi finished components also (part numbers for stage components which are not part of my existing plant MBOM).

    2) (suppose I have to send kit for 50 vehicles of each variant) CKD logistic works on Push-oriented Principle. At CKD plant, we collect all components and do the packaging of all variants in one go. My packaging optimization tool gives me solution – which component (with quantity) to be filled in which container. Now these containers are not part of my BOM. How Do I manage this Container Object (I guess it should on BOM Level) in Teamcenter?

    3) …

    4) …

    many more problems. I think it is not a problem of Teamcenter but problem of BOM Structure.

  • beyondplm

    Abhijit, thanks for these examples. Yes, I also can see it as some logical issues related to how structure BOM. I think some semantic relationships are missing in the solution. Something that connect components to your BOM. Does it make sense?

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