Bill of Materials (BOM) Management: Data, Lifecycle, Process

Bill of Materials (BOM) Management: Data, Lifecycle, Process


In my recent post about bill of materials – Bill of Materials (BOM): process or technology challenge? I touched the variety of topics related to BOM organization – multiple BOMs and need to manage BOM located in different systems. My main question at the post was around how to make the work with multiple BOMs easier? The problem is tough and the answer is not easy and straightforward. While I was googling the internet to find what others think about this problem, my attention caught TeamCenter PLM blog post – Bill of Material Lifecycle. This posts presents multiple BOMs as a result of changes in the product lifecycle – design, manufacturing, service. Here is a passage I captured:

It is interesting to discuss on BOM lifecycle and its evolution from conceptual stage to full fledge manufactured product to maintenance. In this blog I will explain through life cycle of BOM across the product life cycle done as in house development. The BOM lifecycle can varies based on overall process of company for example some company might only manufacture as order hence they As Build design BOM and they directly CREATE Manufacturing BOM from it.

All together, it made me think that concepts of data, lifecycle and process is often  can create a confusion and overlap. I want to clarify these concepts and present how they can be combined together to manage single BOM in the organization.

1- Data

Data is the most fundamental part of Bill of Materials. It combined from data about product, assemblies, parts and relationships between them. Fundamentally, assemblies and components are connected together to form the result data set representing a product. This data set can be presented in many ways – tabular, hierarchical and many other forms (eg. graph). Data about parts leads us to the place where information about product, assemblies, components, supplies and manufacturers is managed. This information can reside into one of the following systems – CAD, PDM, PLM, ERP, SCM and others.

2- Lifecycle

Lifecycle defines the difference between bill of materials of the same product, but associated with different product development periods (stages). Here is the example of some typical  stages – concept, design, manufacturing, service. However, these stages are not the same for many companies and can reflect industry, specific business practices, regulation and many other aspects. It is very important to capture relationships between Bill of Materials of the same product (assembly) in different lifecycle stages. Missing lifecycle stage connection can cause a lost of very important product lifecycle information and product development traceability. In some regulated industries such

3- Process

Process is a set of activities that defines Bill of Materials data as well as changes in a lifecycle. Sometimes process can be very informal- save of assembly and parts using design system. It will product design BOM data. However, with the complexity of product development and specific organization, some processes are including changes of data, lifecycle stages as well as people involvement. If you think about ECO process, it might change few bill of materials, lifecycle stages as well as product/part information.

What is my conclusion? The problem of bill of materials management must be separated into three distinct problems: 1/ how to create data with BOM? 2/ how to control product dev stages and differentiate the same BOM across the lifecyle; 3/ how to provide tools to manage process and people to work with data and stages. All together, the problem is complicated. However, separated into these pieces it can help you to build a strategy for your BOM management regardless on tools you are going to use. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • Nagashetty

    I am Nagashetty and below detail is my point of view which presently i am working.
    The problem of bill of materials management must be separated into three distinct problems:

    1. How to create data with BOM?

    Ans: Let us consider one assembly BOM materials management and having sub assembly BOM’s. Create data as the sub assembly BOM parts with detail specification sheets. This assembly BOM contains one full product line model detail by using this BOM, manufacturer can build the model without any deviation or problem.

    Ex: If any problem occurs in sub assembly, then we can give the markup with BOM updation, respective

    Engineer can update and updated sub individual BOMs can maintain top assembly in BOM

    management cycle or top assembly.

    2. How to control product dev stages and differentiate the same BOM across the lifecyle;

    Ans: Collect the all the information about sub assembly BOM’s which affected under first time construction with detail markups. By using these markups/instructions, we can update at once and before second time production, top bom need to update with all latest sub assembly boms. We can avoid the product deviations.

    Again any problem comes in sub assembly or individual part or drawing then we need to create markup but to take necessary action at the time and these created markups update before third time production of the top level BOM.

    3. How to provide tools to manage process and people to work with data and stages.

    Ans: Very simple please use any PLM tool which will help to manage process and people to work with data and stages.

  • beyondplm


    thanks for sharing your point of view! You are right, in principle. The complexity of process you explained appears when you have multiple product lines, configurations and modules. PLM tools are managing it differently and it has high level of implementation diversity. It makes PLM implementation complicated.

    Best, Oleg