ACE2019 – BOM management and PLM nirvana

ACE2019 – BOM management and PLM nirvana

I’m coming to Aras PLM event (ACE2019). It has been a long time since I visited ACE event in person. Eight years ago I visited ACE2011 and my conclusion was this article – Aras lines up against Windchill, Enovia, and Teamcenter. Community-oriented approach, openness and Aras technology took Aras to a very interesting position in PLM industry these days. Thank you, Aras for inviting me and I look forward to learning more about recent Aras PLM development.

Earlier today, my attention was caught Aras article  – Achieving PLM Nirvana written by Jill Newber. The article speaks about the challenges of BOM management – single BOM, multiple BOMs, multiple views of a single BOM.

So many engineering disciplines throughout the enterprise play a critical role in product development, and each one often relies on its own, domain-specific, view of the product’s Bill of Materials to author and interrogate product information. Traditionally, one way to manage these diverse needs has been with a single BOM—an overloaded bill of materials containing information from engineering, design, and manufacture—that uses filtering and calculations to serve up different views based on the user’s role.

Which reminded me one of my discussions about an opportunity to manage a single BOM with views few years ago during my PI conferences in Munich – How to develop single BOM strategy. Here is one slide from my presentation:

Aras is clearly following one of these paths by providing also multiple views and a federation approach.

Aras PLM enables users across multiple engineering disciplines to view and contribute to the product’s definition by using a representation of the product’s data that matches their unique perspectives and practices. Domain-specific industrial applications included with Aras PLM present unique data, change processes, workflows, lifecycle states, and collaboration capabilities purpose-built for authoring and interrogating product information in each supported discipline—while keeping that data connected to the parts and assemblies it relates to in one central, authoritative product bill of materials. Change is managed independently throughout each process and team, but when change impacts other teams upstream or downstream of the new information, those teams can be flagged and made aware of the new information, to ensure visibility before the change is advanced.

However, the most important part of Aras article in my view is related to the connectivity of engineering and manufacturing. EBOM vs MBOM or actually how to manage both EBOM and MBOM in a more efficient way.  In my view, manufacturing BOM is the next cool thing in PLM. It comes out of the battle over mBOM ownership.

Manufacturing Bill of Materials drives disputes in manufacturing. Where it belongs? How to support MBOM? Is it part of ERP or PLM?  Is it a piece that normally fails between chairs of engineering and manufacturing?  Aras article doesn’t provide all answers on these questions.

Transforming an eBOM to an mBOM for the side-by-side management of two separate but connected bills of material can result in tenuous integrations between them. That’s because this approach requires accountability and reconciliation to ensure that manufacturing processes include every part in the eBOM. Then, when a change is introduced into one BOM, it must be communicated to the other to ensure that the two stay in sync.

Aras PLM can support either a single- or multi-view BOM process—depending on the needs of the business. But, with either approach, it maintains a single source of truth for the product’s evolving data while allowing for users across many engineering domains to create and manage product information unique to their engineering discipline.

What is my conclusion? EBOM and MBOM are the foundation of the product development process. An efficient connection between both engineering and manufacturing worlds is an absolutely necessary element to streamline processes and connect information. I look forward to learning more about how Aras is managing EBOM and MBOM at ACE2019. Stay tuned for the recipe of detailed PLM nirvana. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud-based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.

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  • Transforming an EBOM into an MBOM in Aras works fine. But from my POV one of their biggest challenges is still proper visualization. Aras lacks of features for end users to track their EBOM/MBOM changes without huge amount of clicking through the various items.
    The standard tool doesn´t work well for complex BOMs and lacks of standard features like comparing distinct properties or making a diff.
    But I hope they will use some of their newest features (e.g. Graphs) to improve this one.

  • Angela, thanks for sharing your thoughts! Visualization of changes is indeed a big issue. Agree with you. Best, Oleg

  • Thanks Oleg! Visualization is just one open task. There is a huge difference between ‘works under laboratory conditions’ and ‘works in daily live’. I really hope Aras will spend more time for improving their existing software and not just focus on putting more and more half-done features into it.
    It would not be wise to sacrifice PLM fundamentals and standard applications just to make the platform ‘look’ more powerful on marketing slides.

    I’m more or less one of the most contributing members of their community, so I definitely have a quite positive attitude towards their software. I am never afraid about customization, but it really hurts me how much potential they throw away with the EBOM / MBOM. Of course that’s my personal POV, so maybe my text just represents a insignificant minority.

  • beyondplm

    @disqus_hx4hJqZNOT:disqus thank you for sharing your insight. Are you coming to ACE2019 conference by any chance? I’d love to have an opportunity to discuss more (oleg @ beyndplm dot com)