Posts tagged as:

BOM

BOM-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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plm-global-bom-supply-chain

Business is going global. It is not only for large manufacturing companies these days. As a result of cost pressure and searches for new market opportunities, manufacturing companies are looking how to optimize their businesses. Distributed engineering, manufacturing and suppliers environments – reality of manufacturing these days.

However, outsourcing and future development of supply chain also brings additional challenges. Distributed environment and supply chain collaboration bring additional level of complexity. Combined with growing regulatory requirement it resulted in significant pressure on manufacturing companies to provide transparency of product information for regulatory purposes.

CSRWire article Complying with Supply Chain Transparency: Underlying Issues Lead to Regulation Backlash brings an interesting perspective on the need of manufacturing companies to expose bill of material information across supply chain. Here is a passage I captured:

Currently, there is a gap in the product information shared between the two [contract manufacturers]. The nature of that model is such that retailers either pick from a catalog or provide product specifications and tolerances for manufacturing but never see the finished product’s bill of materials.  That becomes a challenge for documenting environmental and social compliance requirements, as the data stays solely in the contract manufacturer’s product lifecycle management system.

It made me think about how to make product information available downstream in every manufacturing organization and across supply chain. Majority of PLM systems deployed today are focusing on the needs of engineering departments. It serves product development and implementation of engineering-manufacturing collaboration. Which leaves supply chain and contractor manufacturing out of focus. Below, I outlined some functional and business requirements PLM system and vendors can follow to solve the problem of BOM transparency across supply chain:

1- PLM systems need to be deployed beyond engineering organization and become easy available for suppliers and contractors.

2- Bill of Material tools need to support product information beyond development and engineering. It raises the question of manufacturing bills and sub-contractor bills.

3- PLM business models should be adapted to serve new type of users – suppliers and sub-contractors.

According to CSRWire article, manufacturing companies are ready to pay a lot of money these days to solve regulatory compliance issues. It becomes very sensitive for small and medium size organization that cannot afford additional regulatory expenses and extensive paper work related product transparency. I liked the following quote explaining that:

If large corporations are struggling with compliance and transparency, how can small- and medium-size businesses manage these regulations and pressure? Many simply can’t afford it. It puts small and medium businesses at a competitive disadvantage. It’s a time, cost, effort and resource issue. The corporations will figure out a way to do this cost effectively. The bigger companies can help evolve the tools, systems and practices. I don’t think anyone has a comprehensive solution right now. The small- and medium-size businesses still have to comply but if we keep piling compliance cost on top of compliance cost, it becomes unsustainable.

What is my conclusion? There is an opportunity to solve regulatory problem of manufacturing companies of all sizes (and specifically small manufacturers) by providing cloud PLM system making Bill of Material transparent for everybody in supply chain of contractors and manufacturers. Two main challenges here – robust BOM tools capturing manufacturing and contractor information and easy to deploy tools with affordable licenses. The opportunity is on the table. The note for PLM vendor strategists. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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PLM-ALM-software-BOM

I remember a conversation that happened to me a decade ago with fellow engineer from one of leading telecom companies. The question I asked him was – how do you know what version of software to load into device? The answer was- “Hm… actually we don’t know much about it. It happens magically”. I have to say this company is not doing very well these days. No surprise.

The importance of software lifecycle management is growing enormously. Modern manufacturing products contain mechanical, electronic and software components. To manage data lifecycle for all types of components is getting more and more important.

There are quite many software packages these days to manage software lifecycle. Some of them belongs to respectful software companies and some of them are open source packages. The software category called ALM (Application Lifecycle Management). Navigate to the following wikipedia link if you want to learn more. Here is the definition I captured there:

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is the product lifecycle management (governance, development, and maintenance) of application software. It encompasses requirements management, software architecture, computer programming, software testing, software maintenance, change management, project management, and release management.[1][2]

Recently PLM companies started to be more interested in how to manage software lifecycle too. I can track back PTC MKS acquisition. Also, I was able to Google multiple links about TeamCenter and ALM tools integration. I don’t want to endorse any specific package, so I won’t provide links here. However, you can easy Google them too. I didn’t find any that officially supported by Siemens PLM.

I want to go down from formal ALM marketing buzzwords and speak about Bill of Materials. How software BOM is different from Engineering BOM? Can we use similar tools? Can we share the same set of BOM management practices when it comes to software compared to components? How we can present overall product lifecycle? Browsing various forums, I found an interesting passage on Jboss forum about how to use bom with Maven:

A bom is a so called bill of materials – it bundles several dependencies to assure that the versions will work together. JBoss has boms for many of it’s projects, including Arquillian and the JBoss AS itself.

The statement made me think how actually engineering BOM can be different from software BOM in terms of product lifecycle management as well as how both software components can (or should) appear in unified bill of materials and, even broadly, should we have unified BOM containing mechanical and software components?

My attention caught The Manufacturer article Silos changing: PLM and ALM for Smart Products. Article speaks about how to merge together both application lifecycle and “traditional product lifecyce”. The following passage seems to be interesting:

Until now, software engineers have tended to use their own design management tools such as Rational DOORS for requirements management; Rational ClearCase for Software Configuration Management and HP Quality Center for Testing. These tools are often bundled together as the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) category.  Physical product design teams for the other disciplines have used Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools for design management.

We can confidently say that no single vendor provides every design management and design development tool needed in a single suite. That means there will have to be a best of breed approach. There are several issues to consider. Where is the master of the product requirements maintained? Should the change management of software and physical artefacts be combined in a single system? How will derived requirements such as signals and dependencies between software and hardware components be managed? How will product variants be handled?

PTC’s purchase of MKS and its Integrity product line provides, for the first time, a single vendor PLM and ALM solution.

The following link leads to PTC Integrity software white paper (formerly acquired MKS). I downloaded ebook for free. It doesn’t contain any word about software bill of materials (BOM). There are bunch of quite useful information about value proposition behind ALM. I was looking for something that can hint how we can have unified product lifecycle and representaiton of information between Product Link and Integrity. Here is what I found.

PTC Integrity has an open architecture that integrates disparate tools into a streamlined engineering process, allowing orchestration of engineering change and collaboration across the technology supply chain. With PTC Integrity, engineering teams improve productivity and quality, streamline compliance, and gain complete product visibility, which ultimately drive more innovative products into the market.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t say much about combined BOM usage.

What is my conclusion? I wonder if manufacturers are interested to have unified product lifecycle management for both (more traditional) mechanical and electro-mechanical parts combined together with software bill of material. From traceability and completeness standpoint it sounds reasonable and logical to me. However, open publications didn’t bring much examples of such usage. Just my thoughts. I’m looking forward to discuss it online.

Best, Oleg

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PLM and Magic of MBOM planning

January 21, 2014

Manufacturing BOM (MBOM) is an interesting topic. After all design and engineering operation,  MBOM defines how product is going to be actually manufactured. While most of PLM / ERP debates about MBOM are going around “who owns what”, the most fascinating part that I found in MBOM is related to the nature of manufacturing planning. The […]

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PLM, CMMS and BOM Hot Potato

January 8, 2014

There is no person in manufacturing universe that can underestimate the importance of right Bill of Material information. However, I can see people responsible for material management in a special league for the context of material management and BOM. Doug Wallace of Life Cycle Engineering (www.lce.com) speaks exactly about that in his article The importance of […]

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The Ugly Truth of Multi-BOM Management

December 17, 2013

Bill of Material (BOM) management is always fascinating topic. It sparks so many debates and introduce a large set of diverse opinions. I can even say that I have a special passion to speak about BOM on my blog. If you want to catch up on my recent posts about BOM, you can try these […]

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Will SaaS and Open API solve BOM Management problem?

September 26, 2013

I like the way BOM discussion usually sparks. From my experience, “BOM management” topic has the ability to ignite conversation almost immediately. Therefore, I wasn’t too much surprised when I got blog attention from Hardi Meybaum, CEO of GrabCAD – most buzzed about company in Boston if you trust Venturefizz. Here is the article – Why […]

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BOM: Apple of Discord between PLM and ERP?

September 17, 2013

BOM Management. Multiple BOM Views. These topic are always drives lots of discussion in a real life and online. There is no question about importance of BOM in product development, engineering, manufacturing… Literally, you cannot do anything without Bill of Materials. Few weeks ago, I came with the topic that generated a very good and […]

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Will PLM manage enterprise BOM?

August 26, 2013

Bill of Materials is a huge topic. It is hard to underestimate the importance of BOM management in general as well as specifically for PLM systems. I’ve been blogging about BOM many times. Use this custom Google search to browse my previous beyond PLM articles about BOM. One of the topics I’m debating already long […]

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PLM, Bill of Materials and Silo Syndrome

April 25, 2013

Are you familiar with term “silo”. When it comes to enterprises and large organizations, we often can hear about different silos of information. Here is the definition of information silo as it appears in Wikipedia. An information silo is a management system incapable of reciprocal operation with other, related information systems. For example, a bank’s […]

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