Search for the right BOM – I’m feeling lucky?

 I’d like to start  a wide topic for discussion – BOM. Yes, Bill of Material. This may seem like an old topic, I think, since most of the work that manufacturers do, starts from a Bill of Material (requirements) and ends with a Bill of Material (built/support/disposal). Therefore, my first question in the Bill of Material discussion is how to find right the Bill of Material in an organization? You, of course, know about the “I’m feeling lucky” button on Google start page. So, how many times have you felt lucky and found the right Bill Of Material with single click?

 My initial thought was to discover multiple types of Bill of Materials organizations manage today.

 1.     Concepts /Ideas –I’m not sure that there is a formal BOM here. But probably there is some relevance to existing BOMs in the organization.

2.     DesignCAD systems and other design systems are increasing their potential of showing and managing Bill of Materials.

3.     EngineeringPDM/PLM and other TLA (Three Letter Acronyms) systems are used here. But, I think, from a market share standpoint, MS Excel is the leader.

4.     ManufacturingERP is heavily presented in this space. Sometimes PLM supports the Manufacturing BOM. If ERP is not setup in the organization, manufacturing is supported by various homegrown systems and… by MS Excel.

5.     Supply chain – depends on the type of communication and various collaboration tools, CAD/Design/PDM/files and again…. MS Excel.

6.     Support and others – various systems for asset management, industry-oriented tools for product having long lifecycle, etc.

7.     Regulation – recently, there is a growing trend for support for various regulations. This leads to the question of how to manage a regulation Bill of Materials.

 While looking at this list, which I’m sure is not complete, I started to think about how I can find the right BOM for what I’m doing now for my role in organization. I don’t have an answer today, but I think, there is  some room for innovation.

 As I consider PLM Think Tank as a discussion place, I will be very glad to hear your voices as I will be continuing discussion on this topic in my upcoming posts.


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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