How to Improve BOM Collaboration?

I think everybody cares about Bill of Materials. This is quite fundamental for everything we do in Product Lifecycle Management. I had the chance to discuss many topics related to Bill of Materials < When BOM seeks the right enterprise nanny… >, < Is it time for a synchronized Bill of Materials? >…  Today, I’d like to focus on the aspect related to how we can collaborate better with BOM. But before we go into that, what does collaboration actually mean? Simply said, collaboration and collaborative tools should let people work together to achieve common goals. In the context of BOM collaboration – collaboration happens around the Bill of Materials. There are many tasks people do with BOMs – create, review, change etc… but the issue at hand is how can we improve the collaborative work of people in the scope of BOM?

I’d like to outline 3 main areas we need to work on in order to improve Bill of Material collaboration in the organization.

1. Context. This one focuses on how to find the right Bill of Material. If I have the right BOM, I can carry out my operations correctly. PLM is focused on a single point of truth. So, this should work for Bill Of Materials. We need to have easy access to the Bill of Materials stored in PLM (or other) system.

2. Role. Bill of Materials is different for different people in the same organization. When I access a BOM, I have a particular role that needs to be reflected. So, when a designer and supplier accesses the same BOM, they need to see different stuff.

3. Time. When you look at a BOM, it’s important to be able to collaborate/work together during a particular timeframe. Time is important when you work on a currently developed product make a change to an existing but already-built product. Being able to have many time-oriented views is an important aspect of Bill of Material Collaboration.

I will be glad to read your comments – let’s discuss this.


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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