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BOM Management: Can You Do It Better?


The Bill of Materials, or the BOM, can often become troublesome for manufacturers and suppliers, but the problem is not as much related to what the bill of materials is in actuality, but more related to its management. There is no escaping the fact that while seemingly simple, maintaining the bill of materials is a tedious and yet mindful job which requires a lot of time. So, is there a way to speed up BOM management so that it doesn’t consume so much time and effort? The answer is yes, but not every small organization is fully aware of the tools that are at their disposal today.

Understanding BOM: What is It?

The bill of materials will vary in type, depending on what the company is manufacturing exactly, but by definition, it can be considered a blueprint of any given product. It consists of a list that has each and every one of the raw materials, assemblies, components, sub-components and everything else that is needed to manufacture a particular product, along with the exact quantity of each item needed to create that one unit.

Why BOM Management Becomes a Problem Sometimes

The complexities will, once again, vary depending on the scale and nature of the production, but in general, maintaining a constant log of changes and updates in design, inter-personnel communication, program timing, etc. can all become a jumbled mess to deal with, especially if you do not have a dedicated department for it.

It is Possible to Improve BOM Management, Even for Smaller Establishments

Larger corporations have their own departments for part library maintenance, but this may seem like a huge problem to overcome for smaller organizations and especially new start-ups who do not have sufficient resources to dedicate towards maintaining component libraries for accurate BOM production. Although, it doesn’t always have to be so.

Utilize Component Search Engines

There are dedicated search engines for finding parts and components with the proper intelligent data attached to them and smaller companies can save a huge amount of time by using the search engines to find what they need. Everything is maintained and kept updated at all times, so all you need to do is search for the required product, and then add it to the BOM.

For example, if you are working with furniture, you can find Living Accents manufacturer parts on Octopart. You will find every little detail related to the products and components on each listing.

Simply add them to your bill of materials and all of those parts will have the information necessary to autogenerate the full bill of materials later on. It basically takes out the hassle from BOM maintenance altogether, since these details are coming in straight from the manufacturer itself.

As an additional measure, it might be a good idea to check up on how many people are editing the BOM for a particular product. Fewer people usually results in a faster and more fluid BOM maintenance. An admin will also be necessary to regulate editing capabilities and assign them to the right people, as and when required.


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