Bill of Materials (BoM) setup and management is one the most influential levers to improve product development efficiency and overall programme outcomes. The fourth instalment of our ‘PLM Essentials’ series covers the various types of BoM available, how to select, effectively implement and maintain a BoM that can help relieve engineers of time-consuming data management tasks.
What is a BoM?
Building a complex engineered product – like a car, for example – requires the accurate design, tracking and integration of thousands of components. To facilitate this, manufacturers use a Bill of Materials (BoM). A BoM is, essentially, a detailed list of raw materials, items, components and assemblies in a product, alongside detailed instructions on how to make it.
BoMs are vital to ensure consistent quality and manage the engineering evolution and process. They are also important for tracking the different versions of a product, including the various options that customers can specify.
When it comes to product development, any organisations use an Engineering Bill of Materials (eBOM). These are structured from a design standpoint, rather than a manufacturing perspective and are used to manage the working effort of engineers. This can be set up in a variety of ways, including:
- Programme BoM
- Model BoM
- Variant BoM
- Sub-variant BoM
Selecting the right BoM
Depending on the programme, product, resources and organisational structure, some BoMs can offer significant advantages. When selecting a BoM, consider its usefulness, whether it is system agnostic, and how it impacts admin burden.
An ideal BoM system:
Allows engineers to work on one programme without complication from other programmes
- Has clear boundaries to its purpose and design
- Can be used across all programmes underway
- Can integrate with a PLM and ERP system to drive BoM accuracy
- Can reduce administration load outside of the PLM system
BoM selection in action
The guide below explains the purpose and types of BoM, their characteristics, advantages, and risks. This is illustrated with a customer case study, which describes the practical implementation of a Programme BoM for an electric vehicle manufacturer.
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