bom.com Unveils Plans to Centralize Bill-of-Materials Management Through Web-Native Technologies

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Foster City, Calif., Feb 12 - bom.com, the first company to enable collaborative product development through centralized, web-native bill-of-materials (BOM) management software, today unveiled its plans to solve the crucial BOM management issues central to small- and mid-sized product design and manufacturing businesses. bom.com provides the tools these companies need to reduce development costs, speed time to market, improve profitability and unleash new growth.

bom.com enables companies to centralize BOM data — the entire set of information (including components, vendors, manufacturers, correspondence, CAD files, drawings, pricing, lead times, purchasing and product change documentation) that defines a final product — into one repository of information available during the very earliest phases of the design process and throughout the entire product life cycle.

“The BOM is the nexus of product development for a manufacturing company — from concept through volume production,” said Michael Topolovac, president and CEO, bom.com. “Our vision is to replace disparate, single-user spreadsheets and miscellaneous documents with a single repository of BOM information. Once BOM data is centralized, true collaborative product development is possible.”

bom.com’s product is a powerful, web-native application for creating whole-product BOMs, managing product changes and collaborating across departments and the supply chain during product development. bom.com plans to serve the 140,000 manufacturers in the United States with less than $250 million in revenues who are currently managing their BOM data through semi-manual, inefficient methods such as spreadsheets. For these customers, bom.com will deliver better communication and collaboration throughout the entire extended enterprise; an easier hand-off from design to manufacturing; better cost visibility into a product early in the design cycle; and retained knowledge for use on future products and projects.

bom.com is also an efficient solution for product design consultancies who develop products as an outsourced service to large manufacturing firms. For these companies, bom.com addresses the challenges associated with short product development cycles, communication with clients, and the need to hand off a BOM as the final deliverable. bom.com is currently working with IDEO, the world’s largest design consultancy, as an early beta user of its solution.

“The pace of product development is continually accelerating,” said Larry Shubert, IDEO studio manager. "bom.com allows our design teams to develop products more efficiently by significantly improving communication with our clients. In addition, it gives us an easy and consistent way to deliver final BOMs and documentation packages to our clients or their contract manufacturers. With bom.com we can provide higher value to our clients and enable faster product development cycles.”

According to Aberdeen Research, a leading market research firm, the vast majority — 70 percent or more — of a product’s cost is determined during the design and development phase before going to manufacturing. With bom.com, companies have BOM data organized in one unified repository beginning with the conceptual phase of a product’s design. By gaining early visibility into a project’s cost of goods sold (COGS), companies can make strategic decisions about the product at times when changes can be easily implemented.

While Fortune 1000 companies have started to enjoy access to powerful technologies to help them realize greater concept-to-manufacturing product lifecycle efficiencies, these solutions have been expensive and, as client-server solutions, have required significant IT resources for set-up, administration and maintenance. Additionally, solutions from companies such as Agile (Nasdaq: AGIL) and Matrix One (Nasdaq: MONE) that incorporate BOM management have focused primarily on the hand-off to manufacturing and the manufacturing phases of product development. Until now, no company has developed web-native tools that centralize BOM management starting from the concept development phase.

Small- and medium-sized businesses have not been able to afford the available technologies and therefore have been left with manual processes for managing their critical BOM data.

“As an engineer in the trenches, I know the pain of managing BOMs,” said Mark Siminoff, product manager, Specialized Bicycles, a high-end bicycle manufacturer. “Every time my group designs a new product, we might have 10, 20 or more Microsoft® Excel spreadsheets floating around, changing as our ideas change. And those changing spreadsheets have to be continually shared with our supply chain – including our contract manufacturers overseas. With bom.com we finally have a tool that does away with the hassle of duplicate BOMs and lets us focus on doing our jobs – getting great new products to market before the competition.”

In order to ensure integration into the entire product design process, bom.com plans to initiate strategic relationships with other product development tool vendors currently serving the same target market. The first such relationship is with SolidWorks Corporation, the leading provider of 3D mechanical design solutions to small- and medium-sized manufacturers, to ensure that SolidWorks® software users can enjoy seamless integration of BOM data with bom.com.

“SolidWorks customers generate bills of materials to be shared with manufacturing and the supply chain,” said Robert McGill, manager of the SolidWorks Partner Program. “We are pleased to welcome bom.com as a new Solution Partner and are delighted that bom.com has chosen SolidWorks World User Conference to preview its upcoming product.”

bom.com will offer a sneak preview of selected features during the SolidWorks World trade show in Orlando, FL, from February 12-14, 2001. The company plans to initiate a pilot user program during the first quarter of 2001. It will make its product broadly available in the second quarter of 2001, at a monthly $50-$100, per-user subscription fee. Interested users can visit www. bom.com or contact bom.com directly at 650.687.3501 for further information.

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