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For a Successful Startup, Don’t Forget the Fundamentals

back to basics in letterpress type When you’re starting up, it can be difficult to know which business tools are essential to success and which can be put off until you have more capital and better market security. But there’s one place where you can’t afford to cut corners—establishing a fail-safe method to manage your product data. Navigating a product launch without a reliable and scalable product data management tool (and no, Excel doesn’t cut it) can have disastrous consequences that can crop up at any stage along the production process.

The top 5 indicators that your business needs a bill of materials (BOM) management tool

Identifying where to spend and where to save can be a tricky call to make. Below are 5 common red flags that indicate it’s time for your business to look into a BOM management tool.

  1. You handle hard-to-track designs and frequently changing costs.
  2. You deal with manual processes like parts requests, ECO/ECN documents, and deviations.
  3. You manage multiple islands of product data coming from teams like mechanical and electrical design, purchasing, and quality.
  4. There are several channels of communication between groups like ODMs, outsourcing partners, international branches, or various web portals.
  5. Any changes to the product record that are not caught early might result in costly product recalls and scrap.

Table 2: Top 5 Challenges to Successful Process Improvement


All Respondents

Cultural resistance to change, in terms of user acceptance of new processes. 41%
Inability to agree on best practices, obtaining company/department consensus. 27%
Lack of a clearly defined process improvement plan. 24%
Lack of an existing formal product development process. 23%
Difficulty in determining how to effectively calculate payback on process improvement efforts. 20%

Source: Aberdeen Group, September 2008

So what’s the real reason you aren’t using a BOM management tool? In 2008, the Aberdeen Group conducted a study to find out why companies adopt (or don’t adopt) process-improving software. The biggest reason why many companies choose to forgo a better process tool may surprise you. Aberdeen found the biggest resistance to adopting a new process tool is cultural resistance within the organization. What are the reasons you have put off the adoption of process improvement tools?