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How to find where a component is used in your BOM: Arena PLM vs. Spreadsheets

BOM With Components CircleIf you make a change to one of the components in a bill of materials (BOM), you need to know whether that component is called out in other assemblies (BOMs).  If you can’t identify every assembly that uses a component—it can result in faulty orders, excess inventory, and ultimately costly scrap or rework.

How do you find where a component is used in your BOMs in spreadsheets?

If you manage your BOMs with Excel or Google Sheets, you have to open each spreadsheet and manually search for the component. Keep in mind that searching in spreadsheets is no picnic and it’s easy to miss or overlook what you’re looking for. With global product companies or dispersed teams, you might have multiple engineers reviewing or trying to collaborate in spreadsheets and/or have multiple products with many revisions. Relying on teams to comb through the spreadsheets, identify the latest version is difficult and often results in errors documenting the current assembly or changes to the configuration.

How do you check where a component is used in your BOMs in Arena PLM?

When you select any component in Arena PLM, you can view the Where Used tab from the item record or the BOM (or aBOM) record to identify every assembly that contains the component. Here’s an example of the item where used view in Arena.

Item Where Used

Arena allows you to make redlines to BOM components, quantities, reference designators, and more. It shows you clearly what’s changing so that every person involved in the review and approval process can determine the impact of the change. And, if you want to see what changed between revisions, you can run a BOM comparison like pictured below to compare between one or more revisions.

BOM Comparison Screen Capture

When you include a component on an engineering change order (ECO), Arena automatically notifies you of other assemblies that reference that same component and provides you with the option to include those assemblies on the ECO before submitting it for review. Today’s sophisticated products require a BOM management solution that allows you to track component usage, revisions, pending ECOs, redlines, approved manufacturers lists (AML), and more. Native cloud solutions like Arena PLM empower your teams, making it easy to create, modify, and approve design changes in a single source of truth.

When comparing Arena’s BOM management capabilities with Excel or Google Sheets—it’s no contest. Arena’s where-used functionality helps you make informed decisions about which components you should use in your design without cumbersome searching through spreadsheets.

If you’re not ready to make the jump to Arena PLM with full BOM management capabilities, consider using our free BOM template.