Creating a Bill of Materials
What is a Bill of Materials (BOM)?
A bill of materials (also known as a BOM or bill of material) is a comprehensive list of parts, items, assemblies and other materials required to create a product, as well as instructions required …
What is a Bill of Materials (BOM)?
A bill of materials (also known as a BOM or bill of material) is a comprehensive list of parts, items, assemblies and other materials required to create a product, as well as instructions required for gathering and using the required materials. The bill of materials can be understood as the recipe and shopping list for creating a final product. The bill of materials explains what, how, and where to buy required materials, and includes instructions for how to assemble the product from the various parts ordered. All manufacturers building products, regardless of their industry, get started by creating a bill of materials (BOM).
Because the bill of materials pulls together all sorts of product information, it is common that several disciplines (design and engineering, document control, operations, manufacturing, purchasing, contract manufacturers and more) will consume data contained within the BOM record to get the job done right. In fact, engineers and manufactures rely so heavily on BOMs they their own special subsets called the engineering bill or materials (EBOM) and the manufacturing bill of materials (MBOM). The BOM guides positive results from business activities like parts sourcing, outsourcing and manufacturing, so it is important to create a BOM that is well organized, correct and up-to-date.
And for companies that outsource manufacturing activities, it is especially important to create an accurate and revision-controlled bill of materials. Any time the BOM is handed off to a contract manufacturer (CM) or supplier, it should be correct and complete—otherwise you can expect production delays.
Intelligent BOM Management for Today’s Product Innovators
Next Generation Bill of Materials Management
For product companies working with distributed teams and supply chain partners, collaborating on the latest bill of materials (BOM) is critical to reduce production errors and shipping delays.
In this white paper, we identify the problems with traditional, manual approaches and explain why Arena’s Product Realization Platform provides a more intelligent and comprehensive way to control, share, and release accurate BOMs and related product information.
Bill of Materials (BOM) Management topics covered:
- BOM management challenges such as change, revision and compliance management
- Communication issues with project teams, suppliers and contract manufacturers
- Comparison of manual vs. automated BOM management tools
What to include in an effective bill of materials
Because one of the main functions of the BOM is to ensure that the product is built right, it is best to include specific pieces of product data in the BOM record. Whether you are creating your first bill of materials or are looking for ways to improve how you create a bill of materials, here is a high level list of information to include in your BOM record:
Documenting all this information in your BOM will keep business activities and manufacturing tasks on target. In addition to capturing this information, you should also consider the following questions when creating a bill of materials.
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4 key questions you must answer before creating a bill of materials
- Will you document consumables in your BOM record? Many manufacturers second-guess the decision to include glue, wires, fasteners and other non-modeled parts like labels and boxes in their BOM record. But if the part does not make it into your BOM, it might not make it into your product. So take the time to document these parts.
- How will you attach files to your BOM record? As you create your BOM, keep records of supporting documentation like CAD drawings, part datasheets and work instructions. It is best to also associate these files with their specific BOM level items.
- Who is going to use the BOM record? It is important to include as many details as possible in your BOM. You may never interact face-to-face with some of the people utilizing your BOM, so it should convey all the information they might need throughout the product’s lifecycle.
- How will you reconcile your BOM record? Your BOM record may go through several iterations during the design phase, so you should have a way to distinguish between multiple BOM record versions. That way, when it is time for production, you can be sure each person who uses your BOM is consulting the correct version.
An accurate BOM supports efficient manufacturing processes
Creating a bill of materials is not only a necessary step in the product development process, it is also what makes your product design a reality. Before you create a BOM record, it is important to consider who will utilize the information and how you will maintain and manage all associated product documentation like part datasheets and CAD files. Develop more efficient manufacturing practices by capturing detailed part information when creating a bill of materials.