What is a Parent Item?

Parent Item Definition

A parent item refers to an upper-level assembly (or bill of materials) that contains child items that are used to build the assembly. Child items are the lower-level components that are required to build a parent item. Example: A bicycle (parent item) is made up of a seat, frame, handlebar, and two wheels (child items).

What is a Parent Item


Why do companies need to use a parent item?

Parent items enable companies to have a clear understanding of the interdependency between different lower-level components and subassemblies in the bill of materials. This is critical, as it informs engineering and manufacturing teams how to adequately source parts and accurately build the finished product within a designated timeframe and budget.

What is the difference between a parent item and child item?

A “parent” is the end item or final product in the bill of materials, whereas “child” items are the raw materials, components, and sub-assemblies used to build the finished product.

What is an example of a parent-child relationship in a bill of materials?

A wheelbarrow (parent item) is made up of a wheel, two legs, two handles, and a bucket/tray (child items).

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Read our best practice articles on effective item and document management.