Putting Together a Bill of Materials for the Fashion Industry
A Bill of Materials (BOM) for the fashion industry is an invaluable tool for reducing waste and remaining within budget. This article explains what needs to be included in your fashion BOM and why.
What is a Bill of Materials in Fashion?
Any Bill of Materials, whether for fashion or another industry, is the complete list of items required for manufacturing the product. In fashion, your BOM will include the list of raw materials, as well as the associated quantities and costs for manufacturing clothing, shoes, accessories – whatever the fashion item.
What Should be Included in the Bill of Materials?
When compiling a fashion Bill of Materials, it’s important that it’s comprehensive and accurate so that all required material is available when it’s needed, and the assembly process runs smoothly. Any inaccuracies can result in the halt of production, thereby increasing operating costs as missing material has to be located or ordered. Some of the items included in a fashion BOM are:
– Product Name
Starting with the most basic, every piece of material within your fashion BOM must have a unique name that allows you to differentiate it from other parts, without the need for references.
– Product Code
In addition to the name, each item of your BOM requires a unique product code which also allows those involved in the manufacturing process to easily identify parts.
It is good practice to include the name of the individual responsible for sourcing the product, the date the product was sourced, as well as the supplier’s name and details.
– Life-cycle Phase
It’s also important to know what phase each part in your BOM is at within the manufacturing process. That means you’ll need to identify whether it’s currently ‘in production’ or ‘yet to be approved’ so you’re able to keep close track of what’s happening at each phase.
– Product Details
In any fashion BOM, there are likely to be similar items and it’s necessary that these are clearly identified. This means that alongside part name and number, you should include a comprehensive product description. You can include the product quality, product specification, and product colour here.
– Item Quantity and Size
You’ll need to specify the quantity of the materials in the manufacturing assembly so you can keep track of what’s been used and when, as well as the relevant product size.
– Unit of Measure
Uniformity in measurement is vital across the entire Bill of Materials so you need to determine which unit of measurement will be used. Will it be the metric or imperial system? Will you use terms such as ‘each’ or rather number specifiers? This must be established early on and can be used to indicate zipper and material lengths, among other things.
– Procurement Type
It’s wise to identify which items are bought ‘off-the-shelf’ and which ones need to be manufactured according to specifications.
– BOM Level
Having a BOM hierarchy is also incredibly helpful, so it’s worth allocating a ranking to each product in the assembly line.
– BOM Notes
It’s also possible to include any additional information about materials by making notes alongside the product in the BOM. This can certainly enhance accuracy and allows for quick identification.
The total cost of the raw material should be included in your fashion Bill of Materials for accurate budgeting.
What Are the BOM Options?
There are effectively two BOM options that you will have to decide upon:
1. Single-level BOM
This is a basic list of materials needed for the fashion industry, where there are no complex processing steps and sub-assemblies.
2. Multi-level BOM
You’re more likely to use a multi-level Bill of Materials for the fashion industry as this contains all the materials and quantities in each step. This allows for much more accurate costing.
Why Do You Need a BOM for Apparel?
There are so many benefits a Bill of Materials brings to the fashion industry, beyond the improvement to the overall production process. By implementing BOM software you’ll enjoy:
– A Customised List
The BOM gives you a comprehensive overview of the raw materials, quantity and type, as well as the supplier and details. This makes replacing these materials that much simpler and you don’t run the risk of running low on supply!
– Decreases Chances of Loss
This customised, sequential list will also minimise the chance of missing items in the production process.
– Improved Planning
Because everything is conveniently located in one place, you can better forecast project requirements, and better determine project timeline and workers needed. This makes for better project planning.
– Better Budgeting
One of the most convenient ways to ensure you remain firmly within budget is through a fashion BOM. It allows you to determine profit margins and outline a pricing strategy.
– Cohesive Working
Because of the way a BOM works, you’re able to get all the departments on board, working together as one unit rather than competing. This is because everyone needs to provide input from design, procurement, and manufacture.
– Standardisation in Manufacture
The manufacture of any garment is a lengthy process with many steps – providing several high-risk areas. With your BOM, you’re outlining, step-by-step, how the item is manufactured from raw material to final product, thereby standardising the quality and ensuring consistency.
What Else Is There to Consider in Fashion BOM?
You now have a thorough briefing of what is needed in your BOM, and why you need the BOM for fashion, but we want to ensure you don’t miss anything! Here’s everything you should consider when putting together your BOM.
– BOM Management
There are lots of people who will need to be involved in the creation of the Bill of Materials, so you need to decide who will have access to your BOM, the level of access they will have, and how you will track changes and create identifiers for different versions.
– Itemising Consumables
Don’t forget to include your mass-quantity consumables such as glue, wire, labels and boxes. This will minimise inaccuracies in your manufacture costing.
– File Attachments
Your BOM is likely to need supporting documentation such as computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and data sheets which should be attached and clearly annotated.
– Fashion BOM Software
Possibly the most integral part of the process is determining the software you’ll use to create and manage your fashion Bill of Materials. Working with industry experts, like Omni Accounts, you can be assured you’ll receive the necessary support and work with the best software for your needs.