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Why You Need Bill of Materials Software

Why You Need Bill of Materials Software

Those in the manufacturing and engineering industries will rely on Bill of Materials (BOM) daily. Modern BOM software has simplified the creation of BOM and made the process much more accurate. Here’s a look at why you should invest in this innovative software.

What is BOM?

This is a comprehensive list of the parts, assemblies, and materials needed for the manufacture of any product. A Bill of Materials will also include the instructions for the sourcing and the use of the listed material parts – the what, where, how, and when for material acquisition. The creation of the BOM is the starting block for manufacture.

What is BOM Software?

Gone are the days of manual BOM input and management. Modern software capabilities have made the material planning process much more accurate and user-friendly. Bill of Materials software allows for much more oversight, so you’re benefiting from streamlined operations, error reduction, and boosted profits overall.

What are the Types of BOM?

When considering investing in BOM software, it’s important to consider the type of BOM being created so that you’re investing in a solution that fits your industry. Software options can be found across a range of BOM types, including:

1. Engineering Bill of Materials (EBOM)

The EBOM provides a list of components designed by an engineering team, including the mechanical or technical depictions of the product. These are typically developed using electronic design automation (EDA) or computer-aided design (CAD) tools.

2. Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM)

The MBOM list will include the items needed to complete a manufactured product ready to be shipped. The information included will be individual parts, as well as parts required for processing before assembly. The MBOM information is disseminated to all departments involved in the manufacture. This could include enterprise resource planning (ERP), material requirements planning (MRP) and manufacturing execution system (MES).

3. Sales Bill of Materials (SBOM)

This lists the details of products before assembly, with the list of finished products and items for development separated. The completed item is then managed as a sales item rather than an inventory item.

4. Configurable Bill of Materials (Matrix BOM)

This form of MBOM allows companies to include differentiating variables according to size, colour, and other parameters. While the bulk manufacturing will remain the same, the final version may differ from customer to customer, so elements such as volume, branding, and packaging must be adjusted.

What are the Methods for Representing BOM?

There are two primary methods for BOM representation; single-level BOM and multi-level BOM. Here’s a look at how the two differ:

Single-Level BOM

For less complex products, the single-level BOM is ideal. The assembly and sub-assembly are shown once alongside the corresponding quantity required for manufacture. This BOM method does not specify the relationship between assemblies and sub-assemblies.

Multi-Level BOM

If you’re working with more complex products, then you’ll require software with multi-level capabilities. This BOM provides more details about the product, including assembly and sub-assembly information and the relationship between parent and child products.

What Features are included in a BOM?

When compiling a Bill of Materials, there are certain features that you will require, and it’s important you know which of these features is essential to your business when choosing the BOM software.

  • Part Name: The name of each part in the assembly for ease of identification.
  • Part Number: Assign a number to each part to avoid duplication.
  • Phase: These indicate at which stage in the manufacturing process the part is. This allows for quick tracking and determining project timelines.
  • Description: This gives a detailed description of each part where names and numbers won’t suffice.
  • Quantity: This records the number of parts needed for assembly or sub-assembly to direct manufacturing decisions.
  • Procurement Type: This documents how each part is purchased.
  • Unit of Measure: This clarifies the measurement that will be used, whether it’s denoted as ‘each’, or an actual unit of measurements such as centimetres or inches. Consistency in measurement is vital.
  • Reference Designator: This details where each part fits into the BOM.
  • BOM Notes: This keeps any additional notes, so everyone using the BOM is kept informed.
  • BOM Copies: This allows you to save time by copying and amending the existing BOMs.
  • Costing: This allows you to calculate the cost for every item in the BOM, with the capabilities to multiply the cost by the quantities needed.
  • Document Management: You can attach documents to each item which is beneficial when personnel need to access such details.
  • Import Functionality: You can import CAD designs into the BOM.
  • Scrap Management: Calculate the quantity of scrap materials and assign costs.
  • Supplier Management: Allocate your preferred BOM supplier for parts.
  • Sundry Items: Include additional items needed for manufacturing, such as glues and fasteners.

What to Consider when making a Bill of Materials

A reputable supplier of BOM software will provide you with a thorough grounding in the operations and various features available. They’ll also provide ongoing customer support and training when required. However, to give you an idea of what to expect when you’re creating a Bill of Materials.

The Right Time to Create a BOM

You’ll need to create your BOM at the start of a product’s life cycle. But you can draw on MRP and ERP software to migrate files that allow you to complete the BOM data. Whatever data you draw on, it’s best to input this upfront so that your BOM is as accurate as possible.

The BOM Users

Whether your Bill of Materials is being used by only a few, or by many departments across a corporation, you’ll need to tailor the information accordingly. Who is accessing the BOM will determine the amount of information and details that you include.

Consider All Details

To make your BOM as accurate as possible, you need to consider all the manufacturing process factors. This means considering items like the consumables – tape, glue and labels – as overlooking these elements could impact the final delivery. If you can draw on existing software with the relevant details – great; otherwise, it’s worth taking the time to input all this information.

Manage Your Changes

Your Bill of Materials is a constantly evolving organism that needs constant updating and tweaking as factors change. Being a dynamic document, you will need to implement an effective change management strategy so that any amendments to the product can be updated across the system. You should consider whether the BOM software has features such as simultaneous edit so that changes are registered in real-time by multiple people to speed up communication and collaboration. Some of the anticipated amendments you would expect include:

  • Pricing changes
  • Part substitutions
  • Packaging changes
  • Vendor changes
  • Material substitutions
  • Material shortages
  • Delays

Strategise Access to the System

Forming part of your change management strategy is managing who has access to what in the BOM. Without a clear guideline, you’ll have too many people inputting information, leaving room for error and confusion. When using BOM that forms part of MRP or ERP software, there are restrictions in place, so users will need permission to access and amend certain areas. If you’re operating in a smaller organisation, you can assign people to input changes, alternatively, restrictive settings will need to be in place.

Don’t Forget to Audit

Your BOM is intended to create quality products at the end of the day, so it’s important that the BOM process is properly monitored so that no irregularities occur. You need to formally audit the BOMs so that any errors can be identified and rectified as a matter of urgency. It’s worth considering software that has history, revision, and change management so that previous revisions remain in your history log. Some changes that might be overlooked are:

  • Units of measurement
  • Vendor changes
  • Part substitutions
  • Iteration changes
  • Cost changes

What are the Benefits of a BOM?

Your Bill of Materials is designed to create a quality finished product that is shipped off to a satisfied customer. A quality-made BOM will provide many benefits to your business. These include:

  • Financial savings: Your BOM will include accurate costing in terms of purchasing amounts. A multi-level BOM will ensure the COGS (cost of goods sold) calculations are accurate. At the end of the day, this means enhanced profits.
  • Purchase planning: You can use BOM to plan purchases in the correct quantity, matching the arrival with the just-in-time delivery.
  • Real-time monitor: All adjustments to the process will be noted, updated and accessed in real-time, so you’re on top of the complete process from start to finish.
  • Improved workflow: Because you’re planning for all the most important functions carefully and accurately, you’re minimising room for error and improving the workflow.
  • Inventory control: Accuracy in your BOM means you have better control of your inventory, allowing you to eliminate shortages and reduce inventory stocks and holding costs.
  • Waste reduction: With the volume and quantity accurately measured, the risk of waste is drastically reduced.

By working with software specialists, Omni Accounts, your business operations will be taken to the next level with manufacturing BOM that is simple to use, has expandable features and offers exceptional value. Contact Omni Accounts today for more details.