Guide to a Perfect BOM Management
A Bill of Materials(BOM) is a document which lists all the raw materials, assemblies, components and subcomponents of a product along with additional details such as cost, manufacturer etc.
Each product has its own unique BOM and several products have mini BOMs; this means that individual parts of the product can have their own BOMs if they are manufactured in-house.
BOMs are extremely crucial for today’s businesses as it is key in maximizing efficiency among different parts of the organization.
It allows different departments to have a free flow of information and to avoid problems such as restocking inventory of retired assets, not being able to find alternatives to different parts, losing valuable data on production costs etc.
All of this leads to a waste of resources on obsolete goods and losing time for the finished product to arrive at stores.
As corporations become more service-based and automated systems continue to reduce time lags in the production line, it has become mandatory for all firms to include a BOM for almost each and every product, whether it be a new product or a brand.
Key features of a BOM
For a BOM to be effective in collating, categorizing and distributing information between different sectors of the organization, it has to have information updated very fast and have clear and concise details included.
Here are 4 key things to look out for in a BOM:
- Make a list of all the different types of information you are going to include. This can include: the unique part number of each component, the part name and its description, manufacturer name, procurement type (whether it’s been purchased or refined), quantity of said component, any alternate parts, projected costs, revision levels, any necessary CAD file availability, notes or comments, etc. Also you can display the assemblies in order of priority – some parts require more care as they might be more fragile or expensive. Those end up being the most vital among all the other parts. There may also be a risk analysis reports of all the compounds added, along with reports on product change notices(PCN), environmental regulations, lead time and pricing and so on.
- Verify all of the data and the changes being made. Communication becomes key in ensuring that all the input is legitimate and not based on false results. Misinformation can mean the engineering department of a tech company sends the wrong amount of a silicon chip, for instance, to the manufacturing department, or the manufacturing department asks for a set of transistors instead of silicon chips from the engineering department. Mishaps like these account for a significant percentage of the revenue lost, so reducing the frequency of such instances will be of paramount importance. Changes must also be tracked: alterations and their records must be kept, detailing who changed what and when. The most updated version must always be used. Thus, labels securing the latest version must be placed accordingly.
- Restrict the number of people who can directly edit the document. Most employees should be given read-only access to the BOM to avoid the spread of misinformation caused by human error. Only a select few people should be given the direct access to edit the files, preferably a group of responsible people to whom all the information comes through. Creating a unique identifying code for these editors – just like the unique part numbers of components – also aids to double check any missing information or any changes made. Furthermore, there should be a moderator in charge of overseeing who edits these documents and whether that information is correct or not. In this way, accountability in ensured for everyone.
- Automate your system as much as possible. An important distinction between manual and automated BOMs is that the discrepancies of human errors are reduced significantly. Aside from that, some people find tasks such as these very menial, so replacing them with AI and redirecting them to departments with more tangible projects is a much better division of labor where employees are also more productive. This reduction in maintenance efforts severely reduces the cost of a company. It can also allow the document to be available online in a cloud-based network or be integrated into a materials requirement planning(MRP) software or a project lifecycle management(PLM) software, so that data can seamlessly flow into the document and be updated easily. In an age of IoT, where digital collaboration is bringing together industries of all sectors, the upgrade of a paper document to one which is digital that can be used as an important tool for sales and designing in these centralized system is a massive benefit, one most businesses can reap the benefits of.
We can see that a BOM made with the perfect composition of concise data which has been verified several times, with limited access to a select few groups of people for updating the information and with an automated system which fills in data by filling out different boxes based on the information it gets various sectors, is bound to be a massive success and one that will reduce a lot of the hassle and fuss related to inventory information.
A software which allows you to do just that is not Microsoft Excel, but Odoo. Odoo is a user-friendly business software that provides you with just about every tool you would ever need.
Built under the same UI, Odoo uses one app to do all the jobs in one: streamlining operations, managing invoicing and boosting sales.
It has many different apps including one for PLM and MRP, both of which includes the ability to customize and design a template for your business depending on what you are selling in the market.
The system is easy to work with and is connected to the cloud network of Odoo which has global servers, making it easy to download and upload data at lightning speeds.