BOM Views & PLM

In one of the PLM Groups on LinkedIn, a number of people are discussing BoM’s.  It started by discussing where the BoM should reside…

This has been debated for years.  And, over many years, I have asked manufacturing companies where they go to see the latest released bill of materials and the answer is always ‘it is in our MRP/ERP software’.

Of course, they are all speaking of the manufacturing bill of materials.  Just to be clear, this is the bill of materials for the widget that they are currently manufacturing.

ERP software is limited in the information that it can manage whereas PLM has much more flexibility.  PLM software can have all sorts of product information as a part of a bill of materials.  Information like marketing requirements, engineering requirements, work instruction packages, product specification sheets are just a few of the varied information that can be a part of a bill of materials in PLM.

I did some consulting for a company that manufactures machines that make computer chips.  This company recognized that they needed to have multiple bills of materials – as designed; as planned; as manufactured; as installed; and as maintained.  Most ERP software packages can manage only one version of a bill of materials.  Which one will you manage in your ERP?

My belief is that your PLM software should manage bills of materials up to release and then write it into the ERP software.  It will still reside in the PLM, but the latest released BoM can be found in the ERP software [that is where manufacturing lives].  I see PLM as the ‘change manager’ for bills of materials.  It can also provide multiple views of a bill of materials and it does it well.

Your Thoughts…

Care to chime in?


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