Bills of Materials

Oleg Shilovitsky recently posted – Bill of Materials (BoM): process or technology challenge? I touched the variety of topics related to BoM organization – multiple BoM’s and need to manage BoM located in different systems. My main question at the post was around how to make the work with multiple BoM’s easier?

Over the years, I have asked companies where they would go to find ‘the blessed’ bill of materials.  Their answer was that they would look in their ERP software.

In most companies, there is a battle of wills as to who owns the bill of materials.  Engineering likes to own the BoM [PLM software], Manufacturing likes to own the BoM [ERP software] and there could be others.  So, rather than jump into the fray I paint the picture like this…

Engineering owns all of the pre-released BoM’s.  Assuming they are using PLM software, you will find BoM’s there.  Once the BoM is released, a copy of that released BoM is either keyed into the ERP or ‘written’ there automatically.

So, the PLM software owns the engineering bills until they are released.  The PLM software can be looked at as the change manager for BoM’s.  The latest released engineering BoM will reside in the PLM and the ERP.  But, as I said earlier employees will continue to go to the ERP to get ‘the blessed’ BoM.

In order for this to work properly, any changes to the engineering BoM must go through the engineering change process within the PLM software.  Then the PLM and ERP will always be in synch.

Most of my customers are using this approach very successfully.


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