An engineering bill of materials that originates in engineering as a product is first designed and, typically,...
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
maintained by engineering through its lifecycle. The EBOM specifies the exact contents and configuration of the product as designed, tested and validated. It is important to maintain the engineering definition of the product for support, warranty and regulatory purposes, and as a reference for future modification and development.
Production, purchasing, planning, finance, sales and other functional areas of the business also need a proper bill of materials (BOM) to complete their duties, but there may be distinct differences in what the so-called manufacturing BOM contains. As a result, most companies end up with two or more versions of the bill of materials, and that can cause confusion, disagreements and costly errors. Can the various constituencies ever resolve their differences and agree to a single, universal BOM for a given product?
On the operations side of the company, planners, production and purchasing need a BOM that reflects how products are actually made, which is often different from how a product is described in the engineering bill of materials. For example, engineering might specify that it takes eight screws to complete the assembly of a housing, whereas, in actual production, an average of 9.2 screws are used due to screws that are lost or damaged as they are handled and attached to the housing. There are only eight screws in the actual finished product, but planning, buying and issuing only eight screws per unit won't get the job done and could result in shortages, expediting, production disruptions and delays. Unfortunately, manufacturing cannot use the EBOM, and engineering has problems with the manufacturing BOM.
What's the solution? Manufacturing has to have a BOM that reflects the realities of production, planning and procurement -- and that's the bill that resides in the ERP system. Engineering maintains its own theoretical BOM in its engineering systems, documents and records. Product lifecycle management technology is often used to manage much of this relevant data.
In addition, the company must set up and manage an orderly and reliable translation and synchronization process to maintain the proper relationship between the two versions of the BOM. As engineering makes changes to their bill, the engineering release process must be arranged in such a way that the changes are applied to the manufacturing BOM without destroying or compromising the manufacturing-specific additions and changes that make the manufacturing bill of materials usable on the operations side of the business.
Engineering and manufacturing must work together, of course, to be sure that their separate, but related versions of the BOM are always in sync and up to date to ensure successful and efficient planning, purchasing, production, support, costing, quoting, pricing and service without compromising the integrity of the design documentation that is so important to engineering, development, regulatory and customer-required documentation.
How ENOVIA PLM can help eliminate BOM issues
Why planning inventory doesn't always work as expected
Critical advice for manufacturing on leading digital transformation
Dig Deeper on Product lifecycle management software for ERP
Related Q&A from Dave Turbide
In the age of omnichannel, an effective demand shaping process is critical. Here's what you need to know about the strategy and collaboration that ...continue reading
Digital manufacturing is a broad term that embraces a concept of data-driven connectedness. Here are two areas of enterprise technology that can help...continue reading
Turning to more than one supplier can be critical in a business landscape marked by disruption and complexity. Here's what you should know.continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.