BOM management for distributed teams

My attention was caught by an article, White Paper: 10 Ways to Transform your BOM Management. The article promotes PTC Windchill BOM management and has much to say about traditional PLM BOM management. I picked up on the following problem outlined in the article:

Most manufacturing organizations call upon different disciplines within the enterprise and extended supply chain to communicate and collaborate on product development. Digital data created by the various teams involved in a product’s lifecycle is as diverse as those involved: from engineering and manufacturing to marketing, IT, service and sales. This information is not only rich and varied, it evolves over time — and quickly. To ensure that each product satisfies all requirements and is of the highest quality, each stakeholder must be able to access the most up-to-date product information

I captured the following picture which explains the fragmented structure of data in distributed organization:

Picture credit PTC

Here is my favorite passage from the article:

…these multiple variations or views of the same BOM information are frequently managed in different systems. Sharing these BOMs across teams is inefficient, and introduces the risk of errors if information is not properly distributed. Consider that if the product design changes, downstream teams will be using information that is no longer current.

Establishing large PLM database is an approach used by organizations and promoted by PLM vendors. Nothing wrong with that approach. However, the means by which those technologies are introduced within an organization is very complicated, requires multiple implementation steps, agreement about data models, structure and data elements. Moreover, this strategy won’t work for multiple organizations; these organizations usually tend to keep separate PLM and other data management systems. So, information will most likely end up in Excel anyway after making it thru a long way to finally be consolidated into the corporate PLM system.

openBoM presents a new and innovative approach to manage BOM data between distributed teams. We have developed a data management solution that allows you to define BOMs in very granular forms. Elements of a BOM can be defined by different people and integrated with multiple solutions, for example, with CAD and other data management system.

openBoM’s user interface will remind you of Google spreadsheet, so all your BOM operations will be simply performed as with using Google or Excel. But behind the scene, we manage relationships, dependencies and (most important), provide multiple organizations and distributed team means to collaborate in real time or to work on the same BOM in parallel. The follow video gives you an idea of what I’m referring too:

Conclusion. Traditional data management is too heavy and too complicated to implement and use. Especially across multiple organizations and distributed teams. openBoM provides a new cloud data management and real time collaboration approach that allows you to fix the problem of staying on the same BOM in your distributed team.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact me at oleg @

Best, Oleg at openBoM

picture By Roche DG, Lanfear R, Binning SA, Haff TM, Schwanz LE, et al. (2014) [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons