Hardware is changing everything and there is no BOM app for this. How to redefine BOM and Inventory for micro-factories.

Hardware is the new software. There are many definitions of what hardware means today. You probably have heard hardware described as a software wrapped in plastic, hardware is a Trojan Horse for a software and so on.

A recent TechCrunch article provides perspective on hardware development with a recent report from HAX, a hardware accelerator that shows just how far the hardware movement has come in a relatively short period of time.

Navigate here to read more: A quick look at the state of hardware technologies in china and beyond. Go here for the slide deck found in the article.

My favorite passage is related to 3D printing and microfactories:

Finally, while 3D printing still has yet to live up to its promise, with Makerbot-style printers becoming commodities (and the company is moving production to Shenzhen after being a “made in USA” champion) and the tool still very much in the hands of hobbyists, a shift is beginning to happen, according to Joffe.

“New technologies are coming to market to print faster, better or in new materials including fabric. New desktop and smart tools are coming to market able to work with a wide variety of materials with laser, smart CNC hand tools or even water jets,” Joffe said. “The possibility of micro-factories and mass customization are getting closer.”

Mass customization and micro-factories are an interesting trends.

It reminds me one of my earlier articles on Beyond PLM, Mass customization and BOM vertical integration. Mass customization ends up with an ugly Bill of Materials (BOM) integration challenge. By enabling BOM vertical integration, future PLM systems will make mass customization processes possible and shorten time from the moment a customer hits the company ecommerce web site to the moment the product is shipped.

Microfactories are an interesting trend. Think about Local Motors Microfactory (https://localmotors.com/microfactories/). Now think how microfactories are going to manage Bill of Materials and inventory. A traditional ERP approach is to have multiple sites and deliver BOMs tailored to each specific organizational site.

At openBoM we’re pondering how to rethink the traditional ERP approach of BOM and Inventory / Item management for lean and agile organizations such as microfactories. We believe the ability to share BOM and Inventories is one of the key differentiators needed to support lean and distributed network of microfactories.

We would like to explore with you how can we help. Reach out to me to discuss our new approach to distributed BOM management and check out openbom.com today.

Best, Oleg

Picture credit HAX

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