How to beat BOM spreadsheets using openBoM social property tables

Engineers like spreadsheets. I’m alway amazed by how engineers in manufacturing companies convert any problem into an Excel spreadsheet. Moreover, Excel spreadsheets are the “last resort” of IT managers when existing systems are not able to handle a challenging engineering problem.

What makes spreadsheet so powerful? Simplicity; do whatever you want. But simplicity comes at a price. At openBoM we’ve given much thought to a paradigm that combines the simplicity of spreadsheets with the ability to organize BOM data more effectively than spreadsheets.

One example is we came up with the idea of Property Tables. Nothing fancy. Properties in openBoM capture data exactly as “attributes” do in spreadsheets. openBoM supports multiple types of properties: number, text, reference, list, and image.

But that is not all. openBOM helps you turn properties into social technologies that help you communicate with other users. So…

openBoM gives you the flexibility to create properties and use them in a BOM. When you create a new property in openBoM, the property is available not only to you, but to other users as well. This is usually a good thing because it allows you and others to reuse properties and leverage the knowledge of everyone using openBoM.

But what if you want to add to a BOM a property (or a set of properties) only certain users have access to? Maybe a specialized property name exposes your IP or manufacturing process. Or maybe a property contains a project or company name you don’t wish to expose to all users?

openBoM uses something called Property Tables to manage BOM properties. The Public Property Table contains the properties everyone who uses openBoM has access to. These are the pre-defined properties you see when adding a new property to your BOM. Custom properties you create are thereafter part of the public property table as well.

Private property tables, on the other hand, will contain properties visible only to you and others you have given access by sharing them . In other words, Properties added to these tables will not be available publicly. You can use private property tables to create flexible data models and a set of properties shared between a restricted set of users, teams and companies.

Coming soon, watch the following sneak peek video to see how Property Tables will work in openBoM:

Will Property Tables be a useful feature? Let me know what you think.

Best,

Oleg @ openbom.com