OpenBOM, Contract Manufacturing and Communication

Contract manufacturing is a commonly used method by many companies today. After speaking to hundreds of manufacturing companies for the past two years, I’ve seen how common are the case for contract manufacturing among small hardware companies and engineering shops.

Communication is the place where things usually start to fail. Communication is not as easy as you might think. While people are busy with everyday tasks, it is not simple to keep everyone informed about tasks and changes.

My attention was caught by the Hardware Massive article Comparing Chinese Factory Pricing, which speaks about the importance of comparing prices and quotes.

Here’s my favorite passage:

Make it very clear that you will only accept and pay for product that is manufactured according to your (well defined) requirements. If you give them a design they can manufacture understanding the complete Bill of Materials (BOM), Bill of Processes (BOP), and all the details down to how much reground plastic material can be used in the housing, then you can demand that those details be met. If they are not, you don’t pay until they fix those problems at their expense. The conversation is very simple and measurable. The fact that they know all of this ahead of time means they don’t need to come to you to push against what you can expect. They know that you know what you sent to them was producible so they’ll spend that time solving the problems and getting it right the first time, which is a must more efficient way to spend everybody’s time and money.

Bill of materials is the key important element for getting on the same page with Contract manufacturer either for quotations or for manufacturing changes. I’m happy to say OpenBOM provides a unique opportunity to share data instantly and to keep contract manufacturers (CMs) on the same page with everything you do. The OpenBOM “Share BOM” functionality allows you to share a BOM with everyone who has an OpenBOM account and then collaborate in real time. Here a video that can demonstrate OpenBOM share. It is secured and you can insure nobody will see the information related to the BOM and contractor.

However, what if you want to share BOM with a potential contractor as suggested in the Hardware Massive article? We have a solution for you! In the coming release we are bringing a new enhancement that was requested by many users: read only anonymous BOM share (i.e., no OpenBOM registration required with those you share and apply this option to).

By enabling this option, everyone with the link will be able to access the BOM. So you can create a link and send it by email or messenger to CMs you’re quoting about potential work. By doing so, you eliminate errors and miscommunication.

Conclusion. Improve communication and data sharing. OpenBOM provides you with this. You will never need to place a BOM in Excel or Google sheet again. Sharing using the new OpenBOM read-only link feature is super easy. Tell me if you like it. How do you share data with contractors now? What will make you try OpenBOM?

Best, Oleg

PS. Let’s get to know each other better. If you live in the Greater Boston area, I invite you for a coffee together (coffee is on me). If not nearby, let’s have a virtual coffee session — I will figure out how to send you a real coffee.

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my Beyond PLM blog and PLM Book website.