openBoM for material management, maintenance, and operation planning

The IMPOMAG article Alway know where your “BOM” is, written by Monroe Blanton, caught my attention earlier this week. The article touches on an interesting aspect of BOM management. I’m referring to the phase that usually comes after engineering, when manufacturing is done, and the focus turns to asset management. According to the article, it’s about BOMs for machines, spare parts and asset management.

Here is an in interesting passage, which in my view, is a key:

The fear of not having required spare parts often leads to over-stocking. Spare part availability has a direct impact on machine availability. Downtime waste is high if machines are not running while waiting on replacement parts. Also, scheduled planned maintenance work can only take place when the necessary materials are available. Without a good material management program, production downtime losses can be greater and planned maintenance scheduling can be a challenge. Both of these issues negatively affect overall equipment effectiveness.

However, as the author rightfully pointed out, to develop a BOM is not an easy thing. BOMs very often end up as spreadsheets with list of parts inheriting all the obvious downsides of spreadsheets: hard to track changes, no revisions, impossible to figure out dependencies and finding specific parts. To manage a BOM in a spreadsheet is tedious work. You often see a Chief Excel Officer (CEO) dealing with the running of “spreadsheetware,” updating data, and sending updated BOMs to all the relevant people in the team. It’s a thankless job.

We believe openBoM can solve the problem of material management and also help companies better organize their BOMs. Here are three reasons why we believe openBoM may be worth considering:

1. openBoM helps you create and track all the items in a BOM pretty much the way it’s done with Excel. However, unlike spreadsheets, openBoM will keep a history of changes and allow you to create revisions and change reports. Watch the video to see what I mean.

2. openBoM can help you discover dependencies between parts. If you have a part that is used in multiple products, openBoM will help you identify all ‘where used’ BOMs and bring them together for you to easily access the one you need.

3. Finally, openBOM multi-level BOMs allows you to restructure a BOM. The following passage from the IMPOMAG article speaks about the need to restructure BOMs to bring all maintenance items together. Here’s the passage:

BOM structure development may include the use of material groupings. For example, for a pump, the bearings, seals and gaskets can be grouped together and referred to as an assembly for that pump. Then the BOM assembly for that pump can be applied to other equipment BOM locations where the same pump is installed. The benefit is to create one BOM for a repetitive sub-system and apply it to the BOM of other usage locations. Then if a part number or item changes in the sub-system BOM, the update or change only has to take place in the one BOM instead of every instance of the pump throughout the plant.

The following video shows you a multi-level BOM created from Onshape and then restructured using the openBoM restructure command for maintenance and service.

Conclusion. We believe openBOM is a robust tool that helps you manage data records, history, revisions, and manage BOMs efficiently and effectively. Beyond that, openBOM helps your team stay on the same BOM by sharing data across the people located in multiple places. Imagine everything we mentioned above with the ability for people in different manufacturing locations along with maintenance contractors and service technicians to stay on the same BOM in regardless of where they are physically located. The question of “Alway know where BOM is” will be eliminated. It doesn’t matter where you are. The BOM is always available in openBoM.

Best, Oleg @

PS. We should know each other better. If you live in a Greater Boston, please let’s have a meeting (coffee is on me). If you’re located in other places, let’s have a virtual coffee session — I will figure out how to send you a real coffee for our virtual coffee session.