The role of online Bill of Materials in the future Maintenance and Support Operations

OpenBOM (
Jul 28 · 4 min read

I was taking some time earlier this week to think about manufacturing transformation. Have you heard the word XaaS? This abbreviation stands for “everything X” as a service. You probably heard about SaaS until now. Actually, OpenBOM is SaaS (Software as a Service). But changes are not stopping here. XaaS is a general, collective term that refers to the delivery of anything as a service. It recognizes the vast number of products, tools, and technologies that vendors now deliver to users as a service over a network — typically the internet — rather than provide locally or on-site within an enterprise.

I captured this image from Siemens PLM blog by Marcus Fehling. You can see how industries are moving XaaS model these days.

Amazon, Netflix, Uber, Zipcar… These are only a few examples. However, large industrial companies are also following the trend XaaS as well. Rolls Roys, SKF, Michelin. These are only a few examples of companies that stopped selling products and selling services instead — mile, times and other consumables while providing equipment to their customers.

I was sharing some thoughts about XaaS model in my Beyond PLM blog earlier this week — What is the right system for maintenance BOM?

The perspective of transformation is interesting, but I want to take it down to nuts and bolts of service model — the need to manage maintenance and service Bill of Materials (or Product Structure if you feel it is better jargon name). Whatever you call it, the information about what is included in the product which is delivered as a service to the customer is crucial for all aspects of the business — from maintenance and repairs to re-fabrication and renewals.

It brings up a very important topic- in the past most the companies stopped collecting detailed information about products at the time product was shipped to a customer. But moving to XaaS is changing the model. Now you need to know much more about the product than before. You want to know what is in the product, how it is serviced, maintained and used. To collect this information is not a simple thing.

We observe a strong trend of using online Bill of Materials to share and collect information about the product with customers. Actually your customers. OpenBOM Bill of Materials can be shared online as part of the service manual and help your customers to perform certain maintenance and repair work, order part replacement and share information about product use.

OpenBOM online sharing and collaboration feature is the one that can help you. By a simple click on the button, you can give your customers a special view or version of Bill of Materials that includes information about the product they use. It allows them to have more information and links to updated manuals as well as provide an ability to order maintenance parts. This is only two examples. There are many others.

Check this video to learn more about OpenBOM features.


The manufacturing business is moving to a new business model — service. XaaS is a general, collective term that refers to the delivery of anything as a service. It recognizes the vast number of products, tools, and technologies that vendors now deliver to users as a service over a network. As the business is moving to services, the need to maintain online information about products and connect manufacturing with their customers will increase. Old fashion manuals won’t work anymore. New IT infrastructure is needed. OpenBOM gives you an interesting option to share information online with customers. It can be part of our website (just put a link to public shared BOM on your website) or become part of the product subscription by including a personalized Bill of Materials with the information about specific configured product customer use.

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.

OpenBOM (

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Online tool to manage you Bill of Materials and Part Catalogs. Real-time collaboration for teams and supplier, sync data with CAD, PLM, ERP. More -

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