Three BOM management challenges for the digital transformation era

Manufacturing is transforming introducing many new challenges in how way companies need to manage their Bill of Materials. In the past, to have a facility and/or an established manufacturing shop was one of the most fundamental criteria for manufacturing success. Not any more. Today, you don’t need to have a large facility. You can manage your manufacturing shop pretty much remotely.

At the same time, manufacturing companies face challenges in the way BOMs can be managed across multiple islands of manufacturing network whilst ensuring quality, cost and readiness of product at the delivery time. Today, I want to share three top BOM management challenges I found are shared among multiple users of openBoM.

1. Product manufacturability

One of the biggest challenges is having a manufacturable BOM and keeping it up to speed with the lifecycle of product development. The BOM, initially exported from CAD system, is a good report but not something you can manufacture from, at least not immediately. Insuring all part numbers are in place is very important. openBoM gives you a means to share a BOM among a distributed group of people and validate if all aspects of product definition are accounted for. Real-time collaboration with contractors and suppliers make openBoM an invaluable tool to manage a team of users working across different locations and keep everyone on the same BOM.

2. Multi-disciplinary BOM

The days when a BOM was mostly mechanical are long gone. Today, multidisciplinary BOMs are the key way of insuring products won’t miss aspects critical to their development and production. Electronic, software, etc., all these things need to be applied together to get the right solution for users and ultimately manufacture the product as intended.

You need to have a tool that can easily combine and stitch together pieces of hardware, BOMs, and information about parts. Having a centralized BOM repository is very critical and openBoM can be the global storage to manage all your BOMs and keep them secure for distributed team.

3. What are the main design to manufacturing workflows implemented by openBOM

openBoM supports the following three main design to manufacturing processes. (1) BOM management allows one to trace all changes in the BOM since the moment it was created. All changes are accumulated and a history of these changes is available at any time. Global traceability and audit thereof is a big deal for many manufacturing companies.

(2) Catalog and inventory management is another critical process. You can have centralized and shared catalogs to source all the parts in the product. Catalogs allows you to support the complete information about a standard hardware and any other parts used in the product. Managing catalog lifecycle is a key process manufacturing companies require.

(3) Last but not least, there is the design to order process. openBOM helps you get all information about what parts need to be ordered and when. This is a big deal to any manufacturing and engineering software.

Conclusion. New manufacturing means new tools. From that standpoint, openBoM gives an opportunity to manufacturing companies to re-think the way old fashion BOMs are moving from locally saved Excel spreadsheets to cloud-based service to realize the full potential of digital transformation in manufacturing.

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.