in Features

Where is the BOM?

Posted 5 December 2016 · Add Comment

Geoff Turner, product lifecycle management (PLM) consultant at Design Rule, examines the value of getting the Bill of Materials (BOM) right in the early stages of a project.



The creation of a BOM is a fundamental part of product development. However, manufacturers are often unsure at what stage of the product development the BOM comes in. Best practice dictates that the BOM needs to travel fluently through the different development stages, evolving and changing as products are designed, built and eventually, circulated.

In today’s complex manufacturing environment, a Bill of Materials can include a set of hundreds – or even thousands - of separate items.

What is more, even after the first product has been manufactured, the BOM will continue to change. Whether it is due to fixing potential design faults, substituting materials, reducing resource costs or simply switching suppliers, it is highly unlikely that the BOM will remain the same from the design phase through to the end of the product lifecycle.

One of the common challenges engineers face comes from changes being required after the design BOM has been finalised. During the design process, it is relatively easy to swap and change product specifications without causing any substantial financial implications. However, once manufacturing has begun, making engineering changes can be much more challenging. Even the slightest modification can cause time-to-market delays, resulting in loss of business and unexpected production downtime.

Before finalising the product design, it is essential for the design BOM to be accurate and financially precise. Take the aerospace and defence industry as an example; the configuration of an aircraft – or even just the wing of an aircraft – is immense. By ensuring the BOM is supported by a consistent archive of documents, such as CAD files, supplier contact details and design plans, people further along the product development process can understand why certain design decisions were made and how to correctly manufacture the product.

Supporting documents should work as knowledge capture for the rest of the workforce, especially where the design is concerned. Designers will often move from company to company, so it is vital to record the exact design intent and brief at the point of inception, so that the manufacturers can follow these instructions accurately. This archive of documents is also important if problems occur during product circulation, especially for highly regulated markets such as aerospace and defence.

An accurate and complete design BOM is essential for manufacturers to understand the magnitude of what they are trying to create. During the design stage, designers should be technically competent enough to create a BOM that - when transferred to the manufacturing team - makes engineering sense. Making use of an intelligent product lifecycle management (PLM) application during the design stage can alleviate the work associated with Bill of Materials documentation and archiving.

Providing a single source of truth across the entire workforce, PLM can deliver company-wide insight into design files - making life much easier for the design, manufacturing and sales teams. Manufacturers who have faced problems with BOM will understand that it is unlikely to remain unchanged throughout the entire product development process. However, by generating an accurate design BOM in the first instance and using PLM software to monitor the design data, future engineering changes can be minimised.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

AOA stresses need for new EU air traffic rights agreements

The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has stressed that the importance of aviation as the main mode of transport for people travelling between the UK and the EU means that it is imperative that new agreements on air traffic rights are

Locken launching Mechatronic range

Provider of cable-free access control solutions, Locken, will - following its recent joint venture with ISEO Group - launch a new range of highly interactive security systems called Mechatronic.

SatelLife competition winners announced

Nine young space entrepreneurs have won a share of £50K for innovative ideas on how to use satellite data to improve life on Earth.

Richard Peckham elected as Chair of UKspace

Richard Peckham, UK Strategy & Business Development Director Airbus Defence and Space Ltd, has assumed the role of Chair UKspace following the recent departure of Patrick Wood from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).

Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum addresses aviation links

Qatar Airways played a key role in the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum taking place in both London and Birmingham this week under the patronage of Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah

Zaun accredits installers to roll out ArmaWeave

High security perimeter systems manufacturer Zaun Limited is bolstering the ranks of approved installers for its unique super-intruder-resistant fencing.Zaun accredits installers to roll out ArmaWeave

Getac SK2703270617
See us at
Future Armoured Vehicles Situational Awareness BTSMI FHT BT0601190517SMI12DE BT203280917SMI MSS BT0601270417SMI BT1705SEKODSEI LB0911150917