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.
 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

PM to announce largest military investment in 30 years

The biggest programme of investment in British defence since the end of the Cold War will be announced today by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Security & Policing 2021 registration opens for online event

Visitor and exhibitor registration is now open for the official UK Government global security event Security & Policing 2021, set to take place as an online event between 9th-11th March 2021, offering the opportunity to meet,

IATA confirms Willie Walsh as new Director General and CEO

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced leadership changes approved by the 76th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM), with former CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG) Willie Walsh, becoming IATA’s eighth

Serco wins Naval Business of the Year at the 2020 Australian Defence Industry Awards

Serco Australia is proud to be named Naval Business of the Year in this year’s Defence Connect Australian Defence Industry Awards.

Boeing and RAF mark 40 years of Chinooks flying in the UK

Last Sunday - 22nd November - marked 40 years since the Boeing-built Chinook was first delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF).

IrvinGQ develops ATAX compatability with Milrem UGV

Bridgend based IrvinGQ has developed its ATAX Airdrop Platform to be compatible for use with the Milrem Robotics’ Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), configured with the KONGSBERG Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS).

Itel SK2710301120
See us at
3CDSE BT0210030221RAF Museum BTSecurity & Policing 2021 BT