Managing a bill of materials is a vital element when it comes to product development and manufacturing. Since we all know its important, you would think companies have developed an efficient system for managing the BOM process, right? Wrong. Surprisingly, many companies are still struggling with the bill of materials subject. In fact, there are many companies that don’t even know when some of the components of their BOM have been obsoleted.
A Bill of Materials is essentially a recipe for an end product, and this recipe can’t be missing ingredients. So in addition to the regular day to day operations of a supply chain, companies are having to analyze data for any part changes in the global marketplace, which is not an easy task when the BOM can be upwards of 2,000 parts per product.
When something changes or is obsoleted, manufacturers are supposed to send a PCN (product change notification) to the customer who is using that component in their designs. This is not always the case. Each year, hundreds of thousands of products transition to obsolescence. Almost 50% of those products transition to obsolescence without a notification from the manufacturer to the customer. Since we are seeing a strong trend in customization these days, the number of configurations can start growing significantly with the growing demand for custom products. Using the law of averages, we can only expect the number of PCNs to trend upward as design and packaging technology keeps changing.
Since every OEM product has it’s own part recipe (BOM), you can start to see how the management of this process can get extremely involved. So what is the point of this, you might be asking yourself? The point is that a Bill of Materials is a critical element in the success of many manufacturing companies. Think about MapQuest. You used to look up directions, print them out and they would take you to where you needed to go. Now things have changed. You have apps like Waze and Google Maps that will direct you in real time to where you are headed. These apps tell you alternate routes, tell you when roads are closed and more. Managing a BOM is no different. There are services and tools out there that specialize in BOM monitoring, and work to ensure you are prepared for any changes in your recipe. The old ways of monitoring and managing the BOM are going obsolete…what are you doing to prepare? BOM Monitoring Service