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How to Manage BOMs in a Spreadsheet [+ Template]

By Allyssa

A bill of material is at the heart of the product lifecycle. Bill of materials, typically abbreviated to "BOM", are most commonly used to create and manufacture physical products. 

Sorry SaaS products this one isn't for you.

Regardless of the type of physical product you manufacture, BOMs must include the information that:

  • Engineering and Development teams need to track product so that they can anticipate changes should components change or become obsolete.
  • Finance teams need to plan for costing and Sales forecasts.
  • Operations and Manufacturing teams need to break forecasts down to plan for production, equipment, and warehousing.
  • Product Management teams need to plan for feature roadmaps and integrations.
  • Marketing and Sales teams need to articulate product functionalities and configurations for customers.

Great stuff right? But what is a BOM exactly?

Let's dive in.

What is a BOM and who works on it?

A bill of materials (BOM) is a comprehensive list of the parts, components, raw materials and the quantities of each needed to manufacture a physical product.

Think of a BOM as a recipe or ingredient list.

If a cake had a "BOM" it might include flour, butter, eggs, sugar, milk, etc. 

If a cake was a BOM

The bill of materials as it relates to the product lifecycle, is created by mechanical engineers during the design phase of a product when working in CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and then shared with internal and external teams for contextual collaboration and feedback.

CAD to BOM view

By incorporating other teams earlier in the design process of a product you can speed up production and ensure the right products are in your customer's hands faster

How is that possible you might ask?

The sooner you involve more teams, the sooner you can conduct early manufacturing testing and compare alternate suppliers before production thus preventing possible launch delays.

Think of it as stretching before a workout, if you take all the proper precautions and stretch before a run, you're less likely to suffer an injury or in this case a production hiccup or launch delay.

Incorporating other teams earlier in the design process of a product is like stretching before a run

How do I make a BOM?

A simple Google (or Bing) search will tell you there are many ways to skin a cat, I mean create a BOM. But if we go back to basics, you'll see that the original method of creating a BOM was in a spreadsheet.

One might say that the BOM fountainhead is the spreadsheet.

Spreadsheets are the fountainhead of BOMs

Bill of Materials Template

In celebration of this glorious artifact and in an effort to spare you from endless internet searches for the perfect BOM spreadsheet template, we've gone ahead and created a free Bill of Materials template for you to download and use.

This template is a great starting point if you're looking for a way to manage your multi-level BOMs with an Excel spreadsheet. Because this is a workable and editable template, you can adjust the template to add as many levels as you need. 

In this template you can:

1. Add the lifecycle phase of the component.

Product Lifecycle Phases in BOM View

2. Apply the part category to each piece of the BOM.

categories

3. Apply revision numbers to each component or part of the BOM if necessary.

revisions

The template also includes columns to notate quantities, item numbers, redlines and more.

Are you ready to put on your Excel hat? Download the template today and start managing your BOMs with Propel's free BOM spreadsheet template.

Download Multi-Level BOM Template

Tags: PLM, BOM, product success, bill of materials