Item definition and BOM management are the heart of Product Lifecycle Management. It's what makes up the product that a company delivers to its customers, and it can include hardware, software, manufacturing data, documentation, pricing, and more. BOM management involves engineering design, design collaboration, sourcing and procurement, and go-to-market strategy. For products to succeed in the market, companies need to make sure that BOM management also incorporates external collaboration with partners, suppliers and sales channels. BOM management is closely associated with change management since there are many updates that may happen with engineering, manufacturing and marketing as a product gets ready for sale.

Key Capabilities for BOM Management

  • CAD design and collaboration: Computer Aided Design (CAD) is important when custom designed mechanical parts are used in products. Getting mechanical engineers to collaborate on designs and then share the bills of materials and designs with non-engineers or partners is essential for fast time-to-market. Visualization of engineering designs may be important in certain industries.
  • Hardware and software integration:with software and firmware making up more and more of a product's costs, integrating hardware and software designs, processes and deliverables is essential for new product success. 
  • Product lifecycles: being able to manage different product components independently is critical for streamlining product launches. Whereas mechanical parts may go through a process of prototype-pilot-production; marketing documents may go through draft-approved; and software may go from alpha-beta-GA.
  • BOM costing: during product development, procurement teams need to determine where to source components and suppliers. As parts are finalized, teams can better understand target assembly costs, profit margins and optimal supplier allocation.
  • Manufacturing and ERP integration: finalized parts and assemblies need to feed into a production system, and PLM-ERP integration ensures a smooth handoff to contract manufacturers or internal manufacturing teams.
  • Marketing, sales and service: getting product designs to manufacturing is important, but it's just as important to engage downstream customer-facing teams to ensure market success. Companies need to define marketing collateral, sales bundles, options, pricing and sales strategies - and make sure they are in sync with the latest product designs.
  • Document management: files for engineering, marketing, sales and services need to be managed centrally and be securely and easily accessible by both internal and external stakeholders.

Benefits of BOM Management

Companies who excel in BOM management can expect the following benefits:

  • Higher productivity
  • Faster time to market
  • Lower product and operational costs
  • Less rework and scrap
  • Higher product quality

Find out more about PLM, or learn more about Propel's approach to BOM management, which offers a highly flexible and collaborative BOM management solution built on a world-class platform.