The bill of materials (BOM) is a crucial part of the electronics manufacturing process. It is the roadmap by which a product goes from design to reality. Given this, it should be one of the most advanced elements of the industry as a whole, and yet, it’s often relegated to static spreadsheets.

Not only that, but it usually comes in a variety of different forms across departments, silos, and stakeholders. It lacks intelligence, flexibility, and collaborative elements that could elevate every step of production. The time has come to change that.

Reconciling The Many Types of BOMs

Various stakeholders and departments have different requirements for their BOMs. What engineering is looking for in an EBOM differs from the characteristics manufacturing desires in an MBOM.

Different BOMs are just the beginning as well. The real issue lies in the fact that these various documents are static. They often take the form of spreadsheets and rely on outdated manual processes to transfer information from one to another.

There’s no getting around the various needs of engineering, procurement, and production, but how do we connect these things together in a way that harnesses best practices, taps into relevant intelligence, and encourages collaboration? The answer lies in turning the “digital thread” into a “digital chain.”

Envisioning a Centralized and Dynamic BOM

Our own research at Supplyframe has shown that the industry recognizes the need for changes. When 99% of survey respondents report challenges as a result of issues with sourcing applications, you know there’s a problem.

We can all agree that there’s a problem, but very few agree on the solution. Some would say that a centralized BOM should live inside of an ERP or PLM, but these systems are far too rigid and standardized to account for availability, lead times, and other risk factors.

A combination of intelligence, organization, and collaboration are required to realize the true potential of a connected BOM. The concept of a “living document” perfectly describes our goal.

Ultimately, organizations need to approach things with a “Design-to-source” mindset. Bringing back the concept of a “digital chain,” each step of the manufacturing process should introduce more collaboration and insight to the BOM, as opposed to a completely disconnected variation.

By connecting the dots, we can erase outdated and inefficient processes. Collaboration across silos through a centralized and dynamic BOM opens up new opportunities for enhanced target costing, sourcing optimization, and risk mitigation.

Supplyframe solutions bring the concept of a connected BOM to life, and delivers the next generation of electronics manufacturing through dynamic, intelligent, and efficient sourcing. Contact us today to learn more.

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