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Bill of Materials Management

Managing your Bill of Materials (BOM) in a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is crucial to your company's success. This article breaks down all you need to know to improve your business. 

The level of your bill of materials management in PLM can be dependent on your product, product development process, and downstream systems.

Let's further explore some reasons and benefits of managing your product BOM creation in PLM.

The Benefit of the Bill of Materials Management in PLM

First, what exactly is PLM? PLM is a tool that works by managing complex product information, engineering, and operational workflows while allowing dynamic collaboration.

CAD and BOM are the major information managed in a PLM system alongside other additional supporting product data and documentation.

The PLM software allows its users to store any or all product data in an orderly manner. This orderly arrangement helps to display products' development across all phases. These phases include everything from the initial product design to quality assurance documents – all bonds to a product structure.  

It enables you to see the pyramid of a complete representation of all product managed within the PLM system. Also, PLM systems such as PTC Windchill allow you to have several views of a single bill of material.  

For instance, all design information, such as the engineering design and structure required for a BOM product structure, can be viewed. You'll also be opportune to look at the manufacturing view, having a structure defined in such a way that it enhances the best manufacturing process while linking other supporting information and work instructions. 

Besides, you can see a service BOM with an actual representation of a customer's request or what is on-site, with liked product data accurately related to support or service (such as product manual or service repair).

As for the ERP systems, they majorly manage the financial and manufacturing aspect of product management. This system is essentially used to track and manage the cost and profit throughout the entire process.  

For this reason, changes are strictly controlled and need significant steps are put in place to ensure proper application throughout the system. However, the ERP consists of a few systems that allow full product representation, but not so many views than BOM.

The ERP software only manages requirements to manufacture and sell a product properly, and it doesn't allow the representation of a full product design or its entire breadth of supporting documentation and information. There are various impacts on these fundamental differences.

When to use PLM for Bill of Materials Management

Here are some general concepts regarding when to appropriately use PLM for BOM management.

At the initial dynamic stage, when your product requires different changes and updates at every phase gate, your bill of material should be effectively managed in PLM.

When your product needs essential requirement management, quality work instructions, detailed manufacturing, or an intensive manufacturing process, it's best to use PLM for your bill of material.

Last, all your product detail should be linked or managed by your PLM system for full accountability of all product information when updates are required in the instance of change.   

Bill of Materials Management
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