The Viewfinder

Transforming Manufacturing with Effective BOM Management

Author: Mahdy Ghane
Solution Architect, Data & Dynamics
Long View



At Long View, we support numerous manufacturing companies in their transition to Microsoft ERP systems. One of the key topics that often arises during these transitions is the Bill of Materials (BOM). The BOM is critical for efficient manufacturing operations, serving as a detailed recipe for the production process. Effective BOM management ensures that all parts and components are accounted for, which in turn helps to streamline production, reduce costs, and avoid delays. This blog post delves into the best practices for creating and managing a BOM, ensuring your manufacturing processes are as efficient as possible.


Imagine a bustling manufacturing floor, where every minute detail must be meticulously managed to ensure smooth operations. At the heart of this process lies the Bill of Materials (BOM), a comprehensive list detailing every component necessary to build a product. Properly managing a BOM can mean the difference between seamless production and costly delays.

Step-by-Step Guide to Effective BOM Management

  1. Understanding BOM Types
  • Recognize the type of BOM you need: Manufacturing BOM, Engineering BOM, Configurable BOM, or Sales BOM. Each serves different stages and aspects of the product lifecycle​​​​.

Types of Bill of Materials (BOM) and Their Purposes

  1. Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM)
    • Purpose: Focuses on the manufacturing process. Contains all unique parts required for constructing the physical product, detailing materials, sub-assemblies, and components needed for manufacturing​​.
  2. Engineering Bill of Materials (EBOM)
    • Purpose: Centers on product design. Utilized in designing and engineering new products, listing all parts as originally designed. It's crucial for planning, purchasing, and financial analysis​​​​.
  3. Configurable Bill of Materials (CBOM)
    • Purpose: Serves companies with slightly variable products. Facilitates manufacturing by allowing last-minute adjustments to specifications like color and size, offering flexibility​​​​.
  4. Sales Bill of Materials (SBOM)
    • Purpose: Examines items from a sales viewpoint. Lists everything included in a sale, particularly relevant when products consist of multiple parts requiring assembly​​.
  1. Complete and Detailed Entries
  • Ensure every small item is included in the BOM, even those that seem insignificant, to avoid costly delays​​​​.
  • Include necessary elements such as BOM level, part number, part name, detailed description, procurement type, quantity, unit of measure, and any additional notes​​.

Complete and Detailed Entries in a BOM refer to the comprehensive and precise inclusion of all necessary information for each component and material listed. This ensures clarity and accuracy in the manufacturing process.

Best Practices for Complete and Detailed Entries:

  1. Inclusive Listing: Include every component, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, to prevent production delays​​.
  2. Comprehensive Details: For each item, provide:
    1. BOM Level: Position in the hierarchy of the BOM​​.
    2. Part Number: Unique identification number for easy reference​​.
    3. Part Name: Clear and detailed name for easy recognition​​.
    4. Description: Full, informative description to distinguish similar parts​​.
    5. Phase: Lifecycle stage of the part (e.g., 'In Production', 'In Design')​​.
    6. Procurement Type: Method of obtaining the part (e.g., off-the-shelf, manufactured to specifications)​​.
    7. Quantity: Number of each part used in each assembly​​.
    8. Unit of Measure: Standard of measurement used (e.g., inches, millimeters)​​.
    9. BOM Notes: Additional information or documentation necessary for production​​.
  1. Organize and Categorize
  • Categorize items in the BOM for easier analysis and communication with engineers and suppliers. Common categories include Standard Parts, Electronics Parts, Mechanical Parts, etc​​.
  • Maintain a part number scheme for easy identification and reference​​.

Organize and Categorize refers to the systematic arrangement of items in a BOM into distinct groups or categories. This aids in better analysis, management, and communication regarding the components.

Best Practices for Organize and Categorize:

  1. Build Clear Categories: Assign every item to a specific category. Common types include Standard Parts, Electronics Parts, Mechanical Parts, Custom Parts, Fasteners, Packaging, etc​​.
  2. Consistent Classification: Maintain a consistent classification system for all items to streamline analysis and communication with engineers, contractors, and suppliers​​.
  3. Part Number Scheme: Establish a part numbering system that is easy to understand and maintain. This can be either a simple sequential system or an intelligent system that denotes the type of part​​.
  1. Early Sharing and Collaboration
  • Share the BOM early in the design phase with all key stakeholders, including manufacturing, supply chain, and other departments. This helps in identifying long lead times and procurement types​​.

Early Sharing and Collaboration in the context of a Bill of Materials (BOM) refers to the practice of involving all relevant stakeholders early in the BOM development process.

Best Practices for Early Sharing and Collaboration:

  1. Involve Key Stakeholders Early: Engage all relevant departments such as design, engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain during the initial stages of BOM development. This ensures a comprehensive perspective and identifies potential issues early on​​.
  2. Foster Cross-Functional Communication: Encourage open and ongoing communication among different teams. This helps in aligning the BOM with various departmental needs and ensures that everyone is informed about the BOM developments and changes​​.
  3. Utilize Technology Effectively
  • Avoid relying solely on spreadsheets as they can lead to human errors and tracking issues. Instead, use ERP systems for creating and managing BOMs, ensuring a single source of truth​​.
  • Implement features like CAD2BOM for direct BOM transfers from CAD programs to ERPs, reducing human error and saving time​​.

Utilizing Technology Effectively involves leveraging advanced tools and software solutions to manage and optimize the Bill of Materials.

Best Practices for Utilizing Technology:

  1. Adopt Specialized BOM Software: Move beyond basic tools like spreadsheets to specialized BOM management software or ERP systems, which offer more robust features for tracking, updating, and analyzing the BOM​​.
  2. Integration of CAD and BOM Tools: Utilize features like CAD2BOM for direct transfer from CAD programs to BOM management systems. This ensures accuracy and streamlines the process of creating complex BOMs​​.
  1. Cost and Lead Time Considerations
  • Perform cost analysis by focusing on the most expensive components which usually have a significant impact on product success​​.
  • Keep track of lead times, especially in modern supply chain contexts, to ensure timely component availability​​.

Cost and Lead Time Considerations in a BOM involve managing and optimizing the expenses and timeframes associated with procuring and using the materials and components listed in the BOM.

Best Practices for Managing Cost and Lead Time:

  1. Cost Analysis and Optimization: Focus on the most expensive components in the BOM, as they typically have a significant impact on the overall cost. Prioritizing and optimizing these components can lead to substantial cost savings​​.
  2. Lead Time Management: Given the complexities of modern supply chains, managing lead times is crucial. Accurate tracking of component availability and lead times is essential to ensure timely production and reduce delays​​.
  3. Revision Management
  • Manage BOM revisions and dates diligently. An outdated or incorrect BOM can lead to delays and increased costs​​.

Revision Management in the context of a BOM involves the systematic tracking and recording of changes, updates, and iterations made to the BOM over time.

Best Practices for Revision Management:

  1. Document Every Change: Record every modification, no matter how small, along with the date and a brief description of the change. This ensures clarity and traceability of BOM evolution​​.
  2. Version Control: Implement a version control system where each revised BOM is assigned a unique version number. This helps in avoiding confusion and ensures that everyone involved is referencing the most current BOM.
  3. Include Packaging and Visual Aids
  • Don't overlook packaging materials, as they can significantly impact costs and how products are sold​​.
  • Use images and URLs in the BOM for better understanding and to reduce mistakes​​.

Including Packaging and Visual Aids in a BOM involves documenting all packaging materials and using visual elements to enhance clarity and understanding.

Best Practices for Including Packaging and Visual Aids:

  1. Comprehensive Packaging Details: List all packaging materials required for the final product. This is crucial for accurate cost estimation and ensuring the product's integrity during transportation and sale​​.
  2. Use of Visual Elements: Incorporate images, diagrams, or URLs to provide a clearer understanding of parts and their assembly. Visual aids can significantly reduce misinterpretation and errors in the manufacturing process​​.
  3. Streamlining and Optimization
  • Use dedicated BOM software to simplify best practice implementation and manage complex BOMs efficiently​​​​.
  1. Continual Improvement
  • Regularly update and audit the BOM to ensure its accuracy and effectiveness in the manufacturing process​​.

Continual Improvement in the BOM process involves regularly updating and refining the BOM to enhance its accuracy and relevance over time.

Best Practices for Continual Improvement:

  1. Regular BOM Audits: Conduct periodic reviews of the BOM to ensure it reflects current manufacturing processes, materials, and technologies. This includes updating part specifications, supplier information, and cost details.
  2. Feedback Integration: Actively seek and incorporate feedback from various departments such as manufacturing, procurement, and engineering to continually enhance the BOM's effectiveness and accuracy.


Effective BOM management is crucial for streamlining manufacturing processes, reducing costs, and ensuring timely production. By following these best practices, you can enhance the efficiency and reliability of your operations.

For more information on how Long View can help your company transition to Microsoft ERP systems and optimize your BOM management, contact us today. Our experts are ready to assist you in transforming your manufacturing processes.


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