Introducing the Future of BOM Management: Unparalleled Speeds, Integrated Workflows, Intuitive Designs

March 27, 2024

Bill of materials (BOMs) helps teams with organizing production information. They serve as a comprehensive list of all the components, materials, subassemblies, and other resources required to build a particular product. BOMs provide an essential reference for internal stakeholders like supply chain and quality control as well as external stakeholders like suppliers or customers.

In the first article of this series, we covered the basics of BOMs - the different types, different formats, how they are used in the hardware development process, and how they can get complex very quickly. In the second article, we dug deeper into managing BOMs via spreadsheets versus via product data management (PDM) or product lifecycle management (PLM) systems. In this article, we’ll introduce Bild’s new BOM management functionality. Bild is a cloud-native application with both PDM and PLM products. BOM functionality can be utilized with either or both.  

Creating BOMs in Bild

Creating BOMs in Bild is a simple and intuitive process. With a few button clicks, users can select all files to include in a new BOM, and the BOM will auto populate information for those files (and their children of children, etc) from the Vault. The BOM levels and hierarchy will also automatically be created based on these parent/child relationships. If teams have manually linked files of other formats (e.g. a STEP file representing a PCB) as a child of a native assembly referenced in the BOM - the PCB STEP file will also be included in the BOM.

On average, BOMs ranging up to 10,000 line items take under 30 seconds to be generated, fully populated with custom metadata and parent/child relationships.

Compared to the manual methods of creating a BOM from scratch, Bild automates much if not all of the initial legwork in creating the BOM structure and populating the available data. Users no longer need to reference CAD files to then input the same information into spreadsheets, and reduce the overall risk of incorrect data entry into the BOM. Users also have the option to import a BOM as well by mapping incoming fields.

Selecting configurations of all top level files when creating new BOMs

Updating BOMs in Bild

Bild BOMs are connected to the PDM vault and PLM database, enabling activities from either impact the information contained on BOMs. For example, files checked out/back in or metadata updates from PDM or releasing files from PLM will trigger color coded changes in orange on the BOMs for those files to indicate there is newer information from the vault. Vice versa, updates made to cells on the BOM will trigger a purple color coded change on the BOM, indicating there is newer information in the BOM compared to what’s in the vault.

By highlighting these differences in the metadata between the BOM and the vault, users can easily find those differences and compare the old and new values, whether those values are from the BOM or the vault. As a result, teams are validating many of the updates to the BOM rather than entering the data in spreadsheets. At any time, teams can create versions of BOMs to track differences over time or at specific internal milestones.

Color coded cells to highlight differences between the BOM and the Vault metadata

The user interface (UI) of Bild BOMs is similar to that of Excel/Google Sheets. Users can take advantage of regular mouse/keyboard navigation as well as keyboard shortcuts for copy/paste - enabling users to quickly bulk edit information. Combined with the flexibility of the UI, BOMs in Bild are also inherently structured with levels/hierarchies in mind. Net new files added to assemblies referenced in the BOM will also get added to the BOM under the appropriate level/hierarchy. All other line items added to the BOM (whether from the Vault, non-modeled components or NMCs, or simply empty line items) can also be moved up/down to properly reflect the desired structure of the BOM.

Views & BOM Formats

As BOMs rapidly increase in complexity as products mature or as teams start approaching production, the amount of information on BOMs correspondingly increases. Various stakeholders have different fields that need to be tracked for the line items on the BOM, increasing the amount of columns on the BOM. To help navigate different stakeholders to the right data quickly, teams can create views with a different list or order of shown fields. Additionally, users can utilize the same filtering capabilities in BOMs as from the Vault to quickly find the information to update for associated line items.

Selecting fields to show/hide and their order in custom created views

While teams may have created and managed separate Indented, Direct, and Parts-only BOMs before - these can all be toggled from the same BOM. Through the use of views, filters, and toggles for format, teams can segment the data to filter out the noise and confidently perform the necessary without impacting the broader dataset on the BOM.

Filtering for all Aluminum parts in the BOM

Sharing & Exporting BOMs in Bild

As Bild is a PDM and PLM system, it is also a source of truth for the production files referenced on BOMs. Whether for CAD files and drawings, or for PDF quality inspection procedures. All line items from the BOM and their associated files in Bild can be included in BOM exports - giving teams the ability to generate an export with most if not all production data as opposed to referencing multiple systems. Although native files (CAD and drawings) may have been used as the basis for BOMs, teams can export those or universal formats with the BOM. Bild will automatically convert the native CAD files to STEP (AP-242 format) and/or STL (very-high resolution), and drawing files to PDF. Teams save a lot of time by having these exports automatically generated, especially in the cases where these exports are shared with suppliers, and only universal formats like STEP and PDF can be sent.

All export options for BOM, CAD, and Drawing files

Sharing BOMs is coming soon alongside with Bild’s upcoming Supplier Collaboration functionality, where supplier organizations can be created with discrete users (e.g. the supplier’s quoting project manager, sales engineer, etc).

Approving & Releasing BOMs in Bild

As BOMs are the blueprints or sources of truth, teams often approve and release BOMs to indicate these as the builds or record. BOMs in Bild can go through similar approval and release processes as files from the Vault. Stakeholders across multiple teams can be included in approvals, who all receive notifications to provide feedback. Those stakeholders can review the BOM, add comments/view comment history, and ultimately provide their disposition. Once approvals are closed, BOMs can be released and revisioned.

To ensure BOMs remain the central source of truth - BOMs in Bild will be locked while in the approval state, ensuring all of the latest changes are approved. BOMs are also locked upon release, though both the released revision and older versions of the BOM are accessible. Teams can approve and release BOMs from BIld with confidence that all information is correct and all stakeholders are aligned.

Approvals can be set up with one or multiple reviewers in multiple groups

Want to take a deeper dive into how you can manage your BOMs effortlessly within Bild? Schedule a demo with our team and get access to our 7-day free trial today: