Small companies usually begin to manage their BOM using spreadsheets, typically MS Excel because it is essentially free and extremely flexible.
However, as soon as the number of products, configurations, revisions and supplier relationships begin to grow the complexity and cost of maintaining a spreadsheet based BOM grows exponentially.
- No enforced consistency.
- No version control.
- Same part appears on multiple BOM.
- Difficulty navigating multi-level BOM.No means of rolling up quantities and costs.
- Difficulty locating parts.
- Difficulty managing related documents.
It is common for companies to try and address some of these problems by adding complexity to the spreadsheets but this tends to result in a new set of problems; hidden tabs, lookups, referenced spreadsheets, complicated cell formulas and VBA programming which is often only fully understood by one individual.
These problems often lead to slow response times which can mean lost orders and BOM errors which can cause halts in production, excessive scrap and rework.
The solution is software designed specifically for the purpose of managing bills of material. A relational database with single definitions of item masters and BOM, shared by all users, which tracks change and manages revisions. Automatic roll-up of quantities and cost with features for search and report generation.