How To Simplify The Handling Of Your Bill Of Materials

how to simplify the handling of your bill of materials

If there’s a watercooler conversation sure to kill the mood, it’s how the company’s bill of materials (BOM) is handled. Let’s face it. We all just expect the company’s raw production materials to take care of themselves. But we all know that repeat positive outcomes only come from planning and careful management.

From discovering top electronic component manufacturers to knowing when you need to order more materials, do you really know your BOM from the ground up? It might be time to take a closer look at how to simplify the handling of your raw materials.

Understanding Product Lifecycles & Manufacturing

One of the cardinal errors in BOM planning is a failure to understand the product lifecycle in its entirety. When you understand the production requirements from the earliest possible phase, you begin to realize that managers of different departments may have been filling in any gaps in the BOM.

Simple things such as the components needed to keep the machinery running (which may be overlooked as not an essential part of the actual product) can all add up.

Take the time to go over your product lifecycles at all stages of the manufacturing process means speaking to the people who deal with gaps in the BOM on a daily basis. Learn from their solutions and incorporate the practices that keep your business running into your BOM (do this before key staff members become frustrated and seek other employment opportunities, taking their knowledge of how to plug the BOM with them).

Automate Your Systems (Wherever Possible)

Your BOM is a weekly or monthly bundle of joy just waiting to take over your day with planning and ordering issues. So why not take the sting out of your processes?

If you know that your standard manufacturing procedure requires a minimum number of units of a specific component, automating the ordering procedure is a sensible foundational step in completing your tailored BOM. By adding or removing from a set order, you can cut the corner on starting from scratch each time.

This method of staying ahead of the game is particularly important if you have more than one BOM – which, unless you produce only one product, is most likely going to be the case.

Give Your Staff A Reporting Method That Works

How do you currently update your BOM? Do you rely on phone calls, emails, handwritten notes, word of mouth, and presumptions based on what used to work?

It’s not shameful to admit it. Many companies survive day to day, week to week, and continue throughout the year without any strict methods of communication where it counts.

Your staff need a way to report on the BOM. Do you know where the current ordering process is failing to meet the needs of the production cycle? Your staff members know. Let them tell you. Even as an apparent one-off, it’s worth reporting – the issue could be seasonal, and spotting the problem early could give you the means to plan around the same shortfalls in the future. Does this help you simplify the handling of your bill of materials? Let us know below.

About Brian: Brian Jackson is the founder of Shoestring Branding - a marketing and branding blog for entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on internet-based tools and strategies.