Tips for Creating a Successful Bill of Materials

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Tips for Creating a Successful Bill of Materials

Modern manufacturing processes would be impossible without a complete and accurate bill of materials (BOM). BOMs are pivotal to provide businesses with a comprehensive picture of the required inventory stock and assembly steps to create a finished product. A descriptive BOM acts as an essential design verification tool between companies and their contract manufacturers.

Striving to build an error-free BOM for your own project? Let’s examine a few top tips for creating a successful bill of materials. Here’s what to keep in mind throughout the process.

A Clean Bill: Ensure Organization and Optimization

A simple BOM contains the ingredients—aka the relevant data—necessary to manufacture a product. Ergo, a bill of materials is customarily hierarchical, similar to a recipe. The “oven settings” of the BOM report usually include the manufacturer name, part numbers, part number quantities, part descriptions, component values and tolerances, reference designators, and alternative part options.How you decide to organize this report matters for the final project.

Utilizing correct formatting is one of the leading tips for creating a successful bill of materials. Many design tools will have formatting guidelines in their software. You may organize a BOM with separate line itemization or reference designation groupings. If you’re working with a contract manufacturer, it’s a wise idea to check which format best serves their needs. Either way, ensure that the BOM is clean and properly optimized to make everyone’s job easier.

Avoid Overcomplicating the Details

Creating a successful BOM requires using your best judgment on the priority details. Keep in mind that you only need to include the information you require—nothing more. Don’t throw in pieces of information by guessing the needs of every person who may happen to read the bill of materials.

Each BOM is unique and can vary between companies and even between similar projects. The list only needs to be as complex as your project demands it to be. Too many multi-levels of details won’t help the process. Rather, the complexity will overcomplicate the build and generate confusion. Resist the urge to overload your report with everything but the kitchen sink. Streamline the document for simplicity and relevancy. Balance is key here.

Track Changes and Double-Check Your Info

As you complete your bill of materials, a core management strategy is to track changes and revisions with automation software. Keep note of old and up-to-date versions. This record is critical to have on hand if problems arise. Be sure to double-check all of the included information for accuracy before sending the report to anyone.

Rushing the process tends to create significant mistakes, especially when ordering PCBs for fabrication. Polishing your design is paramount to create a quality product from your BOM. Even the smallest blunders can turn grievous and cost a company precious time and money. Consider the advice in this article to help get the most useful value out of your bill of materials.