- The Building Blocks Of Progressive Manufacturing

For constructing, manufacturing, or repairing a product or service an extensive list of raw materials, components and instructions is required. This list is referred to as the bill of materials. It enhances control over the manufacturing operation and is critical for the smooth functioning of the unit. A bill of materials usually appears in a hierarchical format, with the topmost level displaying the finished product and individual components and materials shown at the base.

The need for BOM (bill of materials)

  • The fragility of supply chains: Supply chains stretch across continents and suppliers, and depend upon factors such as time-to-market and product quality. A bill of materials helps the organization plan its purchases accordingly.
  • Helps to estimate costs: The process is done by identifying and pricing all the components & materials required to make a product.
  • Planning and control: BOM helps in planning of inventory by determining the exact requirement of the component
  • Reduce waste: It facilitates by facilitating efficient and accurate manufacturing and minimizing shortages and overages
  • Minimize production delays: BOM ensures the right quantities of materials and parts, are available at the right time and the process remains as per schedule
  • Fast recovery: In case 0f product failure, since it is easier to identify the root cause and make the necessary changes.

Any kind of inaccuracy in the BOM can lead to a production halt, thereby increasing operating costs, as a lot of time would be wasted in locating missing parts, starting another production order, or till the correct process of assembly is worked out.

Types Of Bill Of Materials

BOMs are significantly relevant to a modern, quality-driven, customer-centric manufacturing operation. However, considering the expanse of the production system- separate bills of materials are required by the engineering team, manufacturing team, and services team. Although they all serve the same general purpose, there can be distinctly nuanced BOMs required for a specific purpose.

EBOM (Engineering Bill of Materials): An engineering bill of materials (EBOM) defines the functional blueprint of the product. It is developed during the product design process and is created automatically from engineering and design software tools such as CAD. It lists all alternative and substitute-part numbers and parts contained in the drawing notes necessary to build the product. In addition to the above, it also includes detailed engineering information, related to the product such as manufacturing tolerances, related engineering standards, and product specifications, making the entire thing a part of product lifecycle management.

MBOM (Manufacturing Bill of Materials): Apart from all the typical BOM information such as details of parts and components, a manufacturing bill of materials includes everything required to make or construct a finished item and make it shipment-ready. As such it comprises of assemblies, parts, packaging materials, and a detailed account of the processes that are executed to manufacture the product. The information in the MBOM is shared with all the integrated business departments involved in the ordering and building of the product components. The departments can be enterprise resource planning (ERP), material requirements planning (MRP), and at times, even with the manufacturing execution system.

SBOM (Service Bill of Materials): A service bill of materials (SBOM) provides a list of all the serviceable parts used on a product or those that could influence the service of a product. In other words, it provides the detailed information required to maintain an asset while it’s in operation. This information is used by the manufacturer’s field service team (technicians and mechanics), customers, third-party services providers, and others to fix and maintain a product.

Difference Between MBOM, EBOM, & SBOM

For all of them, the general Bill of Materials information around components and parts forms the base, on which each one gives additional information as per the user’s needs. The basic difference between the three is in the user and the type of information they require. Engineers want a product to be manufactured as specifically designed by them, while the operation teams want the smooth functioning of production lines and service providers are on the lookout to provide solutions and remedy problems in the most cost-effective way. However, the various BOMs have one common goal to keep the teams aligned on improving manufacturing effectiveness without undue hassle and costs. They try to enhance productivity across thousands of components and dozens of teams and tasks.

MBOM versus EBOM-A comparative analysis between the two:

Say for instance if a car maker wants to manufacture 500 cars:

The MBOM will be responsible for ordering or making the parts required for car manufacturing such as steel frame, steering wheel, chassis, axel, wheels, engine, transmission system, and other parts. It will include in its list the precise quantity, exact quality, and other specifications of the materials and also any additional machinery required for the processes of stamping, welding, and painting as part of the assembly line. The car needs to be designed with the components and systems assembled in such a way as to make the car function smoothly. This design is drafted by the EBOM. It gives the structural information on how the car will be constructed using assemblies and mechanical/electrical or software parts– specified by various specifications: 3D CAD, 2D CAD/ conventional, or otherwise. The interior and exterior must be fashioned in such a way that it appeals to potential buyers. Then innovative technologies need to be incorporated to make the car newsworthy and competitive with other brands. Small models will have to be made in 2D and 3D forms to test the car’s design and operation. Engineers will conduct examinations for aerodynamics, safety, hot and cold weather, fuel efficiency, electrical functionality, cost analysis, and other features. When everything is tested and approved the manufacturing process starts. In a market research industry, these kinds of progressive practices not only help the business to function smoothly but also grow profitably.

Bottlenecks associated with BOMs

BOMs frequently need to evolve to keep pace with the changing dynamics of the manufacturing process, as products are updated, suppliers change, markets shift, regulations change, and more. This makes BOM management a challenge. It can be easily overcome with the use of modern cloud ERP solutions.


BOMs in their various iterations of MBOMs and EBOMs are critical to the success of any manufacturing business. So progressive enterprises have started using BOMs significantly for purchasing, supply chain management, inventory, engineering, and operations, and making other teams work from the same fundamental data. Nevertheless, modernizing the management of BOMs is critical in today’s fast-paced, cloud-oriented world. The manual effort and potential inaccuracies of conventional BOM methods can be eliminated by modern BOM solutions that bring automation, error checking, version controls, and other capabilities.

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