Often underestimated, the bill of materials (BOM) is arguably the most important component for manufacturing. A bold statement? The BOM is the most critical communication piece in getting something manufactured.

What is a bill of materials?

I know what you are thinking, no way it’s more important than the 3D model and/or drawing. But hear me out. And yes I understand in most instances the BOM is derived from the 3D model. The bill of materials is more than just a simple list of parts. It is the ingredients in the hierarchal recipe of producing (and repairing) the equipment and machinery you design. It lists the material, sub-assemblies, purchased items, and everything else that goes into the product.

The BOM acts as a key communication piece between the various departments. It contains the items designed by engineering. The BOM lists the items to be purchased and the items that must be manufactured. It contains the identifiers (part numbers, stock numbers), the descriptions, quantities, purchasing details, manufacturer information, costs, and other key attributes.

I’ve seen it multiple times where the material is ordered, received, assembled, and shipped to the customer all without the drawing being opened one time.

Bill of Material Management

The proper bill of material management is significant, yet done poorly in too many instances. So what can we do? In this series, from a mostly Autodesk view, I will dive deep and present as many nooks and crevices that I can find that touch the BOM.

Feature Image: Pedro Ribeiro Simões