Why Bill of Materials Software is essential for manufacturers and suppliers

Introduction to Bill of Materials software (BOM)

Regardless of how big your construction supply chain is, a Bill of Materials (BOM) is essential for it to progress from plan to completion. Think of a Bill of Materials like a shopping list – a checklist of materials that are needed to create the final product in your construction project.

Although a BOM can still be done via pen-to-paper, many construction companies are now utilising the power of construction management software to create software Bill of Materials (SBOM). Through software, a Bill of Materials is created to company specifications by analysing the drawings which can be used for tendering or progress tracking.

What is a Bill of Materials (BOM)?

In layman’s terms, a BOM is a structure for repeatedly making a product every time. Think of it like a guidebook for materials – every BOM contains a list of materials, assemblies, sub-assemblies, formulations and other important components that goes into making a finished product. 

Moreover, a Bill of Materials will include other important information like overall costs, lead times, and potential waste factors. These give insights into the impact the materials will have on your budget, timelines and the wider environment.

So you might be wondering how a BOM fits into the wider context of a construction project.

The reason they are important is that they act like a recipe or in-depth instruction book on how a product should be built. Without it, construction workers like manufacturers and suppliers may produce inefficient products that lead to defects, waste and errors that can delay the progression of a construction project. 

Finally, BOMs are simply an essential part of the overall manufacturing process. If the manufacturing process were to change at some stage, the BOMs should be updated accordingly to ensure products stay top-notch and quality made, despite the new methods.

Because of the high volume of BOMs, many construction companies would have, nowadays, it’s best to move those processes online with materials tracking construction management software.

Types of BOMs

There are quite a few out there, but here are the most common types of BOMs.

Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM)

This is the most common one in construction projects. It includes all materials, formulas, assemblies and components required to create a final product. It also consists of important information like lead times and production, which helps material planners know when to purchase the materials required to make a product as well as when production for the materials needs to start.

Engineering Bill of Materials (EBOM)

The engineering bill of materials is required for the creation of a finished good. It lists all the parts, materials and components for a finished product, as it was originally designed. Whereas, the MBOM can change if the processes change. In other words, the EBOM is a product recipe from a design standpoint, rather than a manufacturing standpoint.

Configurable Bill of Materials

Also known as a Matrix BOM or BOM with parameters, this type is similar to a manufacturing bill of materials, being a guide to producing a finished good required for a construction project. That said, many manufacturing companies can produce the same product in a variety of colours, sizes and other parameters. Therefore, a configurable bill of materials is like a white-label arrangement. Basically what this means is that manufacturing (and the process of it) might be the same, but the final product may differ depending on the customer. This could range from different packaging, unit count, volume and more.

Single-level Bill of Materials & Multi-level Bill of Materials

Single-level bill of materials is a high-level guide that dictates how to assemble a product. These include the main processes and instruction, but it does not include other information like subassemblies, blends, mixes or extra components that may be needed to produce the material. In other words, it’s like a basic guide rather than a comprehensive one.

Whereas a multi-level bill of materials is similar to a single-level, but it includes several sub-levels that contribute to the final assembly. It’s structured with a “parent” category, then broken down into “child” categories that eventually help manufacturers and suppliers create the final product. Other information like lead times, costs and more can be included but they are generally added to the lowest level.

Benefits of creating Bill of Materials and using Bill of Materials software

There are many advantages and benefits to having a BOM in your construction project, namely:

Estimate costs efficiently through Bill of Materials software

Because BOMs contain information including materials, assemblies, sub-assemblies and more, construction managers can gauge the cost and check whether it is over budget.

Clearer schedules

As the BOM acts like a guide on what’s needed and how it should be assembled, construction schedules can be clearly defined. Head contractors can refer to it when delegating resources and what’s needed at each stage of their build.

Material requirements

If you’re undergoing a Material Requirement Planning (MRP), an accurate BOM is needed as a reference. During an MRP, construction managers will need to answer questions like what materials are needed and the quantity of each. A BOM will help them be able to answer these questions easily and efficiently.

Reduced delays

Having a BOM ensures you’ll know what materials are needed and when they will be used during the build, which then enables you to order them promptly to prevent delays.

Reduced waste

A BOM enables you to only order the correct amount of materials each time, reducing waste and keeping costs down.

Who creates the Bill of Materials?

Depending on the company or project, the creation of the BOM varies from person to person. For example, if it is technical, an engineer or industrial engineer may create it. It can also be built by those who work in administrating areas of a construction company, as they are across the information around purchasing, planning and scheduling.

What should a Bill of Materials include?

The best bill of materials should have specific information that pertains to the completion of the construction project. Ideally, the information in the BOM should be supported with data where possible.

Bill of Materials should include:

  • BOM level – Typically there is a “parent” level that then breaks up into secondary levels that include things like costs, lead time and production time
  • Part number – every material should have a part number. This helps you keep track of the number of materials and whether any are diminishing
  • Description – A quick explanation of the material and its purpose in the construction project will go a long way
  • Type of procurement – Procurement tells purchasers and planners how the component will be made
  • Quantity
  • Unit of measurement – weight, volume or area
  • Phase – Most materials and products have a lifecycle. By identifying the phrase of each material, change management and future maintenance are a lot easier

Matrak – the Best Bill of Materials software for manufacturers and suppliers

Matrak was founded in 2017 and provides innovative mobile-first end-to-end supply chain tracking software solutions to the construction industry. 

Our app is available on all iOS, Android and Windows devices and has helped more than 157 projects in over 5 countries to enable the power of supply chain transparency.

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