A comprehensive bill of materials (BOM) is invaluable to manufacturers. These are documents that can outline everything required to manufacture a given product, from individual parts to the quantities required to assembly and subassembly processes.
This is a lot of information to keep track of, so it’s a good idea to create a BOM form to help keep track of everything a given production process needs. Bill of materials management forms are a reference for manufacturers and suppliers to plan out inventory management and create project budgets.
A clear and specific bill of materials helps enforce strict quality standards and ensure that you don’t run out of (or waste) raw materials. That minimizes the chance of project delays.
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What should a bill of materials management form include?
What your bill of materials form includes depends on whether you’re writing a single-level or a multi-level bill of materials. Single-level BOM management is much simpler and only includes the absolute minimum amount of information. It’s a straightforward list of components with no hierarchy included, no material costs measured, and no assembly instructions. A single-level bill of materials is mostly only appropriate when you’re dealing with simple products.
By contrast, a multi-level bill of materials includes many more factors relevant to production. Multi-level BOM management separates components according to which stage of the process they’re used in. These levels are:
- BOM level 0: This will always be the top of your bill of materials management form. It is the finished product once it has been cleared for shipping.
- BOM level 1: Level 1 items represent the things needed to clear a product for shipping. It’s essential that, in addition to the ready-to-ship product, you account for the packaging needed to distribute it to customers.
- BOM level 2: Level 2 items in a bill of materials template are the parts that make up your finished product. For example, if you had a pair of sunglasses, these would be the lenses, the frame, and the two arms.
- BOM level 3: The final level of parts listed on a bill of materials refers to components used to assemble and combine the components listed in level 2. These are things like screws, hinges, and nails.
In addition to categorizing materials according to where in the process they’re used, multi-level bill of materials forms include useful info about your materials such as:
- Required quantity of each item
- Color of materials, if applicable
- Item descriptions
- Material costs
Why create a bill of materials management form?
The level of detail included in multi-level BOM forms doesn’t just help you manufacture products. Introducing consistent and thorough bill of materials documentation impacts several areas of your business and promotes long-term process improvement.
Better time management
Knowing exactly what you need, where in the process you need it, and how much it costs makes it easy for you to organize and predict deliveries. That kind of control over your supply chain allows you to stay on schedule whenever you start a project.
Bill of materials management helps you avoid waste in your business by preventing you from over-ordering components or from using components at the wrong stage of a manufacturing process. Too much waste is an unnecessary source of spending that’s easily eliminated just by listing your needs on a checklist.
Smooth inventory management
On the other side of things, a bill of materials form ensures you don’t run out of critical items partway through production. Listing out exactly what you need and checking that against your current stock helps you schedule orders proactively. Regularly applying BOM forms can give you insight into the types of components and raw materials your business is most reliant on.
Easy bill of materials management with workflow automation software
As the product you’re manufacturing gets more complex, the bill of materials gets longer. Eventually, using pen-and-paper or a bill of materials Excel sheet becomes too much paperwork, especially since you need to create new ones from scratch every time.
A workflow automation platform like Lumiform makes preparing your bill of materials management checklists much simpler. Using the custom form builder or a ready-made bill of materials template as a starting point, you can quickly create a checklist that’s tailored to your business or the specific project you’re working on.
What’s more, because these forms are completely digitized and cloud-based, you’re able to reuse the same bill of materials template as often as you like. That will save you hours otherwise spent copying the same fields over and over.
Other benefits of using Lumiform’s workflow automation software for bill of materials management include:
- A simple-to-use mobile app that allows you to manage your inventory no matter where you are, using your smartphone or tablet
- One-click administration with the desktop software that makes it easy for you to delegate bill of materials and inventory management-related tasks
- Automatic and secure cloud storage, so you can access finished bill of materials forms at any time
- Regularly generated analytics and reporting that compiles the data from all your bill of materials forms, giving you a visual representation of manufacturing trends and inventory needs