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Why BOM Management is so Important for Your Business

Often, when a piece of equipment breaks down because of a broken or worn out part, workers scramble to find the part number. If there's no identifier on the part, it will be very hard to reorder it. Due to this delay, the equipment may need to be shut down or unable to run at full capacity. But you can avoid this sort of problem by keeping an up-to-date list of equipment BOMs.

What Is an Equipment BOM?

A BOM (bill of materials) for a piece of equipment lists every part that may eventually break or need to be replaced. This can also include the equipment's components and sub-components. Sometimes, the BOM for a piece of complex equipment can include hundreds of parts.

Creating and maintaining equipment BOMs should be a regular task for any process manufacturer, but it's often neglected for many reasons. This can result in anxious, late-night searches for a part number on a critical piece of broken equipment.

How Do You Manage Equipment BOM Information?

Managing equipment BOMs means keeping an up-to-date list of the parts that make up a pieces of equipment. Ideally, you should store equipment part numbers in an ERP system or CMMS.

Relying on handwritten lists, catalogs, or manuals is unreliable because the material can get lost or become outdated. If you wait until equipment breaks before retrieving the part number, you can also experience problems, including:

  • The part might be inaccessible inside the piece of equipment.
  • You may be unable to access the part without shutting down the equipment – undesirable because of lost uptime.
  • The part number might be worn away or unreadable.

Basic Equipment BOM Information

When you manage a BOM for a piece of equipment you should track this basic information:

  • Part number
  • Part description
  • Manufacturer name
  • Manufacturer part number

Other important information includes:

  • Authorized substitutes
  • BOM revision date
  • Preferred supplier
  • Pricing
  • Supplier part number

Equipment BOM Management Tasks

Managing equipment BOM information, including critical spare parts, is a collaborative responsibility that requires strong communication and cooperation among many people: planners, maintenance and reliability engineers, mechanics, materials management and procurement staff.

BOM management includes these activities:

1. Create a list of spare parts for each piece of equipment in a facility:

  • Prioritize the collection of information by critically ranking the equipment.
  • Flag those items that are considered critical and determine their optimum stock levels.
  • Establish which inventory parts are no longer critical or no longer needed.
  • When new equipment is ordered, get the equipment BOM from the manufacturer and put it into the ERP/CMMS system.
  • If the BOM information isn't available (equipment is pre-owned or manufacturer has gone out of business), an employee must track it down by checking with operators, craftsmen, or other machine experts.
  • Obtain formal management/engineer review and approval, no matter where the equipment BOM information comes from.

2. Maintain the equipment BOM list to keep it up-to-date:

  • Regularly review the entire equipment BOM list.
  • Check the equipment BOMs before planning a manufacturing process or run.
  • Check the equipment BOM when equipment is decommissioned and look for associated spare parts that are in inventory. Spare parts that can't be used for other equipment can be transferred to another facility, returned, or sold.
  • Monitor for other events that might trigger changes to an equipment BOM, such as: modifying or redesigning equipment or substituting parts from a different manufacturer.

3. Document your BOM management best practices and processes to maintain the integrity of data.

Why It's Important to Have Equipment BOMs

Having equipment part information on hand enables you to quickly reorder parts. Of course, the best scenario is to already have critical spare parts in inventory. Either way, you'll reduce equipment downtime.

Having an up-to-date equipment BOM list also means that you can remove any unused spare parts to free up space for parts that are definitely critical. You may be able to recoup some cost by returning or reselling unneeded parts.

Here's what you can expect if you have critical spare parts in stock and an up-to-date equipment BOM list:

  • Control over lead time
  • Cost savings (engineering time, piece-price savings, part consolidation)
  • Efficiency and productivity for craftspeople and machine operators
  • Equipment uptime
  • Knowledge and control of assets condition and longevity

If you do not have critical spares or BOM on hand you can expect:

  • Equipment downtime
  • Expedited shipping costs
  • Inactive inventory
  • Incorrect material purchases
  • Lead time

BOM Management Services

BOM management services take on the responsibility of developing and standardizing their client's bills of material for critical assets. To capture and maintain this data demands resources you may not even have. Clients who use BOM management services often recoup the expense with more productive man-hours and equipment-hours.

Read more about BOM management services, which is part of SDI's MRO data management services. Ready to discuss your BOM management needs with SDI? Contact us today and we will help transform your approach to BOMs.

Success Story

Our former solution provider was not independent; they were a supplier of parts. It's not the best thing to have a supplier be your MRO outsourcing provider. With SDI, we have a truly independent sourcing agent looking after our best interests.

SDI at Work

Data standardization is part of Google’s new initiative to help people find relevant datasets.  With a recent study from Data Science Central, it’s estimated that data scientists spend 60% of their time preparing data for analysis, rather than performing the analysis itself.  Therefore, the goal of this schema is to drive standardization so that more time can be spent analyzing it.