Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Case For Multi-level BOM Revisions

Many inventory control systems list a bill of material as a key feature. If you are talking manufacturing, you will need multi-level bills of material. You can do very simple assembly work with single-level bills of material, but real manufacturing requires a multi-level bill of material to describe the entire product structure.

The MISys Manufacturing System sports a 16-level BOM capability. And you can have up to 4 billion items at any level. This allows for truly massive product structures.

In the MISys system, a Bill of Material is much more than a pretty picture of what you build. MISys uses the BOM for a number of functions: from backflushing assembly operations, to mutli-level cost roll-ups, where used analyses, available to promise projections, and much more.

From time to time manufacturing companies change the way they build things. This change may be inspired by a better design coming out of Engineering, a clever cost reduction, or a substitution necessitated by a vendor part shortage. Unless you can convince me that you have been building the same assembly the same way since just after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and you promise you will never ever change it in the future, then make bill of material revision control a requirement of your dream manufacturing system. Changes always – and should – happen. Be prepared for them.

MISys gives you the optional ability to create as many revisions of a Bill of Material as you wish. Each Revision Number can be a letter, digit, or a combination of the two. In my previous experience designing and building super-mini computers, we used digits to track changes to the BOM as the design progressed through engineering. When the design was released to manufacturing, it acquired a letter revision, starting with A. So you instantly knew that any product bearing the Revision A was unchanged since its original release to manufacturing. I still like that methodology.

Check out the MISys Manufacturing System's support for multi-level Bills of Material and full revision control by going to www.misysinc.com.

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