Managing changes to Bills of Materials…

Posted on 27.11.2017 by Rik

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Hi There. This month I am writing about how Abel helps Manufacturers manage changes to Bills of Materials (BOMs). If you want more control over changes to your BOMs then have a look at these handy features that can be configured to suit your business:

  • Use the check-out process to make a copy of a BOM for maintenance. The original remains in use until the changes are complete, and the revised BOM is checked back in.
  • Create multiple versions of BOMs with effective dates so you can manage when BOM changes take effect. You can also keep versions of a BOM’s attachments like CAD drawings or recipes.
  • See what has changed on the new version compared with the original BOM.
  • Implement a BOM authorization process and restrict authorization to designated users only.
  • Create BOMs for new products by copying and changing existing ones.

Let’s look at those features in a bit more detail:

Check Out a BOM for Maintenance

The check-out feature enables you to make copies of a BOM for maintenance without affecting production. The original BOM is still used for normal processing until the new BOM comes into effect. With this feature you can manage changes in a timely way, ahead of when they are needed.

Make your changes on the checked-out copy of the BOM – it won’t affect production until you check it back in. The check-out process also checks out any attachments to the BOM (e.g. CAD drawings, recipes) so you can deal with those as well. Attachments can be removed, replaced or left as they are.

Use the View BOM Changes screen to see what’s changed compared with the original BOM. The screen is color coded so you can easily see additions, deletions and changes. This is a useful cross-check for users and approvers to ensure all their intended changes have been covered.

Next, the BOM is authorized (more on this below) and checked in with the following options:

  • Overwrite Original BOM (this is allowed unless versioning is enforced).
  • Add BOM to the same Inventory Item(s) as the original (in Abel, inventory items can have multiple BOMs).
  • Remove original BOM from its Inventory Items. The original BOM still exists in a detached state and can be used elsewhere or kept for historical purposes.
  • Make this BOM the default BOM on its Inventory Item(s). The default BOM is used for pricing and planning purposes.
  • Use BOM in place of original in sub-BOMs. This option also replaces the original BOM where it appears as a sub-BOM within other BOMs.

You can specify an effective date for the new BOM, otherwise Abel gives it today’s date.

BOM Versions

A setting controls whether BOM versions are mandatory or optional. If BOM versioning is mandatory, each BOM version has a unique code and Abel prevents changes to the original BOM. Users can also record the version of any related attachments e.g. CAD drawings or recipes.

BOM Authorization

At a minimum, users who have maintenance access to the BOM screens can authorize BOMs. If you want more control, you can switch BOM Authorization to specified users only. Abel will then ensure that only users with BOM authorization credentials can authorize BOM changes. In either case, the user’s credentials are recorded as having authorized the BOM.

Other Features

  • Abel keeps audit information so you always know who authorized and checked in the BOM and the date and time that these two steps happened.
  • Abel automatically highlights any inactive inventory items within your BOMs so you can easily spot them and deal with them.
  • You can change the effective date of an active BOM. This enables you to change the order of upcoming versions or push one out to a future date if things change. It also means you can retrospectively give existing BOMs an effective date if you are adopting BOM versioning for the first time.
  • You can use the Check Out feature to make multiple copies of an existing BOM for use elsewhere e.g. for new products. In this case, you would disconnect the BOM copies from the original during the check-out process.
  • BOMs that are imported into Abel using the BOM import process follow the same authorization steps as BOMs created through the Abel screens. If BOM versioning is switched on, the import process loads BOMs in the checked-out state. You can authorize them and check them in through the Abel screens in the same way as manually maintained BOMs.

Well that’s a quick round-up of some of Abel’s BOM maintenance features. If you want to know more about Abel’s functionality and how it can help your business, please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.