I’d like to continue discussion I started in my earlier post – Seven Rules Towards Single Bill of Materials. So, what are possible collisions on the way to the single bill of materials?. So, let’s take design, engineering and manufacturing bills. When I look on opposite sides – design and manufacturing, the purpose, and as a result, how these bills look like. Design bill started from CAD and, obviously, take as a starting point, design structure. So, we can get very structured bill of material. As opposite, manufacturing bill of material foundation is manufacturing process. The levels of manufacturing bill are driven by manufacturing process definitions, stocking and other elements of manufacturing process. What is the role of engineering bill? Do we need it?
If I’m looking from the perspective of needs, it looks like engineering bill is not needed (wait for a moment, don’t kill me now :)). Design Bill provides information about how my product structured. Manufacturing Bill provides information how my product will be assembled (or build). However, I found distance between these structures / views is a huge, connection between them is not obvious. This is, in my view, place where product lifecycle technologies need to be focused – to step beyond pure design or manufacturing structures to engineering level and build lean engineering bill of material that will become master BOM in the organization.
What are the advantages of such approach? Master Engineering Bill will be able to connect design elements, especially those that related to custom manufacturing and will provide set of configurable modules. Master Engineering bill will support different techniques to create a condition-based structures and many others. From Manufacturing side, engineering bill will get required information about Item Masters. Different elements – design and manufacturing, will be interconnected in this engineering bill, so no more missing parts or impossible product options.
What are the disadvantages of such approach? I see two major problems – need to build unified data structure and synchronization work between department and people. The multiple bill of material approach solves problems of people collaboration and communication. Each department has their own bill, they are working on. The problem is in the end – missing parts on the shop-floor, missed dates or high product cost. In order to support, single Engineering Master Bill of Material, we need to find right technologies that allow to people to work simultaneously on different pieces of this bill, synchronize, change, update. This collective bill of material should be supported by PLM technologies looking on how to collaborate between design and manufacturing.
Just my thoughts.