Modular BOM

Recently I was working with a customer for their overall PLM Audit & giving direction for their future direction for PLM. One interesting thing I observed is the way this customer manages the whole product BOM.

Modular BOMThey have concept of Modular BOM. The concept is very interesting for me to just put forward as a new view towards managing BOM.

They have concept of Modules which are associated with the features which determines the product.  So the whole Structure of a BOM is more like structure of Features.  While the change in Part changes & EC process runs at the individual Module level, the whole BOM need not go through the change processes for changes at the sub Module level. What this gives as a flexibility to develop each Module separately based on the Feature requirements and don’t worry about rest of the system till integration. All these features can be used in any other product as is.

My feeling is that this is a good approach but has limitations, like not having clear view of BOM till very late in the lifecycle of the product which can be detected only during integration or there can be a tendency to misuse features in other product, to name a few.

Conclusion: My view is this is a good concept and can be developed in a good strategy for simplifying BOM management. These are my observations….


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About the Author

Rahul Deshpande

Rahul is Principal Consultant at Brainwave Consulting Group – a cutting edge domain consulting group for New Product Introduction and Product Lifecycle Management.   Rahul brings over 16 years of experience in developing Technology and Business Solution for the Manufacturing Industry. He has worked with several clients in the manufacturing space in multiple roles spanning consulting, account management , Solution Architect and Program Management roles across the New Product Value Chain from Requirement / Enquiry management to launch of Product. He brings in cross functional experience covering Pre-Sales& Marketing, Business Planning, &IT Solution deployment. Rahul has worked along with the PLM ISV & Customers to define innovative solution and developed products for BOM Cost analysis and Sourcing Analytics on ENOVIA platform. He has penned different papers on usage of PLM for different processes & industries while addressing their business challenges. He brings a unique 360o view of the IT industry, and has significant contributions in the areas of IT Strategy, Program Management & Product Management.   Apart from holding a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics Rahul holds a Management degree from SIBM(Symbiosis Institute of Business Management). Rahul is associated with SIBM as visiting faculty for Innovation Management & International Business


  1. This Model is Smart way of managing the variant with in Product family. Have come across clients, who have been using this model.

    Another Case, This Model is a most commonly used in Managing Software product and Software integration with Hardware.

    It a crude form of managing variants without Configurators.

    Major disadvantage, Can figure Number of variants. If one tries to sit and figure out number of NPI projects invested in variants and number of variants generating revenue. One, can conclude, whether Organization is loosing money in undesired variants that generates hardly any revenue.
    Compare engineering BOM vs Sales BOM.

    Another Disadvantage, It calls for Human intervention to identify, Alternate and Substitute parts.

  2. Paritosh,
    Thanks for your comments. The model used is a different way, and can give a single view of BOM to all departments. It needs to be explored and matured.

    I would like to disagree on Crude way of managing without configurator, rather this mechanism can make use of configurator in much more efficient way.


  3. Some what same concept is explained in ‘Concepts and an Implementation for Product Data Management’ a PhD thesis of Hannu Peltonen

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