Optimized BOM Creation with Cetec ERP

A Bill of Materials, or BOM, is the compilation of materials and labor required to build and ship a product. It is the centralized compilation of raw materials, components, subassemblies, work instructions, inspection instructions, drawings, CAD files, and specification sheets required in the manufacturing process of that product.

For a manufacturer, the BOM is the core data driving quoting, actual costing, inventory requirements, scheduling, and quality. It is the heartbeat of manufacturing, and drives the data and processes for all other departments downstream.

One of the exercises that we have found useful in understanding efficiency and throughput is examining how fast a manufacturing company can take a BOM from their CAD software and push it into production. Improving the throughput of CAD to production without needing to bring on more people is one of the major advantages of modern technology. The turnaround time significantly impacts how quickly you can get a new quote and how much time purchasing has to respond to the demand for the new materials. In other words, you can drastically improve your quote win percentage, prevent material shortages, and secure on-time shipment and delivery.

The first step of this process is BOM creation. How quickly can you get a BOM, either from your customer or from your CAD software, into your ERP? After the BOM is in your ERP, you need to commit an order, schedule it, and start planning materials. You need a streamlined workflow at this critical piece of the business process.

The creation and management of the BOM in an ERP is a time-consuming and complicated process. Accuracy is crucial for quoting and sales, purchasing and inventory management, production, and accounting. With the right tools and software, you can streamline this step in the process to improve your efficiency and save time and costs across the business. That’s where Cetec ERP comes in - the cloud-based software is designed specifically for manufacturers, providing a range of features to manage your entire business process more effectively.

In Cetec ERP, there are three primary pieces of information you need to consider for the bill of materials: a list of components and subassemblies, the labor plan and work instructions, and the BOM documents.

These pieces of information represent the foundational metadata needed for departments and processes downstream from BOM creation. In this blog post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at how Cetec ERP can help you enter all of this data quickly and easily.

1) BOM Creation in Cetec ERP

It all starts with a BOM revision, comprised of the list of raw materials, components, and subassemblies, as well as necessary related data such as quantity per top, reference designators, and scrap. The complexity of a BOM varies widely amongst manufacturers. Whether you are an OEM manufacturer with a large, complex bill of materials, a contract manufacturer quoting and building for your customer’s BOM, or a job shop with just a few components and labor, Cetec ERP has the tools you will need for BOM creation and management.

Cetec ERP has a number of paths and tools available for fast and accurate BOM creation. These include:

  • Manually create the BOM. You can simply create a new BOM revision and type in the components and needed quantities.
  • Import the BOM - When creating a new BOM revision, you can import the list of components from an excel or csv document rather than entering each component manually. This import will also create new part records if they do not already exist in the system, allowing you to quickly create many part records.
  • Create a BOM on a quote - Need to build a custom quote? Starting with an existing quote, you can create the BOM’s part number on the quote line, add components, import a BOM, and create a labor plan - all from within the quote. Cetec ERP preserves this quote without automatically creating a BOM revision for a record of the quote, but you can choose to save it as a permanent revision if preferred.
  • Clone a previous revision - You can clone another BOM revision to your new BOM, which is helpful when creating a similar product or revision of a product. An example would be using a different color of fabric: the same product, but a different material.
  • Import a BOM - You can import a complex, multi-level BOM under the admin data import tab. This is a great option if your CAD software can give you an excel export but not easily leverage APIs, or if you are importing a significant volume of new BOMs for a project. Harness API to create BOMs via CAD or quoting software - Cetec ERP has integrations with several partners to do this ‘out of the box’, while other customers work with their own CAD software to make this happen.

To learn more about the process of creating BOMs, check out our detailed guide.

2) Streamlining Labor Plan Creation with Cetec ERP

Creating a labor plan, also called a router or traveler, involves both estimating the number of hours required to complete a production process and defining the actual build path. The build path details the locations your assembly will move through, the steps of production, all operations, and work instructions for the shop floor. Labor plan creation is an important step in managing your production process, as it helps you understand how long it will take to produce a particular product, how much the labor will cost you to make it, how many resources you will need to allocate to the project, and easily track it through the production process.

Here’s a few of the options you have to more efficiently enter and manage labor plans with Cetec ERP:

  • Set a default build path - This defaults the steps or work locations of production. In the OrdlineStatus data maintenance table, where work locations are set up and managed, you can configure the default work locations to add to each BOM’s labor plan. You still need to add the operations for time estimates, and work instructions if you’d like.
  • Clone from a previous revision - By cloning the labor plan, you can copy estimates and work instructions, and make small tweaks as necessary. Import labor plans - If you prefer managing an excel document, you can import multiple labor plans at a time with work locations, build operations, and work instructions. This is useful in implementation or creating a large new BOM.
  • Leverage APIs - Cetec ERP’s open APIs support labor plan creation. This allows you to push labor from your quoting system directly into Cetec ERP. Both the CalcuQuote and Paperless Parts integrations support this, but any customer has access to leverage the open APIs as needed.
  • Set a ‘Master Labor Plan’ revision - Cetec ERP has a feature that allows you to have a single template which you can link other BOM labor plans back to. This means you only have to maintain a limited set of labor plans, and can easily propagate changes to linked labor plans. For more information, check out our feature highlight here.

To learn the details of creating labor plans and estimates, explore our detailed guide.

3) Document Management

Documents are crucial to having all of the necessary data for a bill of materials. You need the CAD files and drawings, and often manufacturers will load work instructions as a document rather than building them out digitally. You can load and attach documents to a specific BOM revision, pushing them through a document approval workflow. This is excellent both for keeping track of easily accessible documents, and for auditing purposes - be it a customer audit or a compliance requirement like ISO or ITAR.

Document Management details can be found here.

Cetec ERP’s pragmatic BOM creation process provides a major advantage to businesses. It allows them to quickly and accurately generate quotes, respond efficiently to material demand, and ensure on-time shipment of products. This feature means companies increase their quote win percentage while avoiding potential supply chain issues. Cetec ERP streamlines the product development process from CAD design all the way through delivery, helping businesses save time and resources so they can focus on what matters most: growing their business. Contact us to learn more about how Cetec ERP can help your manufacturing business!