The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Bill of Materials (BOM)

5 minute read

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on understanding and utilising a Bill of Materials (BOM). As a leading authority in the field, we are dedicated to providing you with the most insightful and detailed information available.  Whether you’re a novice or an experienced professional, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to […]

Published on: Jun 09, 2023

Datapel is a leading inventory management system trusted by thousands of businesses for critical functions & processes.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on understanding and utilising a Bill of Materials (BOM). As a leading authority in the field, we are dedicated to providing you with the most insightful and detailed information available. 

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced professional, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to optimise your BOM management and streamline your production processes.

Understanding Bill of Materials

A Bill of Materials, commonly referred to as BOM, is a crucial document that lists all the components, parts, and raw materials required to manufacture a product. It serves as a roadmap for manufacturers, enabling them to understand the composition and structure of a product, as well as the quantities and specifications of each item.

Importance of an Accurate BOM

Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date BOM is essential for several reasons:

  1. Product Development: A well-structured BOM facilitates the design and development process, ensuring that all necessary components are accounted for and adequately integrated into the product.
  2. Cost Management: By providing a comprehensive breakdown of all materials, the BOM enables accurate cost estimation, helping manufacturers plan their budgets effectively.
  3. Inventory Control: An accurate BOM allows manufacturers to optimise their inventory levels, ensuring they have sufficient stock of required components while minimising excess inventory.
  4. Production Efficiency: With a detailed BOM, manufacturers can streamline their production processes, reduce errors, and improve overall efficiency, ultimately leading to cost savings and improved customer satisfaction.

Components of a Bill of Materials

bill of materials example

A well-structured BOM typically consists of the following components:

1. Item Number

Each component within the BOM is assigned a unique item number or identifier. This helps in easy identification and referencing throughout the production and assembly processes.

2. Description

The description field provides a brief but clear explanation of the component, allowing anyone reviewing the BOM to quickly understand its purpose and characteristics.

3. Quantity

The quantity column specifies the required quantity of each component needed for a single unit of the final product. Accurate quantity calculations are vital to avoid shortages or wastage during production.

4. Unit of Measure

This field specifies the unit of measure for each component, such as pieces, kilograms, meters, or litres. Consistency in the unit of measure ensures accurate inventory management and procurement.

5. Reference Designators

Reference designators are alphanumeric codes used to identify where each component should be placed on the final product. They assist in the assembly process, ensuring components are correctly positioned.

6. Manufacturer and Part Number

These details provide information about the specific manufacturer and the part number associated with the component. This helps in sourcing and procuring the correct components for production.

7. Additional Information

Depending on the complexity of the product, additional information fields can be included in the BOM, such as component specifications, revision numbers, or alternative suppliers.

Best Practices for BOM Management

bill of materials wms

To optimise your BOM management process and enhance overall efficiency, consider implementing the following best practices:

1. Maintain Version Control

Regularly update and maintain version control for your BOM to ensure that everyone involved has access to the latest revisions. This helps prevent errors, confusion, and inconsistencies during production.

2. Standardise Naming Conventions

Establish a clear and consistent naming convention for all components within the BOM. This simplifies communication, minimises errors, and facilitates collaboration with suppliers and manufacturers.

3. Document Changes and Revisions

Keep a detailed record of any changes or revisions made to the BOM. This information is invaluable for traceability and future reference, especially in cases where product iterations or improvements are necessary.

4. Collaborate with Suppliers

Maintain open lines of communication with your suppliers to ensure accurate and up-to-date component information. Establishing strong relationships with reliable suppliers will streamline your procurement process and reduce lead times.

5. Leverage BOM Management Software

Consider utilising specialised BOM management software to centralise your data, automate processes, and improve collaboration among teams. These tools can significantly enhance efficiency and accuracy in managing BOMs.

Bill of Materials in Warehouse Management Software

bill of materials manufacturing

Utilising inventory management software with built-in Bill of Materials (BOM) functionality is the most efficient and accurate approach for creating BOMs. Incorporating BOMs into inventory software offers several advantages, including:

  1. Streamlined Production Planning: Warehouse management software with BOM capabilities simplifies production planning by automatically calculating the required quantities of each SKU based on the desired number of completed assemblies, taking into account any existing stock of parts or components. This automation reduces complexity and improves efficiency in planning production runs.
  2. Effective Version Management: Maintaining a single, reliable source of truth for your BOMs is crucial. Cloud-based inventory management systems provide seamless document management, ensuring that all stakeholders have access to the latest and most accurate BOM versions. This enhances collaboration and eliminates confusion resulting from outdated or conflicting BOMs.
  3. Demand-Driven Purchasing: A robust inventory system empowers you to initiate the production planning and purchasing process directly from a sales order. This enables a Just-in-Time manufacturing approach, where production and procurement are driven by actual demand. By aligning your manufacturing activities closely with customer orders, you can optimise inventory levels, reduce carrying costs, and enhance customer satisfaction.

How to create a Bill of Materials in a WMS

Creating a Bill of Materials (BOM) in WMS involves listing the required items to assemble a new inventory item. The BOM consists of components necessary for building the item, such as Coffee, Water, Milk, and Sugar for a Café Latte. The BOM typically specifies the quantity needed for a single-built item. 

To create a BOM in WMS, follow these steps:

  1. Open WMS.
  2. Go to the Items list register.
  3. Select the Assembly item for which you want to create the BOM.
  4. Open the Inventory detail card, go to Settings, and ensure the checkbox is ticked.
  5. This action will reveal the Component Tab between the Details Tab and Pricing Tab.
  6. Click on the “Components Tab.”
  7. To create a new BOM, choose “Edit Bill of Materials (BOM)….”
  8. A new screen for entering the Bill of Materials will appear.
  9. Enter the quantity required to produce a single-built item.
  10. Enter the components either manually or by using the Stock Lookup assistant with Ctrl+Enter to select multiple items.
  11. Specify the component unit quantity needed for a single-built item.
  12. Save the BOM.

The Bill of Materials identifies all the component items necessary for assembling the final product. A Work Order is an instruction to create new stock. The Work Order progresses through the manufacturing workflow, with components being assigned to it (removed from stock), ultimately resulting in the addition of assembled stock to the warehouse inventory.


Mastering the art of Bill of Materials (BOM) management is crucial for any manufacturing organisation striving for optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness. By understanding the importance of an accurate BOM, familiarising yourself with its components, and implementing best practices, you can streamline your production processes, reduce costs, and enhance overall productivity.

Remember, a well-structured and up-to-date BOM serves as the backbone of successful product development and manufacturing. Embrace the power of effective BOM management, and empower your organisation to achieve new heights of excellence in the competitive landscape.


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