Everything that needs to be manufactured requires a ‘precise‘ Bill of Materials (BoM) which described exactly what specific items, components or parts composed the products that has been specified / ordered (which are typically pre-defined in a modular manner by the OEM product configurator). For complex configured products, such as mass-produced passenger cars, the vehicle that is ordered by the client is configured to his / her requirements – on the basis of an all-possible option in a ‘configurable BoM‘ (a.k.a the 150% BoM) from which all-possible ‘configured BoM variants‘ (a.k.a the 100% BoMs) can be created.
The 150% BoM is just another name for a variant structure, or more specifically, a configurable BoM which contains the ‘art of the possible’ of a product line.
A variant BoM contains more parts and assemblies than actually needed to assemble the (final) product – the 150% of the parts. In Manufacturing terms, variant BoMs can be used specifically for:
- Assembled-To-Order: typically based on predefined configuration rules, including compatibility matrix and business rules which describe what specification combinations are allowed or not.
- Engineered-To-Order: which can be manually configured to make use of customized parts/assemblies, that have been engineered according to the specific custom requirements.
Many OEMs are now moving to ‘global‘ configuration engines which can be directly used to ‘solve‘ configuration requests at every levels:
- By Design Engineers (e.g. to validate BoM design, perform clash analysis or other simulations).
- By Manufacturing Engineers (e.g. to simulate Manufacturing Process, validate specific manufacturing tooling configurations on a product platform, update Electronic Work Instructions for a production or assembly line).
- By Procurement (e.g. to validate a part or component that is been ordered from a supplier).
- By Sales & Marketing (e.g. to create product website and brochures).
- By Finance (e.g. to simulate cost models on a specific product variant or family).
- By clients (e.g. on OEM websites or on dealership interface system).
Manufacturers of highly configured products (such as super-cars for exclusive clients) is pushing the boundaries of the variant BOM approach. In this context, there is a need for hyper-agility where configured baseline bundles or set of modules need to be extensively overloaded to satisfy extreme customization requirements.
What are your thoughts?
This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 27 August 2015.