If your original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is slow to acquiesce to the requests set out in your bill of materials (BOM), there could be one of several reasons at the heart of the matter.

As the results of the pandemic continue to take a toll on procurement and manufacturing at all stages of the supply chain, we ask how BOM software can help search for part numbers and generally keep things moving along when it matters the most.

Find relevant suppliers

The first thing to mention about BOM software is that it can put you within reach of many OEM suppliers. The details are listed in an alphabetical directory. It’s then down to you to research the suppliers that can offer the services most relevant to your needs.

The downside to not using BOM software is that you are left with a big task on your hands when it comes to finding the right businesses and suppliers that you need to support your company. You may rely on old business relationships. Or you could believe that word of mouth will serve you well when asking around for options. But why risk it?

Cultivate a part numbers list that isn’t a headache for your suppliers

How many characters does your ordering system allow? Up to 30 perhaps? Be mindful that your ordering methods have an impact on the businesses tasked with fulfilling those orders further down the supply chain. Where you are creating potential hazards with lengthy part numbers that could easily be entered incorrectly when typed manually at the other end, you are only making problems for yourself.

BOM software can help to sidestep this issue by providing you with an easy to populate ordering form/sheet that can be copied and pasted by your suppliers as required for ultimate transparency and readability. You can also indent your order to include top-level “parent” components that expand into “children” components. This ensures that no single component that is integral to a group of parts is left out or not seen on the order form (which leads us to the next point, below…).

Defining your order can improve delivery estimates

Unless you have experience working within the OEM side of the supply chain, you may have never given much thought to who actually looks at your BOM and prepares your order. Are these people skilled workers? Is the work carried out by automated machinery? It’s more likely the fact that the people who prop up your business from the very start of the supply chain do not know a thing about your company and may not be very motivated due to low wages (see global average incomes).

Now, ask yourself, could you be doing more to help your company be defining your BOM in such a way that the staff who read your order can easily and quickly fulfil your requests? BOM software can help. Your component program files should be stated in assembly order, with factory consumable items listed separately.

Never assume that the people processing your BOM have all the time in the world to decipher your BOM. Put yourself in their shoes.