PLM and the BoM

Bills of Materials reside in both PLM & ERP?

Over the years, I have helped many companies with their PLM projects.  During that time, I learned that all of them considered the bill of materials residing in their ERP [enterprise resource planning software] to be the ?blessed? bill of materials.

As you might imagine, in many of these companies we did discuss where the ?blessed? bill of materials should reside.  This shouldn?t come as a surprise but engineers think that it belongs in their PLM [or PDM ? product data management] software.  Everyone else thinks it should reside in the ERP.

A simple way to look at this is that the PLM software manages the changes to the bill of materials.  When a new bill of materials has gone through all of its permutations and been approved [gone through all approval steps] it is published to the ERP.

What can you see in the PLM?

You will see bills that are in some phase of the change process and the released ?as designed? bill of materials [the one that is published to ERP].

So, engineers can see the latest ?as designed? released bill in the PLM but may not be able to see the ?as planned? bill.

What can you see in your ERP?

They may be able to see the latest ?as designed? released bill in the ERP, but they should definitely be able to see the ?as planned? bill.  Depending how the ERP software is set up, you should be able to see other bills like the ?as planned? bill, the ?as manufactured? bill, the ?as installed? bill and the ?as maintained? bill.

So, all of the employees without access to PLM will look to their ERP for bills of materials. 

The PLM software [managing changes to bills] makes sure that the latest released ?as designed? bills of materials are published to the ERP at the right time.

Your Thoughts?

This approach is easy to implement and understand.  Do you handle bills differently?