PLM, EBOM, MBOM, single version of the truth?

Hello. It is a while I did not write. Sorry about it!

Recently I had the chance to discuss the BOM topic in the real life, with people in a plant, as we were deploying our PLM/ERP interface into a new plant. This interface supports the concept of a unique product structure for all functions needing to get it, including manufacturing. PLM is the master system for it, the interface transferring the product structure to the ERP in order to launch/update MRP calculation. An ambitious challenge.

So we started discussing with the people in the plant, until we reached an interesting point. People asked how to manage regrinded raw material. For information, in plastics industry, products are sometimes manufactured not only from virgin raw material, but manufacturers are reusing scrapped parts from runners ans sprues, regrinding the plastic raw material, and adding a given percentage of this reused raw material. This practice initialy dedicated to decrease  the cost of procurement, is used as well to leverage green products initiative. This percentage is taken into account in the MRP calculation. People interested in such practice can look at this link.

Plant people  were telling me that they were using a specific item, added this item in the BOM close to the virgin raw material, and added the right quantity to virgin and regrinded material.

I was starting to think that our beautiful concept of a unique BOM was not so appropriate! Because I was thinking that our BOM, built by Engineering people was never entering into this kind of “detail”.

I then started discussing this topic with quality people. And she told me that at plant serial kick-off, a certification was given to the production, and this certification was based on some characteristics to maintain during serial production. She told me that not only this certification was including the fact that regrind material was used, but the manufacturer had to tell which percentage of regrinded material was used. The certificate was given based on this information. In case of change in the percentage, a derogation process was launched to autorise temporarily the production with a different percentage.

It means that people in charge of product definition needed to identify upfront which percentage of regrinded material should be used in production, and not simply the quantity of raw material needed to manufacture the part.

I was really surprised to discover that our unique BOM concept was still valid. PLM is traditionally advertized as the way to maintain the product definition. ERP is advertized as the master system for production data, and separation of both means that there is usually a misalignement between both. Through that little story, I see  a clear benefit of merging both concepts while using two different IT applications.

What do you think?

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