Most Companies Don't Have Service BOMs. Here's Why That's an Issue

Based on a poll of 47 service professionals working at discrete manufacturing companies, 55% of companies don’t have service bills of materials (SBOMs). Essentially, they’re not reusing their engineering departments’ product data to create information for their service operations:

55% of companies don't manage service BOMs

The poll was taken during a webinar PTC co-hosted with Tech-Clarity’s Michelle Boucher on how discrete manufacturers can align their service and product lifecycle strategies by transforming engineering bills of materials (EBOMs) into SBOMs.

Dozens of factors prevent manufacturers from creating SBOMs, but based on the results of the poll, I’d say it would have to do with the fact that only 37% of organizations manage their engineering BOMs (EBOMs) through one system. Nearly 20% don’t manage one at all:

18% of companies don't manage EBOMs

This finding implies that most companies don’t have a way to automatically keep their parts catalogs, repair manuals, and other service publications up-to-date with engineering changes. Especially if you consider the fact that 22.2% of respondents said they have SBOMs, but they’re incomplete or unreliable.

The link between SBOMs and accurate service information

At a basic level, creating an SBOM requires some sort of service information management (SIM) system that’s connected to (or a part of) a product lifecycle management (PLM) system. The reason why this integration is necessary is because PLM solutions typically manage EBOMs.

The SIM system takes a digital EBOM, identifies information that’s relevant to service (such as service kits containing multiple parts), and then creates a separate BOM containing information that’s only applicable to service. In other words, the SBOM is different from the EBOM in that it is based on serviceable parts.

Because both the EBOM and SBOM are digital, every time engineering applies a change to that part, the SBOM automatically updates to express that change. There’s a live associative link between the BOMs that facilitates those updates.

The long and short of it is that SBOMs allow organizations to keep all their downstream technical publications up-to-date with engineering changes. That eliminates the risk of dealers ordering the wrong parts through out-of-date parts catalogs and technicians seeing parts in real-life that look nothing like the parts listed in service manuals.

Airbus Helicopters, Embraer, and several companies in the high-tech and automotive sectors manage digital SBOMs through SIM solutions. The eBook below details why they chose to create digital SBOMs, what they had to do to develop them, and tips for simplifying implementation:

Extend PLM to Service eBook Download