Exploding the Bill of Materials Details

A bill of materials is a complete and detailed list of all the components and raw materials used to assemble a product. An exploded bill of materials shows the completed assembly at the top of the list, then its various components and, finally, their parts. A complete bill of materials should include:

  • The name of a part
  • The reference number
  • The quantity of the part which will be used in the assembly
  • The unit of measurement which is used. (for example - centimeters)
  • Any additional notes

A bill of materials contains vital information which allows the producer to plan the manufacturing process. With an accurate bill of materials, the manufacturer can identify which parts the assembly will need and at what stage of the assembly process. Exploding the bill of materials allows the manufacturer to have both an overview of each stage's assembly and details. The manufacturer can ensure there are sufficient stocks of essential parts and make the production process as efficient as possible.

If the bill of materials is incomplete, inaccurate, or non-existent, the production process becomes more complicated and might, under some circumstances, stop altogether. This involves the manufacturer in additional and avoidable costs and wastes time.

Exploding the Bill of Materials Example

A single car has around 30,000 different parts. The car company will manufacture some of the components itself but rely on outside suppliers to provide others. Bringing all of these different parts and components to the assembly line and producing the finished vehicle is complex. It is made even more complicated because, generally, no two cars are the same. Customers can choose between different models, colors, and different extras that they want in the car.

An exploded bill of materials for a finished car is a very detailed document. It breaks the car down into its various components and then show the parts which the manufacture will need to make each component. The car company will need to have a detailed overview of the entire process while individual suppliers will have an exploded bill of materials for the component which they supply.

With this information to hand, the car company can ensure that it has sufficient stocks of all the parts it needs to run the assembly process smoothly. The bill of materials will allow the company to manufacture or order parts as needed and avoid the problems caused by over or understocking.

Exploding Bill of Materials vs. Imploding Bill of Materials

As the name suggests, an exploding bill of materials shows the finished article broken down into its components and then parts of components as if the finished article had exploded. An imploding bill of materials shows the same information but uses the opposite process. An imploding bill of materials starts with the lowest levels of the assembly process, shows the connections between parts and how they come together to produce the finished article. Both approaches show the same information. The only difference is one of focus.