Explosion of Bill of Materials Details

The term "explosion" here is misleading. Nothing is "exploding." It rather refers to a breakdown of one item into its parts—like an explosion would do to a large rock.

In the same way that a bill is a list of what you owe—debt, essentially—a bill of materials is a list of raw materials, components, and instructions a company needs to create, manufacture, or repair something physical. As such, you can think of the bill of materials as a list for the creation and maintenance of one tangible item. Typically, bills of materials are the first things created by anyone looking to produce a new product, as it serves as an effective blueprint. Depending on the stage of the item's development, the bill of materials can display different information.

Bills of materials are integral to providing an overview of the entire production process to all parties involved. They must also be accurate. An incorrect bill of materials can wreak havoc throughout the production process, causing costly errors in various areas, from purchasing to hitting production quotas. Since the bill of materials refers to the entire list of materials involved in the production process, more detailed and less detailed views are crucial to ensuring that the company manufactures the product correctly.

Example of Explosion Bill of Materials

Let's take a car as an example, the most prime example being the BMW 3. The engine of a car is simply one part of the car as a whole. However, the engine is also made up of many parts itself, such as coolant pipes, radiators, air intakes, etc. The BMW's engine specifically requires piston rings, torque sensors, and the clutch hydraulic master cylinder. The process of explosion is simply a way to get a closer look at said parts.

By exploding the engine, you can see that the engine is made up of a collection of the parts mentioned above. You can explode these parts even further, taking deeper and deeper looks into specific parts of the car. You'll eventually get to the point where only the simplest of parts, such as screws, nuts, and bolts, remain.

Explosion of Bill of Materials vs. Implosion

Implosion is the opposite of this approach. If you were to implode the parts of an engine, you'd consider the engine as one whole part. Continuing to implode the parts of a car (such as the wheels, windows, and engine) would eventually give you the whole car.

Explosion and implosion are both crucial to changing your 'view' of the bill of materials' end result. Explosions of the bill of materials can yield fine details behind the product and give manufacturers good idea as to their initial order for individual parts. On the other hand, implosions can greatly assist during the manufacturing process to see how these same parts fit into the whole.