Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Better BOM Scrub

Over 350,000 components went obsolete in 2013 according to Silicon Expert Technologies. That is a number not likely to favor the uninformed. With so many parts going obsolete every day, what are you doing to mitigate your exposure?  The preferred option for many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) is to proactively scrub their Bill of Materials (BOM). By continually monitoring the raw materials used to build your products, you can prevent unforeseen problems and expenses.

            BOM scrubbing is a necessity and should be included in your manufacturing strategy. Whether it is done passively or actively, every manufacturer should periodically scrub their BOM to protect its ability to continue producing products.
Many larger OEMs monitor this in house themselves by the use of BOM scrubbing software.  Silicon Expert and iHS are two good examples of software designed to automate a large portion of managing your BOM, but these are not always an option for companies with limited resources as these programs tends to be expensive. Due to the cost, many OEMs are turning to their Contract Manufacturing (CMs) partners to manage this as part of their service offering. Not all CMs offer this service, so if you’re currently outsourcing your builds, you may want to ask. Proactive CMs that understand the importance of managing the BOM properly may offer it as an additional service or include it as part of their normal services.
Now what is BOM scrubbing and how does it impact your production?

BOM Scrubbing Reports
There are many advantages to a successful BOM scrubbing program. Its main purpose is to  alert you of any information that may change the way you order a component, design a board, or stock a part. Scrubbing is the process of going through an entire Bill of Materials and checking every item for the following:
  • Accurate Part Information
  • Life Cycle Status
  • Not Recommended for New Design (NRD) Alerts
  • Lead Time Issues
  • Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) and Standard Packaging
  • Compliance Validation (RoHs)

The Benefits
            Scrubbing your BOM routinely, or having your CM send you a frequent BOM scrubbing report, has many benefits and will provide valuable information to assist your decision making process. Here are a few examples.
  • Improved Redesign Time: Having life cycle and NRD alerts ahead of time allows your design team valuable time to redesign the board for future runs.
  • Time-to-Market: With lead-time warnings you are made aware of standard lead-time changes. By knowing in advance that a component has gone from an 8 week delivery out to 16 weeks or more allows you time to react. You can either stock a part with long lead-times or cross the part to one with shorter lead-times.
  • Decreased Costs: With accurate lifecycle status updates you will avoid the costly problems associated with obsolescence. By knowing in advance, you have more options. You can choose to inventory the parts for the anticipated life cycle of your product line.  If the part is considered “Non-critical” it allows you time to approve other sources. Obsolete parts can be expensive to purchase, especially if you didn’t plan ahead and have no other options available.
  • Decreased Chance of Mistakes: With inaccurate part information, you can get miss-quoted or receive parts that were not specified, which can lead to quality issues that increase costs and production times.
  • Increased Compliance Efficiency: With compliance validation you can ensure all of your components fit RoHS and other compliance standards. With an early alert of potentially non-compliant parts, you can cross or redesign with more time to meet your customer’s needs.


            With BOM scrubbing being offered as a free service by many CMs, you should find a CM who understand its value and its potential impact on your bottom line. With the shift to active BOM scrubbing, you gain information on your BOM that allows for more response time, faster time-to-market, lower costs, better designs, and higher quality products. 


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