Most of the software we create at CR/LF is client-specific, targeted at a specific problem one of our consulting clients has. However, some solutions are generic enough to offer it to a wider audience, such as our
Bills of materials (BOMs) are the integral part of all industrial manufacturing. All the ERP or PPS systems manage their BOMs and use them to plan capacities, deadlines, or cost.
Those bills of materials handled by the standard planning systems usually are little flexible. They require given, fixed assemblies using a predefined exact number and type of components. Even dimensional variants of a part often are difficult to describe using such fixed BOM systems.
Many today products like cars or kitchens are produced client-specific. For such a "build to order" one needs very flexible BOM definitions which not only allow dimensional variants but also variants in form or text.
Typical ERP systems try to solve such problems using variable BOMs or check lists which create a client-specific BOM dependent on the order data. Such solutions most often are limited to a small number of components and single, simple alternatives.
CR/LF's rule-based BOM generator expands these calculations to (almost) arbitrary complex BOMs and (almost) arbitrary complex rules. This allows to describe the complete manufacturing logic of a company using BOM rules.
When an order-specific BOM is needed, the BOM generator evaluates the data associated with this order. This data may be imported from a CRM system or can be taken from any kind of data base. For each component of the available assemblies the BOM generator checks a number of rules and creates a bill of materials containing the needed components in their currently needed number, their currently needed dimensions and their currently needed structure. This order-specific BOM consists of order-specific or constant assemblies and parts. The BOM can be printed, edited or immediately transferred to an ERP system.
For each component of a BOM, the generator evaluates a set of rules. These rules are of course set by yourself as they define the logic used to manufacture the parts in your company.
The Exists rule defines whether the component or assembly is needed for this specific order. For example when manufacturing a car, door speakers may be needed only if the buyer had ordered a radio as well. The Exists rule is a logical combination of order-specific data. It is evaluated for the current order and returns true (part needed) or false (part not needed).
The Quantity rule defines, how many or in which size a component is needed within the current order. For example in manufacturing a plane the number of seats may be dependent on the ordered seat distance. Or in manufacturing a car the length of a brake-hose or of an electrical wire may be dependent on whether the car is to have ABS or not. The Quantity rule calculates a number or length used with the component within the generated BOM.
The Iteration rule allows assembly rules to be calculated more than once. Typically every component rule is to be evaluated only once for the whole order or for the superior assembly. Depending on the structure of the order specification or the part to be manufactured it may happen that some assemblies are needed more than once and in different variants. For example a telephone system consists among other things of a number of differently configured phones. Using the Iteration rule one can specify that certain BOM rules are to be evaluated for each phone on its own.
In cases like this is may be needed to name the generated components separately, e.g. using their phone extension number or a floor or room name. To accomplish this the BOM generator supports variable text data which can be used as an assembly name, a BOM text, or a tag maybe within an electrical diagram. Again every client-specific information available in the order can be used for these rules. Which kind of textual information is needed depends on your application.
Every single rule is defined in a very simple way. To do so all the data fields from the order definition can be used as well as a large number of mathematical or logical operations. Even predefined or user-defined functions can be used. All the generated order-specific assemblies and components are named with the order number and where needed additional text entries.
The input data needed for the BOM generation, i.e. the data describing the client's order, has to be available in a data base. This can be an order database already available in you company. Or it can be a data base specifically created for your application. These images (click for larger display) show samples from the user interface to an order-processing data base we created for a client to be used as the basis for BOM generation.
What does CR/LF's rule-based BOM generator cost? This software does not have a fixed price. It consists of modules which do not form a complete solution. Depending on how your order data is available we have to select or create an import function or a database connection. Depending on how you need the generated BOMs you may need a link to your ERP system. Therefore we adjust the software to fit exactly to your company. This includes the user interface, your terminology, an integrated help systems and more. Most importantly the integration into your given data processing environment is always a part of our work which needs to be calculated separately.
Due to this there is no list price for this product. Every installation will be built to order according to your needs. The price depends on the customization work, the given environment and your participation. Therefore contact us and describe your needs.
You want to add custom functionality to the BOM generator or you want to change how it works? No problem! On request you receive the complete source code of our BOM generator customized to your application.
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Last modification: 31.03.2011