How do you manage your BOM's?

Hey everyone,

Not the most glamorous topic and I’m not sure if this is a general discussion topic but I’m looking at how I manage my BOM’s and I’m curious how everyone else manages theirs.

Do you use Excel? Or do you use bought software? Why do you do it the way you do it?

Hoping to gain some insight into different approaches.


What sort of place do you work? Manufacturer? Consultancy? Where you work will have a lot to do with how you manage BOMs.

Poor man’s BOM management;

-Create a Google Docs account and give access to team members. Use the spreadsheet program to create a BOM that everyone can view and edit. :smiley:

I was working at a consultancy (then I left to travel, currently looking for a new design role) and we used Excel. I also have my own company which manufactures and sells a product and I adopted the same Excel principle. I’m redeveloping the product though and offering multiple versions that need to be viewable by people other than myself so I was just curious as to alternatives.

Using Google Docs is a nice shout, hadn’t thought of that. I’d considered Excel in a Dropbox which I suppose is a similar setup.

Does anyone here currently use the Google Docs method? How does it work for them?


Word document routed through Agile (a product lifecycle software).

You can do a lot of BOM management through Excel, including some limited rev control with file links. For very small operations, this could work out to be pretty decent.

Are you referring to revision control as well? As far as revision control, I prefer to take any 2D document created and produce a PDF with the revision in the file name (this locks it in time and offers digital signature capability as well). 3D files are saved in a STEP format with the same naming convention as 2D and then both get zipped into an archive file that retains the naming convention. Each project has a folder and all assemblies have BOM data on the first page of the document. BOM’s in assemblies should not include component revision. You can have your spreadsheet point to and manage the current revisions.

(This is for preliminary documentation as our corporation has a very convoluted documentation and release procedure).

Using a word doc is a new one on me. Seems everyone has very different ways of doing this. Version control is an important element, it seems there should be an easier way, the method you list @Random Though Processed sounds time consuming.

@Scrotum are you cool with having all that sensitive data in the cloud. Does anyone store their BOMs online? Worried about security?

Again, I know this isn’t glamorous, I just find it interesting how it’s something we’ve all got to do yet appear to do it differently. Although I agree with @NURB, where you work will have a big impact on how you manage your BOMs.

Google Docs accounts are password-protected, and I don’t think people care about a list of generic part names and hardware, at least on small projects. If you did then you’d spend the money on PLM software. :wink:

Which instantly solves the versioning issue for you. Also using an ERP will help, especially if you can tie it to your design software of choice (SW, Pro E, etc)