June 9, 2017      3 min read

A Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM) is an important document, central to the correct manufacture of product. Before being able to truly appreciate its importance in the manufacturing process, we need to establish what it is. A MBOM is a highly detailed and comprehensive document that dictates exactly how a product is made, right down to the specific screws it may incorporate or the glue used to stick a label to it. No detail or decision made in the conceptualizing, design and manufacture of a product can be left out of the MBOM. Now we will look at why this document is so vital to the process.

Cross-training and protection

Small businesses have power in their smallness, having the ability to be far more adaptable and hands-on than larger companies. But with their intimate size comes the risk of having only one person expert in each area of production. Certainly, with this approach, quality is enhanced however there is a significant drawback which is the lack of cross-training. Cross-training ensures that there is never only one person expert on a certain process so that, should anything happen to them, production can still go on. A MBOM is a way of avoiding production coming to a standstill if an expert in a certain area is unable to see to production for a while. It means someone else can access the document and should be able to carry out production satisfactorily by following the detailed instructions. There is no match for good, hands-on staff training, however a MBOM can act as protection in the situation where a hole in the production process develops.

Manufacturing Compliance

To compete on a global scale, it is essential to abide by regulatory stipulations, especially in the food and beverage industry where the product is actually consumed. Customers are now savvy to this and often look for regulatory body certification as an indicator of quality and trustworthiness. A MBOM, as a detailed manufacturing set of instructions, will make compliance so much easier to achieve as all instructions will be easily obtainable. The MBOM also facilitates transparency and reproducibility, which is essential for quality and compliance.

Vision and motivation

A MBOM provides the company with direction as it details the journey of a product from concept to creation and purchase. Any details to do with the product, be it packaging or ordering, can be found in the MBOM. Therefore, if the company wants to introduce new products to the line or consider a different supplier for a component, they can consult the MBOM. This ensures that any new decision will fit in with the current production demands and timelines, so that possible new changes will enhance the company’s manufacturing and business goals rather than compromise them.

Standardization and quality

In any experiment, reproducibility is an important indicator of a controlled process where spontaneous, outside influences have no impact on it. The same goes for manufacturing. A MBOM is an important precursor to standardizsation and quality because all the processes articulated in it are detailed and reproducible so that the same product can be made over and over with the same level of quality.

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