Josh Hixon

BOM and PDM management discussion.

Discussion created by Josh Hixon on Dec 14, 2018
Latest reply on Nov 21, 2019 by Tyler Harding

I would like to discuss how others keep their BOMs accurate and in line with other file management systems.  How you deal with discontinued parts.  How you deal with Sloppy or messy PDM vaults that you have taken over. How you deal with Assemblies containing standard parts as well as Raw materials as it relates to the BOM.


I want to hear from you guys if you have similar issues and how you are resolving them. If you have suggestions on ways to clean things up faster or major issues you may see with the current plan. Thank you all in advance for your highly valuable input!!


What we do and some of our struggles:


Currently, we use Sage as an inventory management software, therefore our BOMs get saved out as .csv files to be uploaded into that system.

We have two methods in use (trying to get to one) to save the .csv file.

  • One is saving out the BOM from the drawing as an excel spreadsheet, the data is then copied to another spreadsheet that manipulates the data and saves it as a new .csv file.
  • The second method is a macro that compiles a BOM from the assembly and saves it as a .csv file, taking all raw materials directly from the cut lists of their part.


The struggle in PDM: We have had three different Admins over 15 years with three different ideas on file management. we also had a transition from workgroup PDM to PDM professional. With nearly half a million parts in the vault, and easily 50 thousand standard parts with various naming conventions and file structures, BOMs are a giant time suck and have issues almost always. Here are some issues we are trying to solve.


  • Old standard raw material parts that should be weldments are drawn as sweeps, leaving no Cultists for the Macro and the accuracy of typed in properties is questionable.
  • Many reused models have standard parts that have two files for the same part, ie. 1234 and 1234 old.
  • Some hardware has multiple configurations with slopy configuration specific properties that cause odd and sometimes wrong part information in the BOMs
  • Weldment profiles have moved or been edited multiple times over the past 10 years leaving standard parts linking to old weldment data.
  • An issue that has been tackled pretty well already but still hits from time to time are standard parts that look great until we send a BOM on and it comes back with parts that have been discontinued. (Sloppy file management for many years caused many of these parts to still exist in standard library locations.)


Plan of action for PDM woes:

  • Drafting standards have been created to make sure all Solidworks users are on the same page so to speak. (There were no drafting standards for nearly 15 years of modeling)
  • From the Top level of the Vault, a new file structure has been built to create a  clean environment for new and custom products. In this new structure inventory parts are not allowed to enter until they have been gone through and brought up to the standards.
  • New templates are in progress for our made to fit products.
  • The BOM macro is being used by me only so legacy issues can be fixed as they come up. (the long slow process that I want to improve the most)


I will post to this as other issues come up or as new solutions to problems are found.