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Successfully Implementing a Standalone BOM

Question asked by Brian Guth on Feb 5, 2019
Latest reply on Jul 10, 2019 by David Matula

Our team is pursuing a different path with BOMs.  Per the book, Engineering Documentation Control Handbook (pp. 30-31), and industry standards; we are attempting to remove our BOMs from the body of our drawings — they would become standalone documents.


Our problem is in trying to implement this.  Has anyone else done this successfully?


Below I am asking two separate things, about two possible avenues, for removing BOMs.


1. Using item balloons


The primary challenge we believe that we will face is keeping the item balloon numbers on the drawing in agreement with the standalone BOM as changes are made.  The drawing item balloons and the BOM would need to be able to relate to one another and make any necessary updates.  It is understood that this can currently be implemented using a linked Excel document; but, in the near future, we will be migrating to a PLM system.  Has anyone linked their drawings to a PLM controlled BOM?


2. The use of find numbers


We have also contemplated using find numbers (part numbers) in place of item balloons.  Larger industries, e.g. aerospace and automotive, use find numbers instead of item balloons.  Has this ever been put into practice by anyone using SolidWorks?  If so, how were you able to make this work?


Any insights into this endeavor would be greatly appreciated.


Further reading:


BOM 101 for Engineers by Oleg Shilovitsky




Historically, drawing are where people put the BOM for a product, sometimes solving the problem of BOM distribution within a company.  However, a BOM in a drawing presents many disadvantages. In most situations, people don’t need a drawing, rather, they need a BOM and/or part list. Another point of confusion is the discussion about applying part numbers in drawings. In most situations, this represents the limitation of systems used for product development, e.g., PDM, PLM. Separating Part Numbers and Document Numbers is the most reasonable way to manage the confusion of BOMs in a drawing.