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Why is it called a "Bill of Material" and not a "Bill of Part Numbers"?

Question asked by Allan Visitacion on Mar 14, 2019
Latest reply on Mar 18, 2019 by Gary Lucas

So I'm having a conversation with the purchasing lady and she corrected me when I told her that I wanted to buy a part. She said "we don't buy parts, we buy materials". I'm thinking "WTF is she talking about? I need parts, to build assemblies, and I document it on a drawing...this is the mechanical design way, right?"

I got to thinking: She buys against a "Bill of Material". Why is it not called a "Bill of Parts" or a "Bill of Part Numbers"?


I've heard it called other things like "Associated List" and stuff like that, but why call it a Bill of "Materials"? Is this driven from non-engineers (i.e. software folks) from SAP? Does it come from a specific industry or market?


Call me narrow minded or inexperienced...I'd like to know.


Sarcasm, BS and funny answers welcome!