5 Steps For Customers Onboarding to Escape BOM Spreadsheets

Oleg Shilovitsky
Oleg Shilovitsky
9 December, 2021 | 4 min for reading
5 Steps For Customers Onboarding to Escape BOM Spreadsheets

Excel (or Spreadsheet) is a common problem for many engineers and manufacturing companies. What sounds like a simple solution (to know what parts your customers are using in their products) is not that simple. This leaves engineers, procurement, and production planners spending countless of hours on spreadsheets trying to figure out what part goes where and how much it costs.

If this sounds like the predicament you’re currently facing, then there is hope! We’ve got five steps that will help you get ahead of this problem so that your customer won’t have an excuse any longer when it comes to sharing BOMs with their suppliers.

Onboarding Process for Everyone!

Since the beginning of the year, we started the OpenBOM onboarding program with the goal to help customers walk the path from Excel to structured product lifecycle management functions to manage data in an organized form.

OpenBOM Onboarding service is available to all customers and the purpose of the service is to help you to walk from spreadsheets chaos to digital process. Check out more about the Onboarding Experience and what it includes. Over the course of the year, we onboarded dozens of companies and learned a lot along the way. We are expanding our onboarding program for 2022 and wanted to share some of our thoughts about the process and how to make it right.

You can learn online, but…

We love engineers. OpenBOM is developed by engineers for engineers. In other words, we know manufacturing companies and we understand the value of the OpenBOM products. We provided hundreds of videos, multiple online training courses, and documentation. Yet the value of personal onboarding is enormous. Our recommendation is to think about it as a trade between your time and the value of getting a customized prescription of how to move from chaos to order. In such an equation, even if you purchase a $900 onboarding package you can save dozens of hours watching videos, reading materials, and scratching your head about best practices of Part Numbers, what property to manage, and the exact steps to take to organize your process. We recommend you think about ROI and not about the cost.

How to prepare for the onboarding process?

Once you decided to purchase an onboarding package or you subscribed to the OpenBOM plan which includes an onboarding service, the next question is how to get your company prepared. It is crucial to get your team aligned before the process starts to successfully move your organization from one state to another. Here are 3 things we recommend you gather from employees and managers to get the answer of what to do before the onboarding and who should be involved.

  1. Document the existing process
  2. Identify key stakeholders
  3. Find samples of the data (spreadsheets) that can be used to demo the current process.

Create a user account for the customer which will provide them with access to all of their information.

Give an opportunity to ask questions

Being able to ask questions from OpenBOM experts in real-time is huge. Please don’t underestimate it. Our team has collected hundreds of years of experience implementing PDM and PLM systems and we bring a reflection of this experience to you during the onboarding process. We had examples of customers that were completely rethinking their product development process, part numbering schemas, and many other things during the onboarding. We have examples of customers that purchased a recurrent onboarding process to train their new employees. The onboarding process we made, provided an extreme value to their business and boosted the performance of employees and the overall process.

Keep Track of Progress

The onboarding process must be organized and performed in stages. If we learned anything during the time we’ve been onboarding customers to the OpenBOM system it’s that the process cannot be organized as a “big bang”. The onboarding process must be consistent and cover technology, operations as well as assist customers to perform their goals. In other words, define the objectives, control the efforts, and have the conversation to unblock users that are stuck in the process. A minimum goal with staged progress is the best.

Get The Feedback and Measure Results

The last thing in the onboarding process is to ask for feedback. We usually start the onboarding by setting goals and by the end measure what we have achieved. In such a way we do a comparison between goals and achievements. It is more important to you as a customer to understand how you got to where you are because product lifecycle management is a journey to transform your company from one state to another and this journey has an endless number of iterations. Having a way to measure results and provide feedback is the right process to stay on track.

Examples of Customer Onboarding

Here are a few stories with examples of OpenBOM’s customer onboarding.


OpenBOM provides a robust and powerful onboarding experience that includes training materials, custom components, and consulting experience. This is the foundation for a successful customer onboarding and overall positive customer experience.

Check out how OpenBOM can help – REGISTER FOR FREE and start a 14-day free trial.

Best, Oleg

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