Bill of Materials Online Service and The Advent of On-Demand Manufacturing

Oleg Shilovitsky
Oleg Shilovitsky
9 December, 2019 | 4 min for reading
Bill of Materials Online Service and The Advent of On-Demand Manufacturing

The manufacturing world around us is quickly transforming and the biggest change I can see around us is the creation of online services. A decade ago, we lived in a world that was driven by files and emails. This means everything was pretty much done by applications running on the computer and then send to somebody else using emails. 

Nowadays, we have business “services”, which technically applications available everywhere – similar to other applications like a map, airline ticket order or UPS. These services are growing and fast becoming a power horse to do everything we need – 3D print a part, make machining or PCB assembly. The number of services is growing and becoming a network. 

SolidSmack article – Three Digital Manufacturing Trends for 2020 ( brings an example of how on-demand manufacturing industry will develop. 

The online on-demand manufacturing industry – digital platforms that facilitate the entire manufacturing process through a network of distributed partners – has been experimenting with new materials and innovative business models over the past year.

By creating an ecosystem of quality manufacturers, all engineers have to do to get their parts made is to upload their CAD designs, specify the material, surface finish, threaded holes, tolerances and lead time to the cloud. The platform will then confirm the design and a member of the distributed network with the manufacturing capabilities for the specific part that will take on the project. 

My favorite passage from this article is the one that speaks about the ordering and quotation process. Here is the one. 

Whilst this industry is still in its infancy, the potential it unlocks for engineers is huge. Traditionally, parts production has been affected by long lead times to approve the quote itself, hindered by international transport and high-quantity minimum orders increasing cost and downtime. By reducing these barriers to high-quality parts, online on-demand manufacturing allows engineers to deliver without compromising their design.

In the coming year, we expect to see more engineers turning to on-demand manufacturing as a way to solve their major pain points. It’s likely this will lead to increased competition in this industry, as well as a consolidation of market leaders across the board. This will ultimately drive platforms to adopt new materials and draw more manufacturers into the distributed network, leading to increased choice for engineers, less downtime and lower costs.

At OpenBOM we are excited about this transformation. Because Bill of Materials and related product information is a lifeblood of every manufacturing process, OpenBOM will fast become a service that helps to coordinate ordering systems. 

Think about a product you want to assembly. By organizing a bill of materials made of items (managed by OpenBOM catalogs), OpenBOm can provide a data source for the ordering process. While it involves multiple contractors and suppliers, OpenBOM online data services and team views allow to coordinate data flow and help contractors and suppliers to create quotes and share information about requirements, parts, quantities, and deliveries. 

The following video shows how you can turn OpenBOM into a system helping to order parts. In this small example, we order parts made by a single CAD assembly. However, this is only a short example. In fact, assemblies can be connected together and help to create multi-disciplinary data set. 

Purchase ordering for Onshape:

Here is another example of ordering process for Solidworks:


Digital Transformation brings online manufacturing services that can act online in a coordinated fashion to facilitate ordering processes between manufacturing companies, their contractors and suppliers. This service is especially valuable for small and mid-size manufacturing companies that usually limited to IT resources and forced to poor man ordering systems (mostly email and Excel). New order process orchestration from OpenBOM is exactly what helps to many OpenBOM customers today. 

Read OpenBOM customer reviews on G2 Crowd to learn what customers are saying about OpenBOM. 

Try OpenBOM today by registering to FREE OpenBOM User Subscription.  

Best, Oleg @ openbom dot com.

Let’s get to know each other better. If you live in the Greater Boston area, I invite you for a coffee together (coffee is on me). If not nearby, let’s have a virtual coffee session — I will figure out how to send you a real coffee.

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my Beyond PLM blog and PLM Book website

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