April 20, 2022
Differentiation is one of the most important questions in business as well as in our private life. It is a complex multi-factor decision process. You can ask – what is the best phone, computer, car, TV? You can do the same for business software. The answer is always – it depends. Many factors are playing a role in choosing one product or service over another.
Learning From Customer Experience
Working many years with thousands of engineers and customers in manufacturing companies, the topic of one or another system differentiation is always critical and raises many questions. When I was doing PLM consulting, it was common to get a question – what is the best PLM? The answer always was – let’s learn more about what you do and what you need.
For the last few years working with OpenBOM customers, I had thousands of discussions with OpenBOM customers about their problems and decision process. I discussed what made them decide on OpenBOM and what made them decide on other software as well.
At OpenBOM we captured a large number of customer stories and online reviews. I’d encourage you to check them out and read them. They can give you a good perspective on what customers do with OpenBOM. Check them all – good and bad, because it will give you a real perspective on what is important.
Why Escape From Excel?
In my article 5 Signs, You Need SaaS BOM Service To Escape Excel, I explain why companies are naturally navigating toward Excel when they face the problem of data management and the need to organize product information, do BOM management, and control changes and manage downstream product lifecycle process. The story repeats itself so many times.
It comes down to 3 top reasons:
I’d like to give you a complete set of quotes from our customer stories. Here is one of our recent story about Nexa 3D.
Our company needed the traceability and history we could not get with a traditional spreadsheet”, he says. “It was simply impossible, even with a small team, to keep data reliable and intact as we shared with procurement.”
The reliance on Excel also did not meet the company’s need to manage sub-assemblies.
“Even with a very capable team, and an extraordinary amount of effort, and many vlookup macros, Excel could not deliver what we needed, it was fragile and the logic would simply break”, Kenyon says.
“As the Nexa3D products matured we soon had a BOM administrator dedicating 20 hours a week to maintaining Excel BOMs. With OpenBOM we have no single admin. OpenBOM is largely self-sufficient, no dedicated IT person is needed. It just works.”
Think about the number – 20 hours/week to maintain Excel. Multiply it with the engineering time cost and the ROI of OpenBOM will be shorter than a month. And I’m not talking about mistakes that will happen when you use spreadsheets for sure.
Top Reasons Customers Choose OpenBOM
“Nobody gets fired for buying IBM”. I first heard this catchphrase 20 years ago when I worked for Dassault Systemes and IBM was selling the product I developed. I guess this is a phrase anyone working in tech has come across. For many years later, I’ve been thinking about it again and again looking at inefficiencies engineers and manufacturers are experiencing when managing data, spending their time organizing Excel spreadsheets, and counting screws in multiple CAD assemblies. Combing back to the decision to develop OpenBOM, we decided to capture a fundamental thing related to the OpenBOM differentiation factor – customer support. But there are many others.
Here are the top five reasons why engineers or manufacturers will decide to go with OpenBOM and not with some other alternatives of more mature products and more established companies in the PLM and ERP industry.
- Professional and Dedicated Support
- Price / Value Balance
- Unmatched Integrations
- Unique Features
Here is the story from Grand Craft building amazing wooden boats (I wish I can have one). Located in Holland Michigan, Grand-Craft has over 40 years of boat manufacturing experience and a long legacy of quality.
“We just moved into an expanded facility and needed to quickly update and revise our Bill of Materials process and methods”, says Jeff Podhajsky, Vice President of Operations at Grand Craft Boats. “Our old system just wasn’t able to handle our growth”.
“We bought OpenBOM because it was the best fit for our company and we’re extremely surprised at how quickly the OpenBOM team put together the onboarding training for my team”.
OpenBOM customers have access to an onboarding service that is tailored to their specific needs.
Here is a quote from Gates Underwater Products about the usage of OpenBOM to run their business.
“OpenBOM is our single source of truth,” says John. “ We have one location for parts catalog, COGS, inventory management, and for assembly BOMs. All in OpenBOM, which has an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface. Creation and update of BOMs is driven from within the Solidworks environment, so the link is always preserved and synced. Someone in purchasing can open the BOM in OpenBOM and see the exact product and know what to buy.”
“We are moving steadily toward running the business on OpenBOM. It just works the way we want it to work. Naturally, and as a long-established company, we have a large backlog of existing products so migration to OpenBOM takes a systematic approach. In the end, we will have a fully digital representation of our products in Solidworks and OpenBOM”
My favorite thing about OpenBOM is “it is right-sized for my company. Filling a niche that MRP systems are not. Other programs are too limited or too cost too much. OpenBOM offers a lot of benefits to a company in a certain range and at a great value.“
Another one, which is my favorite, speaks about best practices of data management. Education is one of the most important things when it comes to data organizations and processes. At OpenBOM, we provide resources and guidance to help engineers and companies improve their process efficiency. Here is what Anne-Lyse from FramR has to say.
“FramR has a lot of component information we need to manage, we needed a real manufacturing bill of materials and purchasing solution”, says Anne-Lyse Miller Mechasys Supply Chain Manager
“My team took the time and looked at a lot of alternatives before selecting OpenBOM”, she explains, “from the super inexpensive to the extremely complex, OpenBOM was the right choice for us.”
“OpenBOM manages our data smartly, with categories and catalogs that align with the way we design and manufacturer our product.” “We reduced the number of ECOs BY 35%”
“I must say something about the post-sales experience and onboarding. The OpenBOM team helped us structure and organize our data using much more modern methods. Specifically, we changed our outdated naming and part number practices to a simpler and more reliable scheme – as a direct result of the OpenBOM onboarding process. It is easy to contact and talk to someone at OpenBOM with knowledge of our process and needs. In fact, I built my process around OpenBOM capabilities.”
My last example comes from the company, which is less associated with BOMs, bolts, screws and other mechanical components. This company called Fascia’s Chocolates Manages and it makes chocolate as you can imagine. If you need anything covered with chocolate and your logo, the is your choice. Read the story. OpenBOM helps to Fascia to understand the units economics of chocolate.
Here is what Bill Thomas the company’s Operations Manager says:
“OpenBOM is so much simpler than Excel. As material costs have been changing so much lately, it’s comforting to know that when I change an ingredient cost in one place, it updates in all of our product recipes. We love how OpenBOM rolls up the cost of all the ingredients to the top-level finished product.” And it’s more than just cost that Fascia’s is keeping track of in OpenBOM.
“As our business has expanded to much more online orders, we use OpenBOM to not only keep track of costs but for weight!. The BOM is our recipe. We add labor, timing, overhead, shipping, everything that goes into the delivery of our products to our customers.”
With OpenBOM we understand the unit economics of our chocolates!
“Honestly, we really didn’t evaluate a lot of ERP systems. We liked the affordability of OpenBOM so we gave it a try. In the end, it has been a great choice for us”, says Bill.
At OpenBOM, we built our value around unmatched customer experience, technology differentiation, and simplicity. These are guiding principles of OpenBOM differentiators in a very specific market of engineering and manufacturing software. The industry is transforming and old software vendors’ elephant will be replaced with a new generation of modern, agile, and powerful global services.
Contact OpenBOM and talk to us today – we would be happy to help.