What do you use for parts inventory and BOM management?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by msr, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. msr

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2008
    Hey everyone,

    As a maker but also as professional (an electrical engineer working in a startup) I feel the need to easily keep track of my electronics parts inventory as well as to create and manage BOMs either for my personal projects as well for the projects I have at work.

    However I'm not happy with the solutions I found on the web, for different reasons (price/model/features) so I'm creating a new software that fits exactly my needs. At the same time, I wonder if I'm the only one or if there's someone out there with similar frustrations. So I created this survey (it won't take you more that 1 or 2 minutes, I promise): http://goo.gl/forms/pr1u3qZBSy

    I'm not sharing what my frustrations are as of now in an attempt to keep the survey as unbiased as possible.
    I also would like to ask you to share it with your fellow EE colleagues, your maker friends and with whomever you think have the same needs.

    Let me know what you think. Thanks!
  2. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    Xcel works well. I use a combination of built-in data management functions and custom VBA scripts to manage part and BOM information. Combined with Access, you could make a powerful parts inventory system.
  3. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    Its called an ERP system..
    There are plenty out there and all sorts of pricing options...
    Takes care of everything from BOMs to Inventory to Accounting to Purchasing, to shop floor (job orders, labor reporting, etc..) etc..

    Any company should have one IMO and while you might have an initial sticker shock the time it can save and the organization it provides are well worth the cost..

    FWIW.. We use Made 2 Manage from Aptean.. Its pricey but its well worth it for all the manual management time it saves us.. (Small company under 30 employees)

    A team should be created with individuals from each department and an extensive study/search should be performed..
    A good ERP system will drive EVERYTHING your company does..
  4. hp1729

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
    I use Excel also. I tried mixing it with Access a few times but without much success. The drawbacks of Excel are serious. It is too easy for the techs to destroy / corrupt. Yes, adding Visual Basic is a great improvement.

    Excel no longer has the size limitation is used to. Big and wide Excel files are impossible to print, so it is best a paperless system. Some of my Excel parts lists include entire families (74xxx and CD4xxx) whether or not I have them in inventory. It provides a "what it is" description and a hyperlink to data sheets and application notes. Since I worked with various equipment manufactures who have their own part number systems it is handy to have cross references. It is easy to search.
    I have tried a few different software packages over the years but they either didn't fit my needs, cost too much or the techs who would use the system didn't adapt to them easily.
  5. Sensacell

    Senior Member

    Jun 19, 2012
  6. hp1729

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
    It looks okay for manufacturing. My concerns were for a repair depot.
  7. msr

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2008
    Thanks for your input guys!
    I'm hoping to release the beta as well as the survey's results next March.
  8. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    For my business, I wrote my own web based documentation management system, using PHP and MySQL as the back end. It handles parts, assemblies (boms), pricing & purchasing data, and documentation and change management. It's neat because the documentation is all kept along side the parts data in the same database, and all revision controlled. I can pull up BOMs, parts, documents, and histories with the click of the mouse. It even generates dynamic Excel spreadsheets for when I need to send a current (or even old) BOM to a vendor.

    It pretty much exceeds any document control system I'd ever used in the past. I've always had a desire to open source it and put it up on SourceForge, but I've never had the time.
  9. edwardholmes91


    Feb 25, 2013