BOM compare: Software for comparing all product data

Last update 2017-01-02

Comparing Excel BOMs is obsolete

Until now, spreadsheets have been used as the principal means for communicating the product structure. It's not that Excel is very good for comparing bills of materials, it's just that there's been nothing better.

Although comparing spreadsheet BOMs is very useful, the available data is extremely limited:

  • Part numbers
  • Quantity, perhaps with unit of measure
  • Reference designators
  • Maybe routing info or other application notes
  • Possibly a small selection of approved sources for some components

Since BOM spreadsheets are commonly used within your supply chain, accuracy and completeness are essential. Finding all revised data in a multi-level BOM is equally critical.

However, anyone who's had to create and maintain spreadsheet BOMs knows that

What's better than a spreadsheet for product data?

The best BOM compare tool would show much more than just a simple bill of materials. Let's also consider:

  • Multi-level expansion of indented BOMs
  • Part-level attributes like UOM, cost, package quantity, mass, material composition, custom attributes
  • Revision-level data like current approved revision, lifecycle, detail drawings, trustee, release date and change number, and revision notes
  • Approved part sources with supplier contact information
  • Reference documents such as specifications and procedures
  • Fabrication, assembly and supporting file attachments
  • Engineering change release details

Fortunately, there's a standard file format that provides all of this information.

The IPC-2570 Supply Chain Communication (PDX) standard specifies a Product Data eXchange file (a "PDX package") that includes the complete product view: parts, BOMs, documents, design files, change notices, supplier contacts and a host of other useful information.

Exporting a PDX package from your PDXpert PLM or MRP system is all we need. Well, we'd also need a PDX viewer that can read and compare PDX packages....

PDXplorer Viewer reads & compares the entire product

PDXplorer Viewer provides a simple way to navigate, view and export product data contained in PDX packages. And our PDXplorer Viewer allows easy PDX file comparisons for identifying changes to individual items and BOMs.

PDXplorer software can view and compare the complete product

PDXplorer Viewer features:

  • Completely FREE to download and use — for all of your supply chain partners.

  • Simple operation: just export a PDX package from PDXpert or any PLM/MRP that supports the PDX format, and open it with PDXplorer... no reformatting, data crunching or cut/paste required.

  • Comprehensive product data: parts, BOMs, sources, document references, file attachments, material composition, custom attributes, change forms.

  • Industry-standard file format is vendor-neutral and application-independent.

  • Intuitive product structure navigation, with Back/Forward "breadcrumb" buttons.

  • Text search of object names and/or property values.

  • Side-by-side data comparisons, with differences Highlighted.

  • Launch file attachments for viewing by simply clicking the hyperlink file name or web link.

  • Export files individually or within any navigation tree group.

  • Select rows or entire grids to copy data into email or other software applications.

  • User interface can be tailored using XML-based configuration files.

  • Run on your local PC, and avoid the slow performance and security risk of cloud-based tools.

  • Export items, BOMs, sources and other user-defined data in Excel-compatible CSV text files.

  • More than two PDX files can be compared: matching Owner / Type / Number for revision changes, or isTopLevel=Yes for non-interchangeable part changes.

What's better, Excel+BOM spreadsheet or PDXplorer+PDX package? Compare the data in any BOM spreadsheet to PDXpert's IPC-2570 implementation. There's simply no comparison!

This application note was relevant to the PDXpert software release that was current at time of publication. Product changes since that time may affect its utility. We'd be happy to assist you in assessing the applicability of this note to your situation.

Learn More
Application Notes
Working within PDXpert
Working with other software applications