Parts list management using PLM software

Parts list management requirements

Although the definition of parts list management can vary, the basic idea is to allow designers to create a part record for an item that can be specified, qualified, purchased and used in production. So, any part list management system has stakeholders in at least engineering, quality, procurement, manufacturing and finance. Unfortunately, most internally-developed part management solutions focus on the creating department's needs and rarely consider how the part will be used throughout its life cycle.

A good part list tool will automatically assign an appropriate part number, prompt users with how the part should be described, provide information on the part supplier sources, permit user-attached specification and process files, and track the part release history. The best parts list software is part of a complete PLM system that includes bill of materials management, document & file control, and change control.

Document identifiers and part numbering systems

A fundamental requirement for any development organization is to uniquely assign document and part numbers and to manage a central parts list. Accurate, consistent part identification is essential for correct product assembly, testing and service. Part numbering systems are as varied as the companies that define them, although certain part number best practices have evolved to avoid so-called intelligent part number (or significant part number) systems as too complex, error-prone and cumbersome. However, there's still a desire to uniquely assign items into broad categories and "semi-significant" part numbers are the typical result.

For more information on part numbering, see Part numbering system design for PLM software.

Parts list management software

PDXpert PLM software is more than a simple parts list manager. Like most part numbering tools, PDXpert PLM software can follow industry part number best practices by sequentially assigning document and part numbers. At the click of an "auto-number" button, PDXpert PLM software can also assign document and part numbers based on your defined item types, such as "Hardware", "Resistor" or "Assembly" using a flexible part numbering system that permits category prefix (e.g., "HW-"), sequentially-assigned base number, and a fixed suffix (such as "-001"). Users can edit or replace these assigned values as needed.

PDXpert PLM parts list management supports all organizational stakeholders:

  • When creating a new part record, users are prompted for consistent item descriptions using "text templates" based on the part type.
  • A specifying designer can provide both budgetary and current unit costs for part list roll-ups.
  • Each part can have its own supplier source parts list, which includes the ability to rank preferred usage.
  • Users can add a virtually unlimited number of file attachments that are either "locked down" on item release, or can be modified throughout the entire part life cycle.
  • Even non-technical users can easily find parts by relying on familiar "Google-like" free-form text searches that not only return the most relevant parts, but also can return similar items that may be substituted, with the resulting part list ranked by relevance.
  • Complete part histories are tracked by releasing and canceling parts revision records using change forms.

10 PLM features that beat simple parts list software

PDXpert PLM software is designed for growing engineered products companies. Our solutions are simple to use, flexible to apply, and improve your product data's accessibility and security.

PDXpert PLM software offers these essential functions:

  1. Bill of material (product structure) management
  2. RoHS/WEEE materials identification, tracking and assembly roll-up
  3. Document management of design and process data
  4. Part and document classification and attribute management
  5. Data export for loading downstream ERP systems
  6. Controlled-access data library (electronic file repository, or "vault")
  7. Free-form text search
  8. Change management for documents and parts
  9. Customized workflow for routing and approving changes
  10. Multi-user secured access, including electronic signature

PDXpert PLM software manages parts lists, document identification and part numbering - and so much more!

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