Bill of Materials

In Fishbowl Manufacturing®, the Bill of Materials module allows you to generate formulas, recipes, and lists of parts that will be used in the manufacturing process. A bill of materials is essentially a guide that walks you through everything, from parts to labor, which is required to manufacture an item. There are four main types of jobs that a bill of materials can be used for:

  • Manufacture
  • Maintenance
  • Disassemble
  • Repair

Let’s explore what these are in greater detail.


This is the standard type of manufacturing job where you take a variety of parts and put them together to create a finished product. It can be incredibly simple or it can involve multiple steps or production stages that have to be completed in a specific order to produce the desired results.


Every now and then a vehicle’s tire treads wear out or another part simply fails to function at the optimal level, so it’s time to swap it out or otherwise rejuvenate it. That’s what the Maintenance option is for.


This is the complete opposite of the Manufacture option. Disassembling a finished product involves undoing all of the work done in the manufacturing process and ending up with a bunch of separate parts. This is hard to do when it comes to cakes and other food items, but it makes sense for machines and electronic devices.


Repairing an item means the item itself remains intact, but it will have time and possibly materials poured into it to bring it back to its proper condition. You can add labor costs and other intangible costs to a bill of materials so that even if a part isn’t consumed in the course of a repair, there will still be an increase in its overall cost reflected by the addition of other costs to it.

Bill of Materials

No matter what kind of manufacturing job you’re attempting to perform, you can find a way to do it with Fishbowl Manufacturing’s many bill of materials options. Now we’ll dig deeper into the Bill of Materials module to show what it is capable of.


Creating a bill of materials doesn’t necessarily have to be a laborious task. Fishbowl Manufacturing has an Auto Create option that allows you to quickly add a number of items to the bill of materials. Here are the five kinds of items that are able to be added this way:

Batch Add: This allows you to add more than one part and/or product simultaneously.

Finished Goods: These are the end results of a bill of materials and work order.

Notes: If parts or products require extra instructions about what is to be done with them, you can insert notes to explain them.

Raw Goods: These parts and materials will be used up or transformed into something else in the manufacturing process.

Repairs: These are intangible items that are not consumed in the manufacturing process, but they still incur costs.

After you’ve added these things to a bill of materials, you can make sure they have the right quantities and units of measure, and then the new bill of materials will be good to go.


After you create a bill of materials the first time, you can automatically generate it again and again each time that job comes up. You can save each bill of materials and duplicate it at the click of a button in Fishbowl Manufacturing. There are many reasons why duplicating a bill of materials is a good idea for manufacturers, including the fact that:

  • It speeds up the manufacturing process by helping manufacturers get organized faster.
  • It ensures nothing gets forgotten or added inappropriately.
  • It helps maintain quality control across all of the products that are manufactured.


Duplicating a bill of materials is a great idea for the sake of consistency, but what if customers desire something more than consistency – customization? Fishbowl Manufacturing has you covered there, too. You can customize a bill of materials to meet different needs. For example, if you have several versions of the same product, you can modify the bill of materials for one version to be used for all the others.

It doesn’t matter how many customized versions of a product you want to make. They will all be accessible. If you want to change a product’s color from red to blue or use a different hard drive in a computer or make any other changes like those, you can do so in a bill of materials and then save it as a new one. Each new bill of materials you create will be available for duplication or customization, just like all of the previous ones you have made.


A bill of materials doesn’t have to just be a list of words naming and describing the items that are going to be used to manufacture a finished product. It can also include pictures of the parts you’re looking for to make them easier to identify. A picture is worth a thousand words, and having a picture of each item on a bill of materials can be extremely useful to warehouse workers who are going out and picking everything off the shelves. These images are an added layer of protection against making the wrong picks.

In addition, when you use a wireless mobile device to pick items on a bill of materials, you can quickly locate everything on that bill of materials in your warehouse by their bin number, lot number, and other identification markers. Again, this is a great tool that dramatically speeds up the manufacturing process and makes everything run more smoothly.


If you don’t use every single part that is found on a bill of materials, you can go into Fishbowl Manufacturing and easily adjust the inventory records to show the actual number of parts you used, instead of the planned number. This cuts down on wasted materials and it keeps your records accurate.

If this happens habitually, it may be a good idea to revisit all of the items and quantities found in a particular bill of materials and decide whether or not they have been inserted properly or if they should otherwise be revised for the sake of accuracy. After all, it’s better to make a single adjustment than to keep making adjustments over and over. And Fishbowl Manufacturing makes this quick and easy.


Schedule a Web demo of Fishbowl Manufacturing to see all of the ways you can use a bill of materials in your manufacturing jobs!

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