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BOM with Zero Quantity – Epicor ERP 10.1 Feature Highlight

Do you need a Bill of Materials (BOM) that is more than just a list of parts needed to build an assembly, such as when:

  • Optional or reference items are added to the build.
  • Parts are required to make the final product.
  • Alternative parts can be used.

If your answer is yes to any one of the above, then Epicor’s Engineering module (Product Data Management – PDM) offers a new feature for you  that was released with Epicor  ERP 10.1  – the ability to add a BOM line item with a quantity of zero.

First, lets back up a little bit and talk about the Engineering module itself. The Engineering module provides manufacturers with a solution that manages the information traditionally contained in engineering documents, site floor routings, changes, sales orders and quality documentation. The Engineering module therefore serves as a central knowledge repository for process and product history and for users with access, it promotes integration and the easy exchange of data.

Now back to this recently added feature. You may be wondering when a BOM with a line item quantity of zero might be used, so following is a list of some possible scenarios with a brief discussion on feature benefits at the conclusion of this blog.

Scenario 1: BOM with a Quantity of Zero for Reference Materials

A BOM with a quantity of zero can be used when reference materials need to be added to a BOM that may or may not be used during the manufacturing of a part. Here are a few examples:

Example: A metal worker adds a rust inhibitor on parts meant for marine use. Since the rust inhibitor is only used on parts destined for marine use, the rust inhibitor can be added to the BOM with a quantity of zero so that the worker can use it as needed.

Example: A bicycle manufacturer gives customers the option of purchasing a bike assembled or as a kit. When the bike is packaged as a kit, an instruction booklet for the assembly must be included. The booklet displays on the BOM as a zero quantity and is added only when the bicycle is ordered unassembled.

Example: An automobile manufacturer offers several tire options for the customer to choose from. The automobile is assembled to order and the choices are called out as a quantity of zero on the BOM with a note to refer to the customer sales order.

Example A repair shop lists all the parts on the BOM that may be required for a repair to a defective unit. Each material is listed with a zero quantity and the employee performing the repair can use each material as necessary.

Scenario 2: BOM with a Quantity of Zero for a Job with Material Replacement

A BOM with a quantity of zero can also be used when, midst a job, one material needs to be substituted with an alternative material. In such cases, Epicor ERP 10.1 gives you the option to void the original material, but it is not required that the material is returned in the system.

Example A job to build a motherboard for a laptop has been started. Part-way through the job, the production team decides to use a processor from a different manufacturer on the laptop assembly. The quantity for the original processor is changed to zero and the material for the replacement processor is added to the BOM.

Scenario 3: BOM with a Quantity of Zero for Authorized Substitutes

A BOM with a quantity of zero can also be used when your build includes interchangeable part numbers that have been authorized as substitutes.

Example: Two electronics manufacturers make a fan that is fully compatible with a filter, therefore the part numbers are interchangeable. With approvals, both fans can be used in a product build.

Benefits of BOM with Zero Quantity

The Bill of Materials is used by many departments within an organization, not just the production floor. An accurate BOM helps engineering with design iterations, purchasing with planning and scheduling, finance with reporting revenue recognitions with greater confidence and more.  Some additional benefits of the addition of the zero quantity BOM feature within the Epicor ERP 10.1 product release are:

  • A more complete and accurate BOM.
  • Improved ability to provide the right parts at the right time.
  • Faster identification of alternative parts.
  • Ability to add BOM parts that may or may not be used in an assembly.
  • Ability to issue inventory to materials only if used.
  • Better maintenance of optimal inventory levels.
  • Ability to backflush materials to jobs that include a material with zero quantity.
  • Ability to review the actual profitability of a job because the costs for the actual materials are issued to the job.
  • Improved efficiencies.
  • More accurate reporting.

Additionally, integration and real-time information will be beneficial to your organization as a whole as you will be able to get a complete view of your organization for better, more confident decision making.

If you would like more information on this topic or need help with your Epicor ERP, please contact MIS.


Karen Beaulieu

Karen Beaulieu has worked in the ERP software industry for over 15 years. Having worked in a variety of roles from product development, channel and direct sales to marketing, Karen has a unique understanding and perspective of the ERP software industry. Currently Karen works in a marketing capacity for MIS Consulting & Sales and MIS Solutions Canada, ULC.

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