Better BOM Builder - November 29th, 2022

This fall, our team shipped the Better BOM Builder series - a set of six critical enhancements to the assembly quoting process in Paperless Parts. The six releases included:

  1. Flexible BOM editing
  2. Manufactured parts with hardware
  3. Replace referenced part with new version
  4. Convert subassembly to purchased component
  5. Upload child component with CAD breakout
  6. Replace assembly w/ manufactured component

Now that the entire series is live, we want to ensure that all Paperless users who quote assemblies fully leverage the Better BOM Builder toolkit. This document includes info on why we built each feature and how to use it. If you'd like to follow up with a member of our team, reach out to our Support team - either by emailing support@paperlessparts.com or through the Help beacon.

For a refresher on our approach to assemblies, as well as a guide to some of the language we will use throughout this document, check out our Intro to Assemblies article.


Flexible BOM editing

Before this release, users were not able to edit the CAD-extracted tree of any assemblies in Paperless. A component’s quantity and location in the tree were both locked, and in order to make any adjustment to the BOM, you would need to fix the part in CAD software and re-upload it into Paperless.

Now, you can edit the CAD-extracted quantity of components as well as move them up or down in the tree structure without having to leave Paperless - or even your quote!

Note: To make any changes to a CAD-extracted BOM, you will need to be in the Child BOM view. Child BOM view will only show components and subassemblies at the level of the assembly you are currently in. Flat BOM view will show all components and subassemblies across the entire assembly. You can change your assembly view by toggling between Flat and Child BOM in the Assembly Components section.

How do I change the CAD-extracted quantity of an assembly component?

  1. Navigate to the Assembly Components section of the quote item.
  2. Make sure that you are in Child BOM view.
  3. To change a component quantity, click the blue number in the Node Qty column and type the new desired quantity. Press ENTER to confirm.
    1. Keep in mind that you will be changing the quantity of the component at the specific level you are in. If you are not in a subassembly, this will be the number of components per assembly. If you are within a subassembly, this will be the number of components per subassembly, and the total number of components per assembly will be multiplied by the number of subassemblies per assembly.

How do I move a component down a BOM level?

  1. Navigate to the Assembly Components section of the quote item.
  2. Make sure that you are in Child BOM view.
  3. Click the three dots next to the component that you want to move.
  4. Select Move down a BOM level. This will open the BOM restructuring drawer.

  1. Select the subassembly that you want to move the component underneath.
  2. Use the Current level and Lower level fields to assign how many components should be at each level after you move.
    1. Ex. If there are two instances of this component in the assembly and you only want to move one of them down a level, type "1" in Lower level and "1" in Current level. To learn more about using these fields, check out this article.
  1. Click Confirm to move the component(s).  

  1. Confirm the new structure is correct by checking the tree in the navigation bar.

How do I move a component up a BOM level?

  1. Navigate to the Assembly Components section of the quote item.
  2. Make sure that you are in Child BOM view.
  3. Click the three dots next to the component that you want to move.
  4. Select Move up a BOM level. This will open the BOM restructuring drawer.

  1. Use the Current level and Upper level fields to assign how many components should be at each level after you move.
    1. Ex. If there are two instances of this component in the assembly and you only want to move one of them down a level, type "1" in Lower level and "1" in Current level. To learn more about using these fields, check out this article.
  1. Click Confirm to move the component(s).  

  1. Confirm the new structure is correct by checking the tree in the navigation bar.

Note: If you are moving a top-level component up a BOM level, this will move the component out of the assembly and create a new quote item.


Manufactured parts with hardware

Although Paperless can extract the component quantities and structure of an assembly from a CAD file, we are not able to automatically distinguish which parts are manufactured components and which are hardware. Because of this, a model with more than one component will come into Paperless as an assembly even if it is actually a single-component part with hardware. This creates an additional assembly part number and does not align with how users typically quote parts with hardware.

In this release, we added a Components section to quote items. This section will contain a part's associated hardware even if the part is not an assembly, allowing users to quote parts with hardware without creating an additional assembly part number. 

There are two ways to set up a part with hardware in Paperless Parts.

Adding hardware to a part

If you’re quoting from a PDF or a CAD file that does not include hardware, you will likely need to add hardware directly to an existing single-component part after creating your quote item. 

  1. Navigate to the Components section.
  2. Click Add components to top level and select Add purchased component.
  3. This will open the Purchased Components drawer, where you can either select an existing inventory item or create a new entry in your Purchased Components library. Use the Node quantity field to adjust how many pieces of hardware you’re adding per part.
    1. To learn more about using your purchased component library, check out our Purchased Components Overview.
  4. Once you’ve made a selection, click Add component
    1. The drawer will remain open, so you can add as many components as needed before closing it.
  5. If you need to account for any hardware-related cost other than piece price (such as time per insert), add it to the part as an operation.

Converting an assembly to a part with hardware

 Any multi-component CAD file that you upload to Paperless will initially come in as an assembly, even if it's actually a part with hardware. To correct this and quickly convert an assembly into a part with hardware, use the Replace assembly with manufactured part action (detailed below).


Replace referenced part with new version

If your shop routinely quotes assemblies, it’s likely that you’ve previously encountered an error saying "Cannot perform action: part is referenced in multiple quote items" when trying to make a structural change, such as adding components to an assembly or changing the structure. This error message pops up when you try to perform an action that may affect other quotes in the platform, as a single part (or assembly) can be referenced by multiple quotes at the same time.  

Previously, the solution for this error was to Deep copy the part. Deep copying a quote item creates a duplicate of both the quote item and the entry in your parts library with all of the same costing and information as the original part. 

Creating this duplicate (or “deep copy”) of the original item severs the tie between the current and historical data for that part, allowing you to proceed with your action. However, it will also create a duplicate quote item that needs to be removed.

The Replace referenced part with new version action allows you to accomplish the same task - “severing the tie” - in fewer clicks. Going forward, any actions that would have typically resulted in an error message are now disabled and prompt you to Replace referenced part with new version.

To replace the referenced part and unlock this action:

  1. Click the three dots next to a quote item in the navigation bar.
  2. Select Replace referenced part with new version.

You’re good to go! All actions should be unlocked. There will now be a duplicate entry in the parts library with the same costing, but no extra quote item to delete.


Convert subassembly to purchased component

Just like parts with hardware, any multi-component CAD file uploaded into Paperless will be characterized as an assembly. This is also true for purchased parts (like hinges or joints) that are part of a larger assembly. Any multi-component purchased part will be characterized as a subassembly on upload, as we cannot automatically identify it as a single piece of hardware.

Previously, in order to classify the subassembly as hardware, you would need to delete the entire subassembly and add a new purchased component to the BOM. The new Convert subassembly to purchased component action now allows you to easily convert entire subassemblies into purchased components.

  1. Navigate to the Assembly components section of the quote item.
  2. Click the three dots next to the purchased subassembly. 
  3. Select Convert to purchased component.
  4. This will open the Purchased Components drawer, where you can either select an existing inventory item or create a new entry in your Purchased Components library. 
    1. To learn more about using your purchased component library, check out our Purchased Components Overview.
  5. After finalizing your selection, click Convert. The subassembly will be removed from the tree and replaced by a purchased component.


Upload child component with CAD breakout

With this release, you can create a new subassembly in an existing assembly by uploading an assembly CAD file as a child component. The CAD structure of the new file will be broken out as a subassembly in the existing BOM.

  1. Navigate to the Assembly components section of the quote item.
  2. Click Add components to top level. Select Upload component file.

  1. Upload the CAD file for the subassembly you want to add. Here, you will be prompted to assign a Process and Node Quantity (number of subassemblies per current assembly level). Complete these fields and click Confirm.
    1. For the best results, make sure you’re following the assembly file upload instructions documented here
  2. Once the file has finished loading, confirm the structure of the new subassembly using the tree in the navigation bar.


Replace assembly with manufactured component

The release of manufactured parts with hardware allowed users to add hardware directly to manufactured parts without creating a root assembly part number. However, uploading a CAD file for a part with hardware still creates an assembly structure in Paperless, which (even with the flexible BOM editing release) took several clicks to fix.

Enter the Replace assembly with manufactured component action! This new option in the Actions menu allows you to quickly convert an existing assembly or subassembly to a single-component part with hardware.  

  1. Click the three dots next to the part you want to convert.
    1. To convert an entire assembly/quote item into a single-component part with children, use the three dots next to the quote item in the navigation bar.
    1. To convert a subassembly, click the three buttons next to the subassembly in the Assembly Components section.

  2. Select Replace assembly with manufactured component. This will open the BOM restructuring drawer.
  3. Select which part should become the parent component (i.e. the part you will be making) and click Confirm.
    1. Once you confirm, the assembly structure will be deleted and replaced by a manufactured part. Any parts that you do not select will become children of your selection.
    2. Only manufactured components can be assigned as the new parent part. If you don’t see the part you want to select listed as an available option, confirm that it is not a purchased component before proceeding.
  4. To view the hardware in this new structure, use the navigation bar or navigate to the Components section of the new parent part.
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