In part 1 we discussed the distinction between SKUs, Product Items, and all of the various part types that make up a final product. The high-level overview of SKUs gives you a sense of the final product. This post will cover the different aspects of your SKUs: Product Item, Packaging & Accessories.
A Product Item is usually a BOM made up of several parts most often including a Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA). Sometimes they will also require packaging, so you will need to manage and understand the associated costs and lead times.
Product Items are a type of BOM that typically includes:
Product Items contain assemblies and sub-assemblies. This allows you to clarify relative component complexity, which can be helpful for a number of things like communicating product assembly instructions to a factory. This also helps with understanding how to package and market your product (e.g. knowing whether you’ll consider a single cable as an accessory or a product item). By viewing BOMs flat, it's great for adding part cost data, or hierarchically, which is ideal for understanding how the product is assembled.
So what’s considered an accessory? Well, it’s something that’s not the main part of the product, but certainly would be missed if it wasn’t there. Who wants a burger with no fries? This would be anything that doesn’t have a PCB or PCBA that enhances the usability of your product. They could be either fabricated or existing parts.
Each SKU Provides a BOM line item for an Accessories List; inside of this list you can attach as many parts or BOMs you’d consider an accessory as needed. Since any of the items inside of the Accessory List is a part or assembly, you can manage Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ), suppliers, costs, and lead times just as you would any other part. This makes it easier for teammates and possible factories to visualize that this part of the SKU holds supportive functionality.
Packaging is the part that contains your product and could be anything from a box to shrink-wrap, or even a sticker. Packaging also includes any print documentation that helps to explain the use of your product like directions or FAQ. We’ve found that packaging is typically not considered early enough in the product planning life cycle, and just like any other part this could have implications on your overall costs and estimated schedule. It’s also the first thing the customer typically sees!
When a new SKU is made, a Packaging Line Item is added and you can always add packaging parts to any part or assembly. A part or assembly can have multiple packaging line items that means more than enough space to include your box, brochure and label, as well as manage the costs and lead times separately. By being specific about what type of packaging goes where, the conversation becomes much easier between you and your supplier on how the final product should be packed and shipped. Being able to maintain that clarity and organization up front will prevent confusion and missteps right before your product gets shipped.
Manufacturing presents more than enough opportunities for confusion and frustration. Our burger graphic explains how we think about organizing product data so you can start your project on the best footing. The burger graphic gives a good starting point in the conversation of how to best represent your product to teammates, factories and customers. Consider the project you're working on right now. What's your Product Item breakdown? What would your packaging look like? What about your accessories? Is your value meal ready to go?
If you need a hand or have any questions at all, reach out to us any time. We’re here to help!