BOM and Production

network-wirelessI have been looking for cloud based services to assist managing stock levels and production. I was looking for something more specialized than the MYOB or XERO accounting software. After many hours of searching for a solution, I have yet to find anything which is ideal for my needs, but I have found two that are adequate. The problem with accounting software is that they really are not designed for the case where you buy a roll of 5,000 resistors for US$3.28. The software wants to account for each part, which is like trying to account for every piece of sand on a beach.

The first is PartsInPlace, which is the simpler of the two. It allows me to manually enter the BOM (Bill Of Materials) and parts list, and manage stock levels and ordering. It allows you to import parts and manage where they are stored. Having said that, the adding of parts and BOM items leaves a bit to be desired, and is not quite what I am looking for. Still, I will probably use it until I need something bigger.

When I do, I will probably look at Ciiva, which is Windows based. In fact, at the time of writing, I could not find a single statement on their web site noting this. The best I came up with was that it required dotNet Framework v4. Apparently they are planning on a cloud version of their software next year, and given that it connects to their server anyway, this is probably not that hard. Manually adding parts to this product appears painful, but powerful. In order to add a part, did a search on the DigiKey number to bring up the part, and then copied the manufacturers number and searched for it. And then added the part which took a lot longer in processing time than you would think.But the funny thing is that when you do search for the manufacturers part number that the Digikey result is returned.

I could not find any way of adding without doing this extra add step. The software does handle multiple pricing structures really well, and effectively does an Octopart on your BOM. Great feature, but too complex really. I suspect this would be a great product if you had a full time PCB designer to load in files and upload them, but that is not me. So, Ciiva is on my future products list.