Keeping track of all of the details that go into a successful project can be a big ask. A bill of materials template helps keep you organized by housing all the information needed for the successful completion of your project.Create your template
Think about the last time you cooked a complicated meal. You probably started by creating a grocery list. That way, you had all the ingredients you needed on hand to make the recipe, so you could easily whip it up.
A bill of materials (BOM) template is kind of like that—except instead of keeping track of spices and vegetables, a BOM lists out all the details and information needed for the successful completion of a project, such as the manufacturing of a product or the launch of a campaign.
Here’s how to create a bill of materials template—and why you should.
A bill of materials is an itemized list of all the details and information needed in order to successfully complete a project. Traditionally, manufacturing and product development companies—such as car manufacturers—have relied on BOMs to keep track of the parts or assemblies used in the creation of a specific product. However, BOMs can also be used in non-manufacturing work, such as by SaaS companies or creative agencies to make sure all the details needed to complete a project—such as creative assets—are accounted for.
A bill of materials template is a templatized version of a BOM. The template serves as a reusable framework you can use for any project that has a lot of elements or details that need to be tracked for successful project completion. Instead of creating a new bill of materials every time you begin a project, you can simply duplicate the template and start logging project details—saving you upfront work and letting you focus on what matters.
Traditionally, companies have created bill of materials templates in tools like Excel spreadsheets, Google Sheets, or even printable log sheets. But these old-school methods have drawbacks. For example, it can be difficult to manage changes and revisions made in spreadsheets, and spreadsheet-based BOMs increase the likelihood of siloed communication between teams.
You need a tool that houses all your BOM information at a glance—while also allowing for collaboration between teams, standardizing your asset tracking process, and cutting down on potentially costly errors. A digital bill of materials can help you do that.
By creating your BOM template in a project management tool, you can:
Reduce the upfront work of creating a bill of materials template for each project.
Standardize your asset creation process across teams and departments, ensuring the same information is captured for each type of project.
Give the entire team visibility into what details are needed for successful project completion, preventing siloed communication and ensuring that all teams using the BOM are on the same page.
Create a consistent asset tracking process to minimize project delays.
Control who can access and edit the template, ensuring the correct version is always used and reducing the risk of multiple versions causing project errors or setbacks.
Attach supporting documents, like design drawings, purchase orders, creative assets, and instructions for easy reference.
Since your bill of materials template is a reusable resource, you’ll want to keep your baseline BOM template generic enough to apply to multiple projects. When creating your BOM template, it’s important to include all the details you’ll need to accomplish your project goals, which will vary by industry.
For example, if you’re manufacturing a new physical product, you’ll need to know the parts required for production as well as the unit cost and total cost. Alternatively, if you’re launching a marketing campaign, you might want to keep track of all your creative assets, as well as the team responsible for creating them.
The main goal is to create a BOM template that’s duplicatable across the same project type. Then, once you’ve created your original template, all your team has to do is create a copy and fill it out for their specific project.
If you’re using a bill of materials template to track production-specific needs, elements to include in your basic BOM template include:
The part number
The part name
A detailed description of the part or component
The procurement process or source, such as if the part is being manufactured in-house or purchased from a supplier
The quantity needed for each part
The unit of measure used for each part, such as “each,” “inches,” or “kilograms”
The unit cost
The total cost for the part, taking into account the cost per unit and quantity needed
For a creative project, like a marketing campaign launch or a product launch, key elements to include your basic BOM template are:
Asset category or primary channel
Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.
Project Overview. Project Overview is your one-stop-shop for all important project context. Give your team a bird’s-eye view of the what, why, and how of your project work. Add a project description to set the tone for how you’ll work together in Asana. Then, share any important resources and context—like meeting details, communication channels, and project briefs—in one place.
Messaging. Need to share information that isn’t actionable? Try Messages in Asana. Messages enable you to communicate within Asana about non-actionable work. You can send messages to any combination of individuals, teams, and projects, so everyone is on the same page. Link to tasks, projects, and Goals in Asana to make it easy for your message recipients to gain context and drill down into the details.
Mobile. Asana is available on iOS and Android, making it easy for you to check your to-dos on the go. Review any new inbox notifications, send messages, and access project tasks so you’re always up to date on project information.
Jira. Create interactive, connected workflows between technical and business teams to increase visibility around the product development process in real-time—all without leaving Asana. Streamline project collaboration and hand offs. Quickly create Jira issues from within Asana so that work passes seamlessly between business and technical teams at the right time.
Microsoft Teams. With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.
Figma. Teams use Figma to create user flows, wireframes, UI mocks, prototypes, and more. Now, you can embed these designs in Asana, so your team can reference the latest design work in context with related project documents. And, unlike screenshots, live embeds update in real-time to reflect changes made in a design file, eliminating the overhead that comes with finding the right files and updating images.
GitHub. Automatically sync GitHub pull request status updates to Asana tasks. Track progress on pull requests and improve cross-functional collaboration between technical and non-technical teams, all from within Asana.
The person responsible for creating your bill of materials template will vary depending on your industry and what you’re using the BOM for. For example, if your company designs and produces highly technical products, a product designer might be in charge of the BOM template. On the other hand, if you’re in manufacturing, the responsibility might go to an engineer. For marketing or creative teams, the BOM might be created by a project manager.
When we say your bill of materials template should include all the details involved in the completion of a project, we really mean all the details. Nothing is too small to include—even details that might seem inconsequential. For a manufacturing project, this might include small raw materials or consumables like glue or tape. For a creative project, this could be project timelines, creative assets, and project reference information.
You’ll want to create your bill of materials template before kicking off your project to ensure your team has all the information needed to understand what’s required for project completion.
Since maintaining consistency is one of the major perks of creating a BOM template, consider sharing the template widely but limiting edit access of the template to specific people. Anyone involved in the project’s lifecycle will need access to the project-specific bill of materials.
Any company that creates in-depth, involved projects can benefit from a bill of materials template. Different industries use specific types of BOMs, such as manufacturing BOMs (used by manufacturers of products like cars, airplanes, and other distinct products), sales BOMs (used by sales teams to fulfill customer orders) and service BOMs (used by technicians to keep track of serviceable parts of a product). You can also create templated versions of BOMs for creative projects, such as marketing or product launches, to keep track of the project’s assets and details.
Looking for documents is a giant time waster for most people—which is where a project documentation process comes in. Learn how to create a project documentation template so that you always know where documents live—for every project, company-wide.