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Compare Bill of Material – An Introduction

As the name suggests, compare bill of material is a state-of-the-art application to compare different BOMs. It helps to look at the unique, similar and different components in both the BOMs. There are many use-cases in which a BOM engineer would need to compare one BOM to another.

What is a BOM?

A bill of material, commonly known as BOM - is a list of parts, items, assemblies, subassemblies, intermediate assemblies of a product. It is required to create and maintain a product.


Let's look at a simple storyboard to understand how BOB - the BOM engineer uses the application 

Figure 1 - Storyboard

This application is a redesign of an already existing application in SAP GUI. Some screens from the GUI application 

Figure 2 - Screens from the existing SAP GUI application


Why and how did we redesign the SAP GUI ‘Compare bill of material’ application?

There were many challenges faced by the customers while using the SAP GUI app. With the new SAP Fiori application we have taken care of all the problems and provided a whole new experience to the customers. Lets look at some of the key improvements we have in the current SAP Fiori application -

A.Management of Comparison Parameters –  Managing comparison parameters was not very easy. But now it can be easily done with the new SAP Fiori application. It is possible to compare two BOMs using certain specific attributes.

B.Intuitive Multi-level Comparison Earlier, there was no way a multi-level comparison could be done with 2 BOMs side by side, with all the assemblies and subassemblies till the last level. But now its possible to do a multilevel comparison with easily consumable colour coding, search of parts and filtering.

C.Tackling Complexity – Earlier, it was not possible to manage multiple usages (Engineering, production, sales), BOM types (order BOMs, version BOMs ) and scenarios (comparison based on dates, alternatives, materials) in a single app. With this application, we have managed to put all these complex use-cases in one single page, along with a delightful and intuitive user experience.

D.Comparison Summary The comparison summary provided in this application indicates common, dissimilar and unique components. We have used colour coding, grouping, easy filtering and icons to make it intuitive.

E.Value of Component Reuse The key comparison feature of this application is being developed as a reusable component to be consumed by other applications. This reduces development effort for other applications and brings consistency.


UX Highlights from the application 

Figure 3 : UX highlights from the application


End user testing helped us understand and improve our application 

We conducted end user tests with Mercedes-AMG F1 and Homag. They gave us useful insights, which were analyzed and used to improve our application.

Some of the end user comments and feedbacks were 

Figure 4 - End User Feedback


The first version of the application was released in 2108. The roadmap ahead 

  • This is being built as a reusable component. Soon it will be published and made consumable by other applications.

  • Work on advance BOM model is in progress.

  • Including 3D visuals is also under consideration.


Let’s take a look at the product demo 



So, this new application takes care of -

  • Easy comparison of two complex BOMs in detail.

  • To look at the comparison summary.

  • To manage Comparison parameters.

  • To be used as a reusable component in other applications where comparison of BOMs is needed.

Overall, the application reduces complicated processes. The UI is engaging and intuitive and provides immediate comparison results.


Please share your suggestions and feedback

I hope this article helped you understand the application from an UX point of view. Please post your questions, comments and feedback. For the ones who want to know more, please feel free to reach out to me. I will be glad to provide more clarification. If interested you can read another post on the same topic - https://blogs.sap.com/2021/11/10/compare-bill-of-material-bom/


Key Team - 

  • Koel Basu (UX Designer)

  • Rajiv Kumar (Product Owner)

  • Steffen Michel (Chief Product Owner)

  • Abhishek Kumar (Development Architect)