Your factory’s poor traceability is a ticking-time-aBOM

It happens.

T-minus 5 days to launch and your precious payload is on the launchpad; the embodiment of countless hours of work done by numerous technicians, engineers and supply chain staff.

If you successfully launch on time, your company makes world headlines and launches your company, career, and personal wealth into the stratosphere (low Earth orbit, actually). If you fail, customers drop you, investors lose faith, and Reddit cleverly undermines your self-worth.

Any number of things can go wrong: a hastily swapped sub-assembly, sketchy off-the-shelf fasteners, or the undercooked composite parts that Phil, your lead composites technician made straight off a three-day desert bender.

The possibilities of failure are infinite, and you desperately try to not exhaustively examine them all, because thinking about them could manifest them. But willfully ignoring them would be career-ending negligence. We contained those parts Phil made… right? …RIGHT!? The paranoia ruins your sleep, relentlessly.

And then it happens. 10 pm, and you’re staring at the ceiling contemplating a reason to exist, when the phone emits the chilling tone of work: it’s Jorge, the 2nd shift supervisor reporting the composite oven’s thermostat has been malfunctioning over the last month, likely the result of Phil’s visit to the quantum multi-verse (he fell asleep atop the controls). Dozens of parts will need to be found, uninstalled, quarantined, and scrapped; some of which may be on the launchpad!! A bead of sweat condenses to your brow as you consider the next steps for this crisis, but also your alternate career as an artist.

If anything goes awry, you’ll need a map to point you to the cause, and its downstream impact. Fortunately, you have ION and its reliable as-built Bill of Materials (aBOM)!

How's your aBOM's integrity? Credit: The Simpsons, Matt Groening, 1989-

If Procedures and BOMs are the DNA blueprint of your company’s hardware, the as-built “a” BOM is the RNA; carrying out the DNA’s instructions as close to design as possible. The aBOM reflects both the precise conformance and subtle mutations that inevitably occur when design meets the harsh reality of the factory floor. It captures the minutiae of every process, purchase, and part installed on your machine. The quality of your aBOM determines your factory’s fate!

aBOMs are also a practical everyday tool! Swap sub-assemblies, track (un)installations, root cause failures,  understand cost drivers, and of course, the classic anomaly investigation. With aBOM’s, easily comply with ruthless audits performed by faceless acronyms (e.g. AS9100, ISO, FAA, NASA, OIG, NTSB). This ION-generated visual illustrates how ridiculously easy it is to locate suspect parts. In one click, you are here, discovering the faulty thermal shield installed on the payload that’s about to launch( #?!@%):

What once was lost, now is found!

Another click away, and you are here: where you find the Runs, outsourcing operations, test data, raw materials, inspection operations; the entire lineage of this part unfolds before your eyes!

In minutes, before you’re even at work the next morning, you’ve already identified every suspect part and begun containment. What would you have done without such valuable, accessible information? You’d have gotten in your car, driven up a mountain, climbed into a hole in the forest, and let out the most blood-curdling primal scream that’ has ever echoed across this galaxy, that’s what.

Historically, manufacturers have sacrificed traceability because of the immense paperwork overhead incurred on technicians. Like our friend Phil’s association with his terrestrial body, that paradigm has been shattered! In ION, updates to the aBOM are frictionless.

At First Resonance, we deeply respect the aBOM’s integrity. The interconnectedness of our data model gives unrivaled agility and reliability to traceability. Features such as “Percent to completion”, “Cost of the Vehicle,” and the “Wayback Machine,” will be the tools our manufacturing forefathers only dreamed of.

ION’s aBOM may be the deciding factor that successfully scales your hard tech to market! Check out our changelog, and follow updates as we further the Factory OS, and ION’s RNA evolve humanity to the next level!

"Remember, they're no use to us if they don't survive!" Credit: Jurassic Park, Universal Studios, 1993.

Cover image credit: SpaceX Transporter-8 Mission (containing four First Resonance-made payloads!)