Which department should own the BOM? Help a TD girl out!

I just started at an accessories company that is expanding their apparel business. I was brought on as their only apparel technical designer to help them develop. (Prev a pos held by a freelancer)

We reviewed the style life cycle process today. They’re proposing that the BOM lives in the same file as the TP, and that it is TD’s responsibility to create and update the BOM with fabrics, trims, details, quality and color, etc.

This team is fairly new and prior to my hiring had been run by freelancers. So the process is still being solidified.

The head of PD/production was adamant about tech owning the BOM and was not flexible to shifting that responsibility to Design/PD or separating the BOM from tech pack file (she wants one person editing the BOM) she also came from a company where tech owned the BOM and worked that way for 4 years.

The current accessories process is that design creates the BOM and exist as its own document separate from the tech pack. The only reason I can think that she would change that process in apparel is her level of trust in the current apparel designer.

Some other details to note: the designer is working freelance from another city, and has not been the most reliable when it comes to decision-making or reliability. So my impression is that they don’t trust her to create/update the BOM.

Secondly, the PD point person is also lacking consistency, reliability, and ownership of material knowledge though she’s involved in quality approvals and confirming lab dips/Pantone color approvals.

So the task of filling out a BOM with provided information isn’t a simple pass off because I’ll be chasing design/PD for BOM information and having checking to see where our material development is in the process since I’m not involved in those meetings. Am I wrong to think this shouldn’t be a TD responsibility?

To my tech friends out there. Has anyone ever had to own a BOM as a technical designer? If so, can you elaborate on how that experience was and issues that came up? Open to suggestions on how to approach this and how to convince my boss to reconsider this process.

1 Like

My company doesn’t have technical specific designers-- that is handled as part of the responsibility of the designer, along with print/color etc, specs are part of the process, and BOM as well. Although we have the BOM shared in the extent that PD can make updates when things change so its not a game of telephone when things inevitably need to update.


i dont think i have ever had full ownership of BOM. usually Design owns that. In some companies Production would own a portion like labels and packaging.
In my last company, tech only owned internal components like interfacing, etc.
I mostly do sweaters so at one company design owned the set up and i would manage updates if it had to do with guage, ends, lycra, etc. But they did the buttons, trims, etc

I’ve primarily worked in footwear materials for large companies so my perspective may not work for smaller companies or apparel and accessories. Generally the BOM is owned by the developer who chooses what materials go into the product (factories own the usage per pair/piece with careful supervision by development and sourcing as waste percentages are often a source of manipulation). However a materials team own the individual material records. They vet suppliers, work with product testing/QR on standardized tests like abrasion resistance, negotiate contracts if necessary, maintain a “toolbox” of approved vendors for each material type and are the gatekeepers when design and development want to bring new suppliers or materials online. They maintain a physical and digital material library. Developers then utilize the materials in the toolbox to fill out the BOM or send new materials through the appropriate approval process in order to be added to the BOM. Again, this is in a perfect world—few companies are this organized and regimented.

1 Like

At companies I have been at, the BOM is usually a shared responsibility, but often resides in TD or PD for updates. Usually during the design handoff, trims that are selected by design (buttons, tassels, etc) are handed over to tech. But there are- depending on your product of course- some elements that are wholly added by tech, things that design often doesn’t think about because they are not aesthetic. These can include: interfacing, inner linings, elastics, casings, boning, hanger tape, sometimes even zippers, rings & sliders, and things like that.
As someone who does a lot of swim/lingerie- a lot of these things are construction based, and really do need to be set up by tech… especially things like using thicker/stronger elastics when grading for larger sizes, etc.
PD is usually involved in this process, and as these trims are sourced, they can update BOM’s as needed. Especially things such as colors, etc, which usually aren’t in TD’s realm.
Still, I’d be wary about saying something along the lines of “that’s not my job”. Often TD does own the BOM wholly, as I do at my current job. If anything, maybe it gives you some extra job security knowing that you are the dependable one who is trusted to own this fully.


i’m an apparel designer & DESIGN should own the BOM, not TD. i’ve always taken care of fabric/trims, and i prefer to do the construction pages/sketch details as well because when designing a garment, i have a specific vision.

at my current company, tech owns the construction pages for more basic/established fits & styles, but anything that’s fashion/new, i own, which i believe makes perfect sense.

TD should not touch the BOM.

1 Like

if on a PLM system, design would start it, as costing is generated from it, and product development and production would work off it. Any revisions would be communicated to design to update. I say design owns it. This maintains design ownership. If TD adds something they think and design doesn’t agree with it, that solves that. If Production or product development wants to add a cheaper fabric instead of the one design chooses,… this solves that.

1 Like

Design owns the BOM. I agree with TwirlGirl: tech will advise on elastic qualities, quilt fill gm weight, length of zippers etc. for technical purposes but is not the final say on color, fabric quality, buttons/trims. Here is where your grace will come in: suggest to be a doublecheck for design but not have final responsibility.


Design owns the bom. Tech can advise on certain things-- in the past they’ve held owndership of fusible/interlining, or length of zippers and thread types. However I have never worked in a company where tech owned fabric and trims. I would think design would want to own this-- as it is very much integral to the design of the garment.