Friday, April 14, 2017

Don't Talk about the BOM

Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

[Director] and [Division Chief] were walking through [major city] Airport discussing the bill of material for [facility] the directorate was engineering. A bill of material is a detailed sheet of all the parts needed for a project. It includes unit prices, quantities, part numbers from both manufacturer and vendor, etc. Since this was a big facility, this was a very large spreadsheet. Too big to actually print out; you had to have a laptop just to keep track of the whole sheet. Near the security checkpoint, the director says to division chief (or vice versa, reports vary), "Leave your laptop out and we'll work on the BOM on the plane."

They did not make their flight. When they were next allowed to communicate, every employee in the organization received a directive email, effective immediately and punitive, to scrub all references to "bill of material" and its acronym from all publications and replace with "List of Material (LOM)."

Now this story has to be true because it's been a decade since I've seen anyone use "bill of material." It's always "list of material" now.