A Catalog (formerly called a Part Catalog) is a central location for storing information about any item which may be used in a Bill of Material.  Essentially anything in your company which has a part number can be an entry in a catalog. A simple catalog of skateboard parts might look like this:

Catalog - typical

A Catalog can be easily updated and used (referenced) by many BOMs.  Some reason to store items in a Catalog are:

  1. To control the cost and pricing information from a central access controlled location  (the catalog)
  2. To restrict who can important information like cost, retail, description, vendor, part number, availability, etc
  3. To track use and inventory levels for an item.  OpenBOM automatically tracks QOH for catalog items through our new Purchase Order process.
  4. To share catalogs with vendors or suppliers

The types of items you may wish to keep in a catalog may include:

  1. Fasteners and hardware
  2. Parts and sub-assemblies
  3. Documentation (see the sample catalog above, item #1 is a link to assembly instructions).
  4. Labor or shipping rates.
  5. Raw materials

Your catalog keeps specific information about each item (the rows) in properties  (the columns titles) which you define.

You can think about BOMs and Parts in the following way:  (UPDATE THIS GRAPHIC)