There are many types of bills of materials, or BoMs, in the semiconductor industry – from planning BoMs to software and system BoMs. Put simply, these organizational resources provide a complete list of the components in an IC or SoC, system, or platform, which may include software, hardware, and firmware.

In addition to providing a strong foundation for semiconductor organizations to work from, a strategy for managing time-to-market, and an IP reuse model, a bill of materials is also a requirement for many projects. These comprehensive documents can be built, managed, and stored in an IP lifecycle management tool, like Helix IPLM. 

Read on to understand why developing a BoM is important and step-by-step, expert tips, or jump to the section that interests you most:

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Start Your Semiconductor Project with a Planning Bill of Materials

A planning bill of materials, or planning BoM, lists the needs and deliverables of a project. It should be completed in the early stages of a project, before the project approval process begins.

Though a planning bill of materials provides a project estimate or forecast – and can change over time – it helps teams understand what IPs can be reused, what IPs need to be created, and scheduling and cost impacts. Using this overview, teams can begin to automate IP creation workflows, understand the cost and scheduling impact of “build or buy” decisions, and commit to deliverables.

As teams incorporate a planning BoM into more of their projects, they will also be able to identify gaps between planning and execution. With this information, they can work to make their long-term planning and processes more accurate and effective.

Read more about creating a planning bill of materials >> 

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Meet Requirements and Track IP with a Software Bill of Materials

A software bill of materials lists the components needed to build a software project. A software BoM is a living document reflecting both the current software and hardware IPs that together form the project. 

The concept of a software bill of materials came out of the need for software and hardware teams to collaborate more closely and to integrate their IPs. With a software BoM, stakeholders help ensure early error detection, prevention of costly rework, and enhanced traceability.

While all semiconductor projects can benefit from a software BoM, a new cybersecurity executive order now requires a software bill of materials for vendors selling their products to the U.S. government. 

A software bill of materials should capture not only design files, but the metadata that communicates how software and hardware teams are linked:

  • Who created the IP.
  • Who else is using the IP.
  • What version of the IP is current.
  • When the IP was introduced into the design (and what version).

Read more about software bill of material examples >>

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Bring Hardware and Software Teams Together with a Systems Bill of Materials

A systems bill of materials can closely mirror a software BoM, in that it contains a list of all software and hardware components within a project, as well as maps how these components relate and intersect.

However, a systems BoM goes a step further by incorporating different IP versions and hierarchies, providing a holistic platform overview. Inclusion and description of metadata – like dependencies, file permissions, design hierarchy, instance properties, and IP usage – is a core differentiator of a system-level bill of materials.

A systems BoM also tracks updates and patches. Generally, creating and referring to a systems bill of materials is the best approach for projects of high complexity and scale.

Read more about using a system BoM for software development >> 

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Learn How BoMs Can Help Bring Semi Design In-House

Developing a trusted bill of materials is a key step in bringing your semiconductor design and embedded component development in-house. With the unpredictability of the semiconductor supply chain, this in-house development is more attractive to semiconductor organizations than ever. A BoM reduces the complexities and risks, plus helps you evaluate if in-house chip design makes sense for your company.

Download our linked, in-depth white paper, Bypassing Semiconductor Supply Chain Bottlenecks, to break the shift to in-house semiconductor development into actionable steps:

  • Understand the implications and ROI for bringing design in-house.
  • Identify appropriate candidates for in-house development.
  • Streamline development and minimize risk with an IP-centric design methodology.

Read more about in-house chip design considerations >>

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Why the Shift to Chiplet-Based SoCs Requires a Bill of Materials

Many semiconductor organizations have been shifting to chiplet-based SoC architectures, a move that can save costs and drive faster innovation. Though this industry transformation has many benefits, it also introduces new challenges, like interconnecting models between chiplet IPs, verifying designs, and ensuring security.

Teams can address these concerns by defining IPs in detail, noting their permissions, hierarchies, combabilities, and standards compliance. Our IP Lifecycle Management for Chiplet-Based SoCs webinar walks team members through best practices, including maintaining a working and comprehensive bill of materials. 

Watch this webinar to learn more about:

  • Ensuring end-to-end traceability through your BoM.
  • Managing security concerns.
  • Enforcing IP provenance with a BoM.
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Accelerate Semiconductor Projects with Helix IPLM

Helix IPLM allows semiconductor organizations to create a versioned, hierarchical bill of materials for a complete, immutable view of their project, including all versions and dependencies. With this IP lifecycle management tool, you can see what IPs are being planned, understand project timelines, and monitor planning accuracy.

Connect with us to learn how to use Helix IPLM to create planning, software, and system BoMs. Plus, explore our Component & IP Bill of Materials Planning Module add-on feature to use IP models or “placeholders” for to-be determined IP components, further accelerating the design process. 

Get Started With Helix IPLM

Learn More About Our CIPB Planning Module

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