Our Factory Engineering Department

From the Madfast Manufacturing Blog,  Aug 12 2017, by Randy Rainey


“There are four main “documents” that engineering creates.  They are: “

  • Item Master
  • Bill of Material
  • Style Operation
  • Specification

engineering word cloud from Madfast Manufacturing


Over the years, my Madfast co-workers , who love manufacturing as much as I, have helped me build (and rebuild) some world class systems for managing our operations.

Today I wanted to write a quick summary on an often unknown, but critical part of any good manufacturing operation; Engineering.   Most large brands have their own engineering department.  We offer our engineering department’s services not only to assist them, but also to close some gaps for smaller brands.  This quick little read will give you a very general idea of the engineering documents and reports you hear discussed throughout the lifecycle of a product.

Our engineering department  has many responsibilities, and  can get a little complicated.  To oversimplify, engineering is mainly about deciding how to build something, with what materials and parts, and what it will cost to do so.

There are four main “documents” that engineering creates.  They are:

  • Item Master
  • Bill of Material
  • Style Operation
  • Specification

Item Master

The item master is created to reference part numbers for each component required for the product.  A component can be any type of material or sub-assembly.

The item master creation is also where the design and the product are named and numbered.   Part number creation can get complex.  The number will signify things such as customer, sport, gender, season, and type of component.  Same goes for product “naming” and numbering.

Bill Of Material

The bill of materials takes the Item Master a bit further.   Now we’re getting more specific.  Essentially, the BOM is a list of all components, specification notes of that component, units of measure, usages, and costs.  The BOM will be updated and utilized for the life of a style.

Style Operation Report

This report, and the steps required to build it, are mainly about sequencing, balancing, planning, and quality control.   Sequence and standard allowed minutes (or SAMS) are assigned to each and every operation required to complete a product.   Often minimized in importance in our competing factories.  A little secret;  this is a big part in how we do things faster, better, and cheaper.  We monitor and control our production activity real time with SAMs reports, and other very critical reports.  These reports and other analytics that make us Mad Fast, wouldn’t be possible without the Style Operation Report.

The spec sheet

This little sheet will follow a style through every phase of it’s life in day to day operations, and should travel with every order involving the style through production lines.  It’s just what it sounds like.  A listing of every specification of a style.  In the case of say a wetsuit, it’ll include seam tolerances, critical measurements, graphic colors, placement instructions, ink types, materials, and much, much more.

That’s a very quick read, on a very hard-working, and complicated deparment.    I’d love to answer any questions you might have on any part of your product needs, or on any of our systems and products. Please give me call or email. I’m always happy to hear from all potential customers large or small.  Thank you.  – Randy Rainey – Madfast Mfg llc    email me here  

Calm like a BOM - Bill of Materials in our ERP system

Bill of materials screenshot