Posted on Dec 11, 2023.

We often get asked how Bommer for SOLIDWORKS compares to more well-known product data management tools like SOLIDWORKS PDM. Both SOLIDWORKS PDM and Bommer market the ability to generate and export BOMs, and most prospective buyers are familiar with the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS PDM, so it’s natural for a prospective buyer to wonder where each tool excels and where the overlaps may be. In this blog post, we try to answer this question with a side-by-side comparison of Bommer and SOLIDWORKS PDM. Our exploration will highlight the similarities and differences between the two, shedding light on how they can complement each other. Let’s get started.


While Bommer is not a direct substitute for a product data management (PDM) tool, it can offer some of the same functionalities. It’s no secret that SOLIDWORKS PDM is a powerful tool for managing files and data across large teams, allowing for seamless collaboration and version control. Bommer, however, is a simpler utility (but still powerful!) that can streamline the process of creating and exporting BOM data without leaving your SOLIDWORKS environment.

Bommer can be particularly useful for teams that don't require the full range of capabilities offered by PDM, but still need to manage their BOMs efficiently. By automating certain tasks and reducing manual data entry, Bommer can help to save time and reduce engineering or manufacturing errors in the BOM creation process.

Importantly, Bommer can be used alongside PDM to enhance its capabilities. While PDM can handle the storage and sharing of files, Bommer can be used to generate accurate and up-to-date BOMs quickly and easily. This can help to further streamline workflows and reduce the potential for errors or miscommunication.

Ultimately, the decision to use PDM like SOLIDWORKS PDM, Bommer, or both will depend on the specific needs of a given team. While PDM may be the go-to solution for larger teams with complex data management needs, Bommer can also work in tandem with PDM for those looking to simplify and streamline their BOM processes.

Similarities between Bommer and PDM

Bommer and SOLIDWORKS PDM (and other PDM tools) share several similarities, mostly centered around the bill of materials and the "add-in" user interface that most users will experience.

Data management

Both Bommer and PDM, are software tools designed to help manage your product development data. They are commonly used in manufacturing and engineering industries to help streamline product development processes and ensure that accurate and up-to-date product information is available to all stakeholders.

BOM generation

Additionally, Bommer and PDM are similar in that they both assist in generating BOMs. Bommer is specifically designed to manage and optimize BOMs. It allows users to create and edit BOMs, track changes, and generate reports. PDM helps manage all product-related information, including BOMs. PDM software typically includes features such as version control, access control, and change management, which can help ensure the accuracy and consistency of BOMs.

SOLIDWORKS integration

Both Bommer and PDM also integrate tightly with SOLIDWORKS. These tools enable users to manage their design data directly from within the SOLIDWORKS interface. By using these tools in conjunction with SOLIDWORKS, designers and engineers can streamline their workflows and reduce the risk of errors or miscommunications that can occur when managing design data manually.

Differences between Bommer and PDM

When comparing Bommer and PDM, there are several notable differences that set these two software tools apart.

BOM focus

Bommer is specifically tuned for saving time on BOM processes. It offers fine-grained control over what BOM data is displayed and how it is presented, granting an engineer easy access to manage and view their BOMs, and offers a one-screen editing experience to modify properties across your assembly BOM without clicking between screens.

Export templates

Bommer includes export templates that can be used to build applications in Excel workbooks powered by Bommer data. This enables engineers and manufacturers to save time otherwise spent computing, validating, or arranging their BOM data into the company-standard formats.

Bulk changes

Bommer includes a feature for importing bulk changes from a spreadsheet, to save time and reduce errors when making updates to their BOM or synchronizing their engineering data with other business data systems. Instead of making changes to each BOM item individually, users can create a spreadsheet with all the changes they want to make and import it directly into Bommer.

Product data management capabilities

PDM offers a broader range of product data management capabilities, such as version control over design files, assembly drawings, and specifications. While Bommer is primarily focused on managing BOMs, PDM allows engineering teams to manage broad product data across its lifecycle.

Workflow and approval rules

PDM includes support for custom workflow and approval rules for managing changes to product data. This allows engineering teams to ensure that changes are reviewed and approved by the appropriate individuals before they are implemented.

User access

PDM is available not only to SOLIDWORKS users but also to non-SOLIDWORKS users through the use of Explorer or the PDM client. This makes it a more accessible tool for a wider range of users.

Why Bommer over PDM

Bommer is designed to be simple and easy to use. It's quick to set up and can manage all of your properties in one place. It provides a single-screen editing experience across your part or assembly bill of materials, and allows for total configuration over the properties and values that it can read or write. Users have used Bommer to approximate PDM-like functionality, such as using properties to track state and status, or tasks to be done, or manufacturing operations to perform. It makes it easy to manage and track the progress of your BOM items, ensuring that everyone is working from the same updated data.

Bommer is typically cheaper than PDM with a much faster setup time, and ROI measured in days or weeks rather than months. Bommer is 100% configurable by the end user, saving time and money otherwise spent on initial and ongoing consulting projects.

What’s more, Bommer is also compatible with any PDM systems that read and write custom properties. This means you can use Bommer with other PDM tools you may already be using, without needing to switch entirely to a new system.

Why PDM over Bommer

If you need a file version control system, or comprehensive management of engineering data and CAD models, SOLIDWORKS PDM may be a better choice than Bommer. PDM is specifically designed to manage product data and can handle complex relationships between different types of data, such as BOMs, product specifications, and CAD models. PDM can also provide advanced version control and change management capabilities, which are critical for managing engineering data at scale.

Bommer and PDM together

If you need PDM functionality for your organization but prefer the simplicity and power of a focused BOM tool, Bommer and PDM can work hand in hand within SOLIDWORKS to provide the best of both worlds. SOLDWORKS custom properties — custom fields that store specific information about a component or assembly — are read and written to by both Bommer and PDM data cards. By defining your data cards to match your Bommer settings, or configuring Bommer to use the same properties in your data cards, edits performed in Bommer will be displayed in PDM once those part changes are checked in. This can help to improve your engineering workflow, and improve accuracy and reduce errors when updating metadata for complex engineering projects, while also keeping PDM as your single source of truth.


Both Bommer and SOLIDWORKS PDM offer unique advantages that can aid teams in managing product data, and when used together, they combine to save time without compromising data quality or collaboration. The choice between these two tools is not mutually exclusive and will ultimately depend on an organization's specific needs and workflows. By understanding the features and benefits of each, teams can make an informed decision about which tool, or combination of tools, will best support their product development processes.

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