Back to Glossary Home

Parent Item

Quick Definition

A parent item is a product that contains a secondary product or subassembly (child item) in its bill of materials. The relationship between product and subassembly is described as a parent-child relationship.

What is a Parent Item?

A parent item is a fundamental aspect of inventory management, manufacturing, and supply chain management. It represents an item or product that serves as the top-level or primary component in a hierarchical structure known as the Bill of Materials (BOM). The parent item is associated with one or more "child items" or components, creating a parent-child relationship within the BOM.

Key aspects and considerations related to the term "parent item" and its associated concepts include:

  1. Bill of Materials (BOM): A Bill of Materials is a structured list that outlines the components, parts, and materials required to manufacture or assemble a specific product. The parent item is the top-level item within the BOM.
  2. Parent-Child Relationship: The parent-child relationship within the BOM defines the hierarchical structure of items and their dependencies. The parent item depends on its child items for its assembly.
  3. Item Number: Each item, including the parent item and child items, is typically assigned a unique item number or identifier for easy reference and tracking within inventory and manufacturing systems.
  4. Subassembly: Parent items may consist of subassemblies, which are groups of child items that are assembled together to create a higher-level component or product.
  5. Lifecycle: Parent items and child items may have different lifecycles. Changes or updates to child items may affect the parent item and vice versa, necessitating effective lifecycle management.
  6. Variants: Parent items may have multiple variants or configurations, each with its own set of child items. This flexibility allows for the production of different product versions or models.
  7. Dependency: The parent item depends on its child items for successful production. Accurate tracking of dependencies is crucial to ensure smooth manufacturing processes and inventory management.
  8. Supply Chain: Understanding the parent-child relationships in a BOM is essential for supply chain management, as it helps in determining material requirements, lead times, and production schedules.
  9. Raw Materials: Child items within the BOM may include raw materials or components that are necessary for the production of the parent item.
  10. Automation: Automation tools and software, such as Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) and Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) systems, help manage parent-child relationships, optimize production, and streamline inventory control.
  11. Single Level: BOMs can have multiple levels, with parent items at the top and subassemblies or components at lower levels. A single-level BOM includes only the immediate child items of the parent.
  12. User Experience: Ensuring an intuitive and user-friendly interface for managing BOMs and parent-child relationships is essential for efficient inventory and manufacturing processes.
  13. API: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) facilitate data exchange and integration between different software systems, enabling seamless management of BOMs and related information.
  14. Webinars and Tutorials: Educational resources such as webinars, tutorials, and FAQs can help users learn how to create and manage BOMs effectively using software solutions like or Asprova.
  15. Open: Open standards and protocols for data exchange and interoperability between software systems are important for facilitating seamless communication in complex supply chain environments.

In conclusion, a "parent item" is a fundamental component of the Bill of Materials (BOM) hierarchy, representing the top-level product or component in a manufacturing or assembly process. Understanding the parent-child relationships, tracking item numbers, managing dependencies, and considering variants are critical aspects of effective inventory management and production planning within the broader supply chain context. Automation and user-friendly software tools play a significant role in simplifying and optimizing the management of parent items and BOMs.