Almost as soon as Excel superseded Multiplan, Microsoft’s first spreadsheet application, in 1987, manufacturers adapted it to organize their bills of material (BOM). More than 20 years later, it’s safe to say many managers still routinely fit their product information into Excel’s rows and columns. And why not? Everyone loves Excel. It’s easy enough to use, everyone’s got it, and it came with your Microsoft Office application suite, so it’s kind of free.