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Reporting on Alternatives
Reporting on Alternatives

Generate reports even if components of a product sometimes differ in their formulations

Bill Hoffman avatar
Written by Bill Hoffman
Updated over a week ago


3E Exchange allows you to represent products that are made up of substances and materials that sometimes differ in their formulations.

For example, a material that is made in two different plants may have a different formulation depending on which plant it was made in. Or there could be multiple sources for the material.

Using the 3E Exchange BOM editor, you can specify Alternatives for different formulations. When 3E Exchange generates a report for the Product, it will unify the Alternatives and generate a single report that represents weight spans across the Alternatives.

Configuring Alternatives using the BOM Editor

There are a few ways to configure alternatives:

  • Alternate Substances within a Material

  • Alternate Materials within a Product

  • Alternate Products (Composite Product)

In all cases, use the "Alternative?" column in the BOM editor to set up Alternative structures, and indent substance rows underneath the row marked as an Alternative.

Here are some examples:

Example 1. Alternate Substances within a Material

In Example 1, the Product contains a Linked Material named "Fiber." Inside Fiber, there are 2 alternate sections, designated by the rows indented underneath the two rows marked as "Alternative" (i.e. have "yes" in the Alternative column).

Note that the Material % by Weight fields add up to 100% within each alternative section.

Example 2. Alternate Materials within a Product

In Example 2, the Material "Tank" contains two Linked Materials, each marked as an Alternative. Similar to Example 1, the Material % by Weight columns add up to 100% for each linked Material.

Example 3. Alternate Products (Composite Product)

In Example 3, there are two complete Products (which are linked) marked as Alternatives, each a Toilet, but from a different Plant. The weight fields are independent between the two Alternatives.

Composite Products

It's easy to create a Composite Product, as in Example 3 above. From the Products page, select the checkboxes of the Products in your library you want to join as alternatives, and then select the "Actions" drop-down and "Create Composite Product." You can also create a Composite Product out of linked materials as well from the Materials page.

Composite Products are useful because they record the exact compositing that was used to generate a report, and you can open them back up later to see what was in the report.


When generating Reports for a BOM that contains Alternatives, 3E Exchange will unify the Alternatives so that the reporting is for a single product. It unifies the Alternatives by using weight ranges that span from the minimum amount across alternatives to the maximum amount across Alternatives.

In the case of Declare labels, only the worst case (upper bound) weight is used for each substance across Alternatives.

In HPD reports, ranges are preserved as Product and Material percentages. Basic Inventory reports aggregate substances across Materials and use the upper and lower product percentages of substances given the Alternative structure. Nested Material reports will show all the alternative materials under a Product, and within each Material, Substances are displayed as ranges from minimum to maximum, depending on the Alternative structure under the Material.

In all cases, percentages can exceed 100% since weights represent ranges from minimums to maximums. Learn how we calculate Full Material Disclosure with Alternatives that use ranges here.

Getting Help

If you have questions about using 3E Exchange or the material covered in this help article, reach out in chat in the bottom right-hand corner or email

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