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Phantom items


Phantom items refer to a specific type of item used in the bill of materials/formula to represent a subassembly or component that exists only for the purpose of simplifying the BOM/formula structure. Phantom items do not have their own physical inventory; instead, they are used as placeholders within the BOM/formula to simplify the planning and production process.

Phantom items are often used when a subassembly or component is assembled directly into a higher-level parent assembly, and it doesn’t need to be tracked as an independent item. Instead of listing all the individual components of the subassembly in the BOM/formula, a phantom item is used to represent the entire subassembly as a single unit.

Phantom items are particularly useful in scenarios where certain subassemblies or components are always used together and don’t require separate tracking, for example, an assembly kit contains all screws, bolts, washers, etc. necessary to produce a finished product. They allow for better organisation and simplification of complex BOMs/formulas, making it easier to manage the manufacturing process.

Where a phantom item is included in a BOM/formula, the necessary raw materials for the phantom item will be automatically added to the parent works order when it is created.


Another example of a phantom item could be an exhaust for a car. When you go to your car workshop, you simply order an exhaust for your particular make and model. The complete ‘exhaust system’ would be the phantom item with its component parts.

The workshop does not stock the exhaust as a finished item, but as multiple separate items which they assemble on the car e.g.:

  • Exhaust manifold
  • Downpipe
  • Catayltic convertor
  • Exhaust pipe
  • Silencer
  • Tailpipe
  • Mounts, connectors, seals and gaskets

The workshop would typically order the component parts separately but sell to the customer as a complete ‘exhaust system’.


The BOM line type is used to specify a subassembly or component is a phantom via Product Information Management > Bills of materials and formulas > Bills of materials or Product Information Management > Bills of materials and formulas > Formulas:

Learning with Microsoft

Further information related to phantom items can be found on Microsoft Learn via the URL below.

Phantom items – Supply Chain Management | Dynamics 365 | Microsoft Learn