If you are using PDM, you will notice the BOM tab in the file vault. Just by selecting an assembly model or drawing, you can view the BOM without opening the file in SOLIDWORKS. This is very useful for the purchasing department to make purchases for standard parts like fasteners as usually they do not have access to SOLIDWORKS.
The BOM can be easily exported as csv file format too so you can make changes using Excel.
There are times when you want to customize your BOM to show additional columns of information.
In the example below, only the manager group will be able to see the BOM.