You will definitely need a BOM. You do the BOM as that is your basic control mechanism. Then you put in a Material Request for the BOM. You procure the bought out materials. When the material arrives, you put in a Material Request - Stock Transfer and Transfer it into a Project Specific warehouse (that’s what I’d suggest you do). Now from this, you can do a direct Stock Entry Purpose: Manufacture, use the BOM and pass the manufacturing entry.
That’s what I’d do till the R&D is complete and you are ready to roll with specific products. Once you have a production line, a Production Plan, Work Order all of that may make more sense.
However, in an R&D scenario, things keep changing. Perhaps even after you have procured the materials. Now, your challenge would be how do you procure the delta between the Ver 2 or a BOM and Ver 1. Let’s say your initial BOM needed Items A, B & C. You went ahead and procured these. Then realized that D works better than C. Now you make a BOM for A, B & D. But you already have A & B.
I’m thinking that you need to worry more about these complexities to ensure that you are on top of things.
We have addressed the Made to Order industry (and till your R&D becomes products you can mass produce, your rhythms will resemble the Made to Order industry), plus we work with an organization in the R&D space, so if you are looking at working with a service provider, we’d love to show you what we can do. Apologies for the plug.