PLM, a tricky concept, is it? On one level, some define it as software that helps to collect, organize and track all data relevant to a product whereas on another level some say that it is a process that streamlines workflows and interdepartmental communication.
So, what is PLM really? A multi-functional software or an altered approach to managing the product lifecycle?
Let’s find out.
PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management. It mainly focuses on coordinating information, processes, and people related to a product lifecycle, right from concept to manufacturing to customer. Hence, it provides many benefits that include lesser design to manufacturing errors, reduced iterations, and faster speed to market.
The PLM origin
The product lifecycle management concept was introduced in the mid-1980s, in the automotive and aviation industry. In these industries, developing a new product entailed collaborating with multiple resources. E.g., a new car has millions of parts, which are sourced from different manufacturers. Imagine manufacturing such a product with no set process and no centralized data for managing the entire product development process.
Outdated systems and processes resulted in:
1. Complex supply chain management.
2. Decentralized production, majorly in OEMs.
3. Increased product complexity with multiple variant demand.
4. Cost became a critical factor for customer purchases resulting in an unhealthy cutting price strategy by manufacturers.
And, so product lifecycle management was born.
Securing the PLM Advantage
Initially, PLM was adopted by big organizations for complex products and was used vigorously for releasing product variants one after the other. But, with the digital era, using product data right from the conceptual stage to the design, procurement, and manufacturing stage spread beyond big OEMs.
Today, product lifecycle management is used to deliver all types of products to the market, be it in the manufacturing field or beauty products. PLM links CAD data with the bill of materials, managing both product data and workflows, and getting all business stakeholders on a single shared vision.