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What is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)?

PLM includes all aspects of engineering, and is used as a production lifecycle management process to help connect, organize, control, manage, track, consolidate, and centralize all the information that affects a product. Just as important, PLM offers a process to streamline collaboration and communication between product stakeholders, engineering, design, manufacturing, quality, and other key disciplines. PLM helps track information related to safety and control of components especially in aerospace, automotive, electronic, medical device, military, and nuclear industries.

A robust PLM framework improves the development and management of the Engineering Bill of Material (EBOM), Manufacturing Bill of Material (MBOM), requirements management, sourcing, document storage, collaboration, workflow - and other areas all essential to product development.




Why PLM is useful

Due to the increased product complexity, continuous innovation, and globalization, organizations focus their efforts on partnering with other enterprises in pursuit of better product design and efficient manufacturing. As a proactive reaction to the ever-changing business environment, outsourcing of activities to specialized partners is a common practice, where each partner should have access to relevant data and processes.

The challenge with this is that the data very often is scattered in different systems, file folders, network drives etc., making it difficult to locate and share the correct data. In addition, the product related processes are not integrated, reducing the traceability and visibility in the end-to-end product lifecycle processes.

Selecting the correct Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution can help companies resolve these challenges, providing a solution that supports the end to end lifecycle of the products - all the way from ideation, through requirements management, product design, industrialization to maintenance and end of life. In order to be truly successful with PLM, a system that can be integrated both up- and downstream in the supply chain is required in order to have the flow and control of information as effective as possible.


How PLM can be used on an enterprise scale

PLM should not be seen only as an IT software that represents a central hub containing all data from various systems like CAD, CM, PDM, etc., but also as a business tool that manages all the different information flows from concept, through production, to end of life.

As Cimdata defines it, “PLM is a strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions in support of the collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information across the extended enterprise, and spanning from product concept to end of life-integrating people, processes, business systems, and information. PLM forms the product information backbone for a company and its extended enterprise.”

Being both a business approach and a software solution, Product Lifecycle Management have shifted from being a purely engineering-oriented tool to an enterprise solution, which enables organizations to create better products in less time, at a lower cost.



Knowledge center

Independent industry experts are sharing their take on best practices and latest trends in PLM. Watch our latest podcasts with them at Minerva PLM TV

Minerva customers and their PLM experience

From process optimization to overall improvement of the supply chain visibility and efficiency - find out why leading organizations are choosing PLM and how are they benefitting from doing so.