A PLM system oversees the entire lifecycle of a product. It comprises the conception of the idea to its eventual design and prototyping, on to product manufacturing and release to the service required after the sale of the product, and finally the disposal of any unsold products.
The History of PLM
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire life cycle of a product. The objectives of PLM are to shorten the ‘Time To Market (TTM), reduce development costs, improve quality, identify new markets and limit the impact on the environment if the product is’ End-of-Life ‘(EOL).
PLM was initiated by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1985 (Product lifecycle management – From its history to its new role).
The automaker was looking for a way to accelerate its competitiveness by reducing innovation and time-to-market. Today, Product Lifecycle Management is applied in almost every sector.
Every product on the market goes through four different phases: development, growth, maturity and decline. These stages are described by the “Product Life Cycle” (PLC). The duration of each phase can vary from a few weeks to many decades. Not all products go through all stages, because some products never reach the market. However, every product that reaches the market will at some point disappear (downturn).
What is Product Lifecycle Management Systems?
Why use PLM?
By integrating Product Lifecycle Management into your work processes, you and the rest of your organization gain control over every phase of your product life cycle. A PLM system fulfills two important functions, on the one hand, it collects all information about a product and on the other, it acts as a communication system between marketing, engineering, production, and support.
When you successfully implement your Product Lifecycle Management system and equip your organization with the right knowledge and resources, you will achieve better results, increase customer satisfaction and waste less time. Companies that implemented product lifecycle management do reap the benefits. An Autodesk study shows that successful PLM integration makes companies more profitable, more efficient, and more innovative.
Organizations that use a PLM system generate on average 10% more sales and 7% fewer costs than other mechanical engineering companies. They also lose 7% less time on data management, which gives them more time for innovation.
PIM vs PLM
A solution that is often included in the comparison is a Product Information Management (PIM) system. Yet there are a number of main differences between the two systems. Where a Product Lifecycle Management system focuses on the product life cycle and development of a product, a PIM system goes deeper into the product level, the current product information, and the provision of this information to the customer.