Product lifecycle management is a strategic concept for managing a product through its whole lifecycle. It directs the integral administration and control of all data and processes which are connected with the product–from the first conceptual idea, its construction and its marketing even up to its disposal. Thereby, PLM comprises supporting IT systems as well as methods, processes and its organizational structures.
The letter P comes perfectly right as the first one in this order, simply because PLM is product-orientated in the first place.
The overall goal of every producing enterprise is to develop, produce and market profitable products. PLM supports all steps in this process and therefore has the potential to optimize the value chain, which ensures the success of the enterprise on a long-term basis.
We understand the product not only as a physical item: PLM controls also the lifecycle of provided services or software. Also it is important for us to see products not as detached items: all non-physical components of it, like documents, services and maintenance need also to be integrated into the PLM strategy. It is against this background of products becoming even more complex that this is so important.
PLM accompanies a product in its entire lifecycle: it controls not only product development, but also production, product use and its scrapping after usage. Therefore, forward directed material flow and value-added information processes have to be considered as well as backward-directed information processes concerning feedback.
Products are being developed increasingly in globally distributed networks consisting of manufacturers, partners and subcontractors. PLM has the task of supporting the information flow between all involved in the product development process and the customer.
PLM stands for the management of products during their whole lifecycle, including all engineering data and processes as well as engineering applications. For that reason, PLM specifies a consistent set of methods, models and IT tools. In that way it serves as the central integration platform of the enterprise.
Managing the product lifecycle is imperative for enterprises in order to encounter the dramatic grow of complexity in engineering.
We understand thereby that Enterprise Resource Planning is not an opponent to PLM, but part of the overall strategy–that is why we integrate these systems.
For comprehensive background information about product lifecycle management we recommend the Website „Product Lifecycle Management–an informational guide to understanding PLM“.
“PLM is not just a software, it‘s THE VERY BACKBONE of the company.“
Christoph Golinski, head of PLM Consulting, DataSquare