PLM | Product Lifecycle Management Definition

Product lifecycle management, also known as PLM, is the key to keeping data updated and organized throughout a company. Without PLM, it can be difficult to maintain accurate product information, resulting in negative effects on business. It is essential that every team member has access to the information he or she needs. Final product decisions are made based on this vital information, so product data always needs to be up to date – from initial sketches all the way through production. Product lifecycle management is the best way to ensure that information flows freely throughout your organization.

What Is a Product’s Lifecycle?

  • Design Stage: The lifecycle begins with the initial idea, design, and development of a product. Many people think this is the most important stage of the lifecycle, but it is just a small part and the following stages are just as important.
  • Sell Stage: The sell stage is when it is critical for designers, developers, and manufacturers to be able to collaborate. Having access to current product information through a PLM system is pertinent to ensure no misinformed decisions are made.
  • Support or Maintenance Stage: Product lifecycle management doesn’t end once a product is in the hands of the consumer. The lifecycle continues until the product becomes unusable or obsolete. Organizations must have protocols in place for disposing of, discontinuing, or recycling products once they get to the final stage.

The product lifecycle begins with an idea and ends many years later long after the product is obsolete.

PLM Definition

Product lifecycle management centralizes all product information in an effort to facilitate communication and collaboration. It includes all of the sketches, notes, and models created during the design stage, all of the written processes and manufacturing instructions from the sell stage, and the decided strategies for product disposal in the support stage. Organizing product data in this way makes it easy for teams and individuals to collaborate.

Product lifecycle management makes it easy for your organization to make informed product decisions.

Benefits of Using Product Lifecycle Management

Using a PLM solution within your organization can provide a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Improved development cycles: get products to market faster
  • Increased profits: shorter and more efficient development cycles reduce costs in the introduction and production stages of development
  • Improved products: having access to all relevant product information means informed decisions can be made throughout development, resulting in better products
  • Improved enterprise resource planning (ERP): centralizing product data makes it easier to export relevant data downstream for ERP
  • Increased productivity: access to pertinent information means no more time wasted waiting to get files from someone
  • Insight into critical processes: an opportunity to understand an organization’s development process and how it can be improved or changed
  • Increased efficiency: improved productivity and development based on accurate data reduces the need for late-stage design reworks or modifications
  • Improved communication: teams are always on the same page when collaborating on projects, speeding up the review and approval process for design changes
  • Easily meet compliance standards: centralizing information makes it easy to create the reports needed to meet compliance regulations

Improve Product Development with PLM

Product lifecycle management improves the development process for products within your enterprise. Without PLM, your organization could be making misinformed decisions that have huge impacts on your company or losing thousands of hours to unproductive searches for product information. With a collaborative understanding of products from start to finish, you can streamline development, improve productivity, and increase profits.

PLM can help your organization streamline development, improve productivity, and increase profits.

PTC Windchill is the smart, connected, and flexible PLM solution recommended by 3HTi. If you want more information about Windchill, check out our previous blog post.

Want to learn more about our available software solutions? Contact us today.

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