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PLM – Product Lifecycle Management: Manufacturing Explained

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions to support collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information. It guides the extended enterprises that create, manufacture, and operate engineered products and systems. PLM forms the product information backbone for a company and its extended enterprise.

PLM spans the entire lifecycle of a product, from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal. It embodies all the activities of the company that contribute to a successful product. Since product lifecycle processes include more than just CAD and involve more than just the engineering department, PLM is a combination of process and data.

Concept of PLM

The concept of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is based on the observation that all products have a similar lifecycle and undergo similar stages. These stages include inception, design, manufacture, assembly, service, and disposal. PLM is not a definition of a piece, assembly or product, but an overview of management aspects for handling the product from the first idea through development, production, service, and disposal.

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. It forms the product information backbone for a company and its extended enterprise.

Importance of PLM

PLM is important because it brings together all the information about a product, thus providing a single source of truth. It ensures that all stakeholders – from designers and engineers to sales and marketing teams and even to after-sales service teams – have the exact same information about a product at all times. This eliminates confusion, reduces errors, and ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals.

Moreover, PLM helps companies to manage the complexity of product development. It provides a structured approach to product development that helps to reduce the time and cost of bringing new products to market. It also helps to improve product quality, reduce product development costs, and enable faster response to market needs.

Components of PLM

PLM is made up of four primary areas: Product and Portfolio Management (PPM), Product Design (PD), Product Development (PD), and Product Data Management (PDM).

Product and Portfolio Management (PPM) is about managing the company’s product portfolio, ensuring that the company is investing in the right products. Product Design (PD) is about designing the product, ensuring that it meets the needs of the customer and the market. Product Development (PD) is about developing the product, ensuring that it is manufactured in the most efficient and cost-effective way. Product Data Management (PDM) is about managing the data associated with the product, ensuring that it is accurate, up-to-date, and accessible to all stakeholders.

Product and Portfolio Management (PPM)

Product and Portfolio Management (PPM) is a strategic process that seeks to optimize a company’s product portfolio by balancing risk and reward, and aligning product investments with strategic objectives. It involves analyzing the market, identifying opportunities, deciding on which products to invest in, and managing the product portfolio throughout the product lifecycle.

PPM is critical to the success of a company’s PLM strategy because it ensures that the company is investing in the right products. It helps to ensure that the company’s product portfolio is aligned with its strategic objectives, and that it is investing in products that will deliver the best return on investment.

Product Design (PD)

Product Design (PD) is the process of creating a new product to be sold by a business. The process involves designing the product, creating a prototype, and testing the product. The goal of PD is to create a product that meets the needs of the customer and the market.

PD is a critical component of PLM because it is where the product is conceived and designed. It is where the product’s specifications are defined, and where the product’s form, fit, and function are determined. It is also where the product’s manufacturability is considered, and where any potential manufacturing issues are identified and addressed.

Product Development (PD)

Product Development (PD) is the process of bringing a new product to market. The process involves developing the product, testing it, and preparing it for production. The goal of PD is to create a product that is manufacturable, reliable, and meets the needs of the customer and the market.

PD is a critical component of PLM because it is where the product is developed and prepared for production. It is where the product’s design is finalized, and where the product’s manufacturing process is defined. It is also where the product is tested, and where any potential quality issues are identified and addressed.

Product Data Management (PDM)

Product Data Management (PDM) is the process of managing and sharing product data across the organization and throughout the product lifecycle. The process involves collecting, organizing, and managing the data associated with the product. The goal of PDM is to ensure that the data is accurate, up-to-date, and accessible to all stakeholders.

PDM is a critical component of PLM because it is where the data associated with the product is managed. It is where the product’s specifications, design data, manufacturing data, and quality data are stored and managed. It is also where the data is made accessible to all stakeholders, ensuring that everyone has the information they need to do their jobs effectively.

Benefits of PLM

PLM provides several benefits to organizations. It helps to reduce time-to-market, improve product quality, reduce prototyping costs, identify potential sales opportunities and revenue contributions, maintain and sustain operational serviceability, and ensure that the product meets both the customer and the market requirements.

Moreover, PLM helps to eliminate waste, improve efficiency, and promote collaboration and innovation. By providing a single source of truth, it ensures that all stakeholders have the same information at all times, reducing confusion and errors. By providing a structured approach to product development, it helps to reduce the complexity and cost of bringing new products to market.

Reduced Time-to-Market

One of the key benefits of PLM is that it can significantly reduce time-to-market. By providing a structured approach to product development, PLM helps to streamline the product development process, reducing the time it takes to bring a new product to market. This can give companies a significant competitive advantage, as it allows them to respond more quickly to changes in the market.

Moreover, by providing a single source of truth, PLM helps to eliminate confusion and errors that can delay product development. It ensures that all stakeholders have the same information at all times, reducing the risk of errors and rework that can slow down the product development process.

Improved Product Quality

Another key benefit of PLM is that it can significantly improve product quality. By providing a structured approach to product development, PLM helps to ensure that quality is built into the product from the start. It helps to ensure that the product meets the needs of the customer and the market, and that it is manufacturable, reliable, and serviceable.

Moreover, by providing a single source of truth, PLM helps to eliminate errors that can affect product quality. It ensures that all stakeholders have the same information at all times, reducing the risk of errors and rework that can affect product quality.

Reduced Prototyping Costs

PLM can also help to reduce prototyping costs. By providing a structured approach to product development, PLM helps to ensure that the product is designed right the first time. This reduces the need for multiple prototypes, which can be costly and time-consuming to produce.

Moreover, by providing a single source of truth, PLM helps to eliminate errors that can lead to the need for additional prototypes. It ensures that all stakeholders have the same information at all times, reducing the risk of errors and rework that can lead to the need for additional prototypes.

Increased Sales Opportunities and Revenue Contributions

PLM can help to identify potential sales opportunities and increase revenue contributions. By providing a structured approach to product development, PLM helps to ensure that the product meets the needs of the customer and the market. This can help to increase sales opportunities and revenue contributions.

Moreover, by providing a single source of truth, PLM helps to ensure that all stakeholders have the same information at all times. This can help to improve sales and marketing efforts, as it ensures that the sales and marketing teams have the information they need to effectively sell and market the product.

Maintained and Sustained Operational Serviceability

PLM can help to maintain and sustain operational serviceability. By providing a structured approach to product development, PLM helps to ensure that the product is designed to be serviceable. This can help to reduce service costs and improve customer satisfaction.

Moreover, by providing a single source of truth, PLM helps to ensure that all stakeholders have the same information at all times. This can help to improve service efforts, as it ensures that the service team has the information they need to effectively service the product.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Product Lifecycle Management (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. It forms the product information backbone for a company and its extended enterprise.

PLM provides several benefits to organizations, including reduced time-to-market, improved product quality, reduced prototyping costs, increased sales opportunities and revenue contributions, and maintained and sustained operational serviceability. By providing a single source of truth and a structured approach to product development, PLM helps to reduce complexity, eliminate waste, improve efficiency, and promote collaboration and innovation.

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Bryan Sapot
Bryan Sapot is a lifelong entrepreneur, speaker, CEO, and founder of Mingo. With more than 24 years of experience in manufacturing technology, Bryan is known for his deep manufacturing industry insights. Throughout his career, he’s built products and started companies that leveraged technology to solve problems to make the lives of manufacturers easier. Follow Bryan on LinkedIn here.