Product lifecycle management (PLM) is a systematic approach to managing the life cycle of a product, from its design and development to its ultimate disposal. PLM is associated with manufacturing, but the management structure can also be used for software development and service provision. PLM is typically broken into the following stages:
- Beginning of life (BOL), which includes new product development and design processes.
- Middle of life (MOL), which includes collaboration with suppliers, product data management and warranty management.
- End of life (EOL), when the products is discontinued, recycled or disposed of.
A PLM application does two things. It provides a warehouse for all the information that might affect a product, and it also serves as a formal communication channel between product stakeholders. PLM software can be used to automate the management of product-related data and integrate the data with other business processes such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution systems (MES).
The goal of PLM is to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. It is considered to be an integral part of the lean production model.
set sights on PLM
A focus on business process improvement around product development is fueling steady growth in the PLM market at a time when the economy is stalled and corporate budgets are tight.
PLM gains ground, PLM-ERP integration moves to forefront
As product lifecycle management gains traction beyond the engineering and product development groups, companies are focusing on integrating the platform with other core business systems.