• What is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)?

    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. 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 are Product Lifecycle Management Systems?

PLM systems help organizations to better manage increasing complexity and technical challenges. PLM systems contain all available information about developments, market, techniques, processes and the own organization. In this way, PLM systems support the management process of a product or service in each of the four life phases and thus form the backbone for companies. Since the goal is to minimize the risk of disruptions during product launch, PLM works closely with Design for Six Sigma.

Why use PLM?

By integrating product lifecycle management (PLM) 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 PLM system, 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% less costs than other mechanical engineering companies. They also lose 7% less time on data management, which gives them more time for innovation.

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Do the Quickscan


A solution that is often included in a comparison is a Product Information Management (PIM) system. Yet there are a number of main differences between a PLM and PIM system. Where a PLM 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.

Want to learn more about PIM Systems?

If you have any questions regarding Product Information Management, from PIM Selection to Implementation or how a PIM would fit in your IT landscape? Feel free to browse our data base of articles on everything PIM related. If you want to know which PIM would be the best fit for you (and get a free 1-hour consultation with a PIM Selection consultant with relevant industry expertise): do our Quickscan. In just 30 minutes you will be able to create a profile that we can match to the right PIM system.

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