Luc Boucher - PLM Expert - PLM FAQ Product Lifecycle Management is quite difficult to scope, as it’s name could cover everything around a product. At the beginning PLM was called PDM (Product Data Management) as it was a solution to manage technical data of the product mainly focused on engineering ( through CAD integration) and a little bit on manufacturing side. When PDM was more « collaborative » (ie. more user friendly for non engineering guys, and more open for collaboration) we have seen a lot of names for PDM (cPDM,xPDM,..) means that PDM needs a new name in order to integrate new services and areas. PLM was born in order to explain a new generation of PDM for the extended enterprise and a larger functional scope.



Today PLM services are mainly (mandatory 😉 ) :

  • BOM management : description of the product as a parts’ tree
  • Configuration management : Describing the exact BOM for a specific product and sharing BOM across product family to increase re-usability
  • CAD integration : Capability to manage CAD files from the PLM and defining BOM related to them with business rules integration
  • Multi-BOM management : Capability to define a product BOM regarding business needs : engineering, manufacturing, support etc.. linked together
  • Documentation management : Ability to manage documents linked to the product BOM
  • Digital Mock- up : light management and visualization of CAD assembly
  • Process Management : Managing changes on product definition

A lot of new services are today available but not covered by all solutions :

  • System Engineering : Product decomposition : Requirements, Functional, Logical, Physical
  • Multi-CAD : Capability to manage a CAD assembly done by various CAD tools
  • BOM Documentation management : Ability to manage a documentation BOM and is configuration close to the product BOM
  • Simulation Management : Simulation integration in order to use CAD models and/or BOM information to simulate product on situation
  • Documentation publishing : Generate product documentation in various format regarding product configuration management
  • Software configuration management : integration of SCM linked to product BOM
  • Manufacturing process definition and linked to the Engineering BOM
  • Extended enterprise : Capability to share and offering services to partners with a strong security management on the BOM
  • Project and Program management
  • Reports management : extracting information mainly for quality, regulation, exchanges purposes

PLM still today more data oriented than process oriented, the main goal is to manage product data truth and exchange it during the product lifecycle. Process are mainly covered today by other solutions like ERP, MRO.. Most of giant PLM vendors are trying to integrate process solutions inside PLM, but the better way could be : becoming the best in class on the PLM scope today first 🙂