How to answer the question – what is PLM?
PLM is an abbreviation that stands for Product Lifecycle Management. In engineering and manufacturing industry PLM is an overall process of managing information about product across entire lifecycle. It covers requirements, design, engineering, manufacturing, production, support, maintenance, disposal and re-fabrication.
What is PLM? How do you define PLM? During years of blogging about PLM, I’ve been asked these questions many times. Product development is a complex topic. The complexity of PLM as we know today was driven by three main factors: nature of manufacturing enterprise; PLM vendors and enterprise software consulting.
PLM is taking its roots from engineering functions of large aerospace, defense and automotive companies. These are complex environments with a very nontrivial processes to manage. These industries and engineering roots of PLM made it complex. It doesn’t mean PLM should be a complex.
PLM business is very competitive. The root of competition is going back to CAD systems and CAD file formats protection. Vendors are using complex information abstractions to manage product design and manufacturing processes. The mix of terminological abstraction and techno-marketing strategies created an additional level of complexity.
Enterprise software consulting is the third force contributed to PLM complexity. No doubt, consulting is an important element of PLM business. It certainly helps manufacturing to define PLM strategy and to survive a nightmare of complex implementation. Unfortunately, the nature of consulting organization is to protect their home turf. As a result, consulting companies like to “over-engineer” some of decisions and processes. Complexity became an additional driver for service and consulting revenues.
Leonardo Da Vinchi said – “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. It is very true. To find simple and clear PLM definition is hard. So, how to do it anyway? Depends to whom you are talking to, PLM means different things. Engineers, managers, contractors, suppliers, customers. All of them have a different perspective on PLM. But ultimately, it is about how to organize product development, manufacturing and support in the way that will make your product a first class citizen.
Picture credit – (c) Can Stock Photo
[…] 1.3 : How to answer on the question – what is PLM? […]
I think the Question what is PLM does not need an answer anymore. If one sees which disciplines all are covered now a days by PLM environment I would call it : Enterprise Configuration Management.
If you read the read the areas CMII describes , Physics, Administration, Fascility then ECM would be a better name for it.
Everything in an organization that supports the primairy process and needs configuration management could belong to this name. With this definition cq solution an organization has only two abbreviations left : ECM – ERP.
Its content vs execution. With these two definition on top of each other one has a very simple and solid model of the connection between these two.
E C M
E R P
There is a constant exchange of information by these two environments.
For example there is a new governmental regulation regarding x-ray safety. One wants to know what’s the impact in our configurations as in our processes. From there a change in the configuration as in processes could follow.
The name PLM is there only for it’s so known in the market but is not covering its content anymore at all(Dutch saying : de vlag dekt de lading niet). So it can be replaced.
My Thoughts & Conclusion
Love Rob’s conclusion here, the large software vendor I work for has analysed the PLM market a few times to determine if and when and how it could jump in. In the past we have always tended towards the conclusion that Rob gives. i.e that PLM is primarily being used for configuration purposes. I personally have always bought into the lifecycle information idea, or basically reusing the original engineering and design data throughout the lifecycle , and am happy to see that this concept lives on perhaps now in the form of the Digital Twin narrative.
a horse is a horse of course of course
A perfect strategical and process driven approach for CAD Data Management.