Product Life-cycle Management (PLM) helps manufacturers manage complex, cross-functional processes, coordinating the efforts of distributed teams to consistently and efficiently develop the best possible products. The PTC PLM system manage all aspects of the product development life cycle from concept through service and retirement. By optimizing product development processes and using a single, secure source of information, manufactures can develop products that are competitive, cost-effective, and high quality.

When looking at PLM, or Product Life Cycle Management, many concepts come into play. For product companies, the concept of PLM takes into consideration the entire vision of effectively managing and connecting all information related to the process and production data needed to design, produce, validate, support, maintain and ultimate disposal of manufactured goods.

Often used as an umbrella concept that includes engineering CAD, PLM is an enabling framework to help connect, organize, control, manage, track, consolidate and centralize all the mission-critical information that affects a product. Just as important, PLM offers a process to streamline collaboration and communication between product stakeholders, engineering, design, manufacturing, quality and other key disciplines. PLM helps track information related to safety and control of components especially in aerospace, automotive, medical device, military and nuclear industries. It was these industries that led the way in the discipline of configuration management (CM), which evolved into electronic data management systems (EDMS), which then further evolved to product data management (PDM).

A robust PLM framework improves the development and management of the Engineering Bill of Materials (EBOM), Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM), requirements management, sourcing, document storage, collaboration, workflow – and other areas all essential to product development.

As product complexity and connective increase over time, it becomes more important that PLM covers the breadth of a product’s lifecycle, integrating cross-discipline product development, manufacturing and field service, enabling collaboration and flexible processes across the extended enterprise, including suppliers, customers, partners, service/maintenance and other stakeholders.