What is PLM? A Definition of Product Lifecycle Management

There are so many different definitions of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), but the best way to describe it is that it’s helping EVERYONE involved in the management of ALL data related to your products throughout the ENTIRE life of the product. 

Here’s how some experts have define PLM:

  • Gartner: “Product lifecycle management (PLM) is a philosophy, process and discipline supported by software for managing products through the stages of their life cycles, from concept through retirement. As a discipline, it has grown from a mechanical design and engineering focus to being applied to many different vertical-industry product development challenges.”
  • CIMdata: “A strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions that support the collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information.”
  • Wikipedia: “Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products.[1][2] PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.”
  • Purdue: “Product lifecycle management is a methodology for product development, production, and sustainment in which information technology tools and processes allow a company increased access to digital product definition data to make better business decisions.”

Keep in mind that while there are many PLM software vendors, many of them focus primarily on the design, development and manufacturing of hardware. Often times, PLM vendors ignore other aspects of the product, including app development, sales enablement, marketing launches, product sales, customer usage, service and repair, etc. - all things that are critical for a product to succeed in the market. So while many PLM software vendors have good solutions, many can be more like “PM” - “PLM” without the “L.”