Every product irrespective of its type and business value has a life cycle which it goes through. The life cycle that starts from the inception of the product passes through designing, development, manufacturing, service phase before reaching the final phase of disposal. The process of managing the life cycle of any product is known as product life cycle management. PLM is therefore a business activity that integrates processes, people, data and business systems to frame a backbone of information for the product and enterprises involved.
Advancements and innovations in technology have become the driving force behind the experiments and expansions of businesses and products across geographical regions. Such circumstances bring to fore the role of information systems in every business irrespective of its size and type. The present technology enabled business world showcase that in today’s scenario product life cycle management or PLM is one of the four cornerstones of the manufacturing industry’s IT structure, the others being supply chain management, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management. Understanding the five pillars of product life cycle management will further strengthen the business and these include:
- Business Processes
- Product Data
- Information Systems
- Organisational Change Management
- Project/Program Management
In any business, the primary areas where PLM solution process involves are systems engineering, product and portfolio management, product design, manufacturing or development, process management and product data management. While PLM application is not a necessity, the business complexity and the changing technological environment calls for rapid execution of the processes. Since PLM refers to the activity of managing the business and products through their life cycles in an effective manner, enterprises now make use of the PLM applications or systems. Use of these systems help enterprises in managing the complexity of production related challenges brought forth by global competitors.
A PROLIM PLM for the information systems of any enterprise helps them to manage the product data including matters like the bill of materials, approved list of manufacturers or even product files. Moreover, the PLM system enables the enterprises to track any changes to the information provided for any products and communicate the same to the supply chain system. With information systems becoming the communication vehicle for any business, the PLM functions provide the ability to centrally manage the product information through Computer Aided Design (CAD) Applications, Computer Aided manufacturing (CAM) and product data Management (PDM). An integration of all these tools with the processes and people will help enterprises to easily manage the various stages of a products life cycle.