What is Product Lifecycle Management?
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) refers to all internal processes, technologies and methods used to manage a product’s lifecycle. This lifecycle is usually separated into 4 steps: design, development, manufacture and usage. The main purpose of PLM is to facilitate control and to track changes in a product, from the design stage to its eventual withdrawal from the market.
Generally speaking, all product development teams use some sort of lifecycle management system. But most of the time, this system is not kept on course by a specialized software package. Many departments are involved in product development (Marketing, R&D, Quality, etc.), and they are in turn connected with suppliers and service providers, e.g. design agencies. Stakeholders often use their own templates and software, send files by e-mail, save them locally and on shared networks, and so on, all of which lead to siloed information and data loss.
Resolving these problems is the starting point for PLM software as it centralizes all product-related data and documents in a virtual vault to which every stakeholder involved in a project has access. Furthermore, it helps teams keep track of product changes and developments.