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lifecycle management (PLM) is a crucial business process that can level the field of competition. In the early 1980’s, a smaller automotive company was able to compete with bigger manufacturers by adopting a PLM system. PLM software helps organizations cope with complex design, development, engineering, and production challenges of new competitive products. With the use of computer-aided systems, centralized document management, and collaboration applications in PLM tools, companies are able to improve product quality, shorten the time-to-market, lower per unit costs, reduce administrative overhead expense, and increase sales revenues.
What is PLM software?
PLM software is one of the four basic IT structures of a manufacturing company in how it manages information and communication. CRM is used with customers, SCM is used with suppliers, ERP is used for internal resources, and PLM is for product planning and development. What is PLM software in terms of a computer system? A product lifecycle management software is an information management system that integrates people, data, processes, and business systems. It is a solution for managing the entire lifecycle of a product from conceptualization and throughout its design, manufacturing, and service, up to its disposal. It is a modern approach of developing, producing, manufacturing, and bringing new products to market in an efficient and cost-effective way.
Typical PLM software features
PLM software is used by people across the organization, not only by designers and engineers. So aside from computer-aided design/ computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) tools, the solution includes features for easier communication and collaboration. A PLM system typically has tools to manage requirements, projects, resources, and portfolios. It can also capture, store, and maintain product data throughout its lifecycle across the organization in a single system easily accessed by the right people whenever they need it. Industry experts are now discussing PLM-ALM integration because boundaries are disappearing with IoT and other innovative products.
Top PLM software
To help companies find the best PLM software, we compiled a list of the top products. We examined reviews from multiple sites, features, customer feedback, and market ranking. In no particular order, below is a list of PLM solutions to help you with your search for the right PLM system for your needs.
Windchill PLM software from PTC includes core product data management (PDM) and advanced PLM applications that are standardized and ready to use. It provides secure data access to teams across organizations and locations. The software also supports quality-focused processes and data driven approaches to manufacturing. The open architecture system is easy to integrate with other enterprise systems, optimized to support an extended enterprise and external partners, and can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. Also available from PTC is Creo, a 3D CAD/CAM/CAE solution for product design and development.
Infor CloudSuite PLM
Infor offers a suite of PLM products specifically for the discrete, process, and fashion industries. The software leverages data from development and design to management and production so manufacturing enterprises can make better decisions faster. It enables collaboration in a secure, service-oriented architecture to overcome regulatory compliance complexity and successfully shorten the product lifecycle. s include CloudSuite PLM for Process, CloudSuite PLM for Fashion, Infor PLM Discrete, and Infor PLM Accelerate.
Aras Enterprise PLM software is used by manufacturers in the aerospace, defense, automotive, consumer goods, energy, high technology, industrial manufacturing, life sciences, medical devices, shipbuilding, and transportation. Interested buyers can download the Aras Innovator and try for free with hands-on evaluation before purchasing. The product engineering solution includes PLM and PDM capabilities for parts, BOM, configuration management, change management, AVL/AML, and documents with automatic capture and recording of product change histories.
YuniquePLM from Gerber Technology includes solutions for planning, designing, development and pre-production, sourcing and production, tracking, and reporting. The software enhances the connection between the creative process and the product lifecycle, where it is used by companies in the fashion and apparel, furniture, transportation, textiles, signs and graphics, aerospace and packaging industries.
Arena PLM is a PLM system from Arena Solutions, the company that also provides a QMS system and which acquired Omnify Empower PLM software. Its cloud PLM software brings together information, people, and processes in a single platform. This enables companies to speed up their product design and development to release products faster and ramp up volume production while ensuring regulatory compliance. The platform is scalable, collaborative, and affordable.
ENOVIA from Dassault Systèmes allows users across the enterprise to securely collaborate and innovate using its portfolio of technical and business applications. Powered by its 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the flexible PLM software enables continuous optimization, real-time progress tracking, and compliance with standards and regulations. It has tools for business modeling and planning, product configurations, and quality and compliance management.
Teamcenter PLM software connects people and processes to help users solve tough challenges required to develop successful products. It has an intuitive user interface that allows users across the organization to easily take part in the product development process. Features include BOM management, change management, document management, electrical design management, environment compliance, and has CAD software integration. Siemens also offer Solid Edge, a 3D design, simulation, and manufacturing software.
SAP PLM software includes features for project portfolio management, product costing, commercial project management, product engineering, product network, and product development. It supports a flexible and new product development process, provides a cost-centered view of product design and development lifecycle, and helps teams plan and manage projects wherever they are.
Autodesk Vault PLM
Vault PLM is by Autodesk’s product lifecycle management software for connecting your organization’s people, processes, and data. It is a cloud platform that combines Vault Professional with Fusion Lifecycle for enterprise-wide collaboration and product lifecycle management. Features include product data management, new product development, BOM management, change management, quality management, and supplier collaboration.
Oracle Agile PLM
Agile, a provider of PLM solutions, was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2007. Agile PLM helps users drive product innovation, share product specifications and configurations, and collaborate across the supply chain. The solution is used in the high technology, life sciences, industrial manufacturing, and consumer goods industries. PLM tools include innovation management, product development, quality management, product master data management, and configurator modeling.
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Jose Santos is a long-time contributing writer for project-management.com. He is a subject matter expert in the field of project management and has many years of experience writing about project management software and tools. He has written hundreds of articles for the project management industry, including numerous software reviews, book reviews, training site reviews, and more.