Product lifecycle management

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Overview of PLM

Product lifecycle management or product lifecycle management ( PLM ) is a concept for the seamless integration of all information that arises in the course of a product's life cycle . The concept is based on coordinated methods, processes and organizational structures and usually uses IT systems to record and manage the data. PLM emerged from the more closely defined product data management (PDM) and developed into the dominant paradigm in product development in the early 21st century . Companies hope that PLM will provide improved control over the various processes that are required in every part of a life cycle, and thus also transparent expenses and income . The systems affected by the concept include construction ( CAD ) and calculation ( CAE ) through production planning (systems and technology) and PPS to sales planning, sales, sales logistics, end of life management, including service and recycling issues.

Therefore, PLM is a company concept that has to be implemented on a company-specific basis using suitable technical and organizational measures.

The software industry has developed products for the realization of such objectives, the company will enable to integrate the diverse information needs and to satisfy them. These are sold as a category of operational software and offer different functions and scope of services.

Most of the so-called PLM systems have their origins in the management of mechanical product data. However, the term PLM for the management of electronic and electrotechnical (E / E) product data has meanwhile also established itself on the part of the providers of E-CAD. Today, the larger PLM solutions often offer the option of also managing the E / E data. In most cases, however, only the data that has been developed and released for production is managed. Version and process management is reserved for the E / E authoring systems.

In recent years, the subject-specific orientation of the PLM solutions available on the market has increasingly proven to be a limitation for the applying industry. The enormous increase in the share of software in today's products and the need to develop, simulate (digital prototyping), validate and manufacture multidisciplinary systems in their entirety, presents all PLM providers with the challenge, in addition to the management of the mechanical , electronic and electrotechnical components to integrate the management of the software controls and generally of the embedded software.

Another major challenge arises from the expansion of digitization to the entire value chain. The previously common division into the areas of application:

prevents the efficient use of digitization in terms of higher productivity. Here, all manufacturers are called upon to enable further integration by opening up the previously mostly monolithic systems.

PLM software is already used in retail when the application supports design decisions and the procurement process. The management of product master data also plays an important role here, but also of product photos and other media data. Mobile use, for example at trade fairs or by the manufacturer, is important. However, the further life cycle at the retailer, in particular the logistical processes, quality assurance, marketing, sales and price maintenance for the product are usually supported by other applications. The retailer's life cycle ends rather unspectacularly with the complete sale of a product that has not been reordered. Due to the large number of products and their sometimes only short life cycles, the requirements here are different from, for example, a manufacturer of high-quality industrial goods.

Benefit potential

The potential benefits are difficult to quantify, on the one hand because they are made up of direct and indirect effects and on the other hand because only a few companies analyze the current situation in detail from an economic point of view before introducing PLM. Nevertheless, relevant studies show a close correlation between the PLM maturity level and business success.


According to the information on the English-language Wikipedia page, the development of product lifecycle management was inspired by the American Motors Corporation (AMC), which was looking for ways to shorten its product development cycles. In reality, PLM has many fathers: Ever since companies started using computer programs for design, they have had to be able to find and reuse their technical product data more easily. This also inspired software houses in Germany to develop electronic management systems. When the term engineering data management (EDM) emerged in the USA in the early 1990s , which is the forerunner of today's PLM idea in terms of the history of ideas, the first German providers of technical information systems and graphic data technology had already disappeared from the market.

Before it could really establish itself in Germany, the term EDM was replaced by the term product data management (PDM), which should make it clear that it is a concept for the management and provision of all information defining and representing the product . Although PDM claimed from the start to support not only data management, but also the processes of data generation and provision, this term was soon felt to be too narrow again. After a time of terminological competition, software manufacturers and consulting firms found a new common denominator in the term PLM. As understood here, PLM is a concept and not a self-contained IT solution. PDM is one of the key components for the implementation of this concept, which also includes the data-generating applications such as CAD , CAE , CAM , virtual reality (VR) etc. and the interfaces to other application areas such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or supply Chain Management (SCM) include.

PLM market

Hardly any reliable figures are available on the volume of the German PLM market. Insofar as information is published at all, it is essentially based on information provided by the manufacturer or estimates by analysts. According to figures from the American market research company CIMdata, the global PLM market reached a volume of 25.8 billion US dollars in 2010, or the equivalent of 18.3 billion euros. These figures include CAD, CAM, CAE, ECAD, EDA (Electronic Design Automation) and AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) sales, as well as sales with digital manufacturing solutions. If one only considers the cPDm (collaborative product definition management) market segment, which essentially comprises sales of software and services for product data and process management, the market volume is 8.73 billion US dollars (6.2 billion euros). Of this, 1.37 billion US dollars or the equivalent of 970 million euros went to Central Europe, i.e. essentially the DACH region. The average software share in the cPDM business is almost 40 percent, which in relation to Central Europe would correspond to 385 million euros. More recent figures are currently not available.

See also


  • Martin Eigner, Ralph Stelzer : Product Lifecycle Management - A Guide for Product Development and Life Cycle Management . 2nd Edition. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-44373-5 .
  • Ulrich Sendler: The PLM Compendium - Reference Book for Product Lifecycle Management . 1st edition. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-87897-1 . , Google Books, online
  • Volker Arnold, Dettmering, Engel, Karcher: Mastering Product Lifecycle Management. A user manual for medium-sized companies . Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 2005, ISBN 3-540-22997-3 .
  • Günter Spur, Frank-Lothar Krause: The Virtual Product. Management of the CAD technology . Hanser Verlag, Munich / Vienna 1997, ISBN 3-446-19176-3 .
  • Ulrich Sendler, Volker Wawer: From PDM to PLM: Process optimization through integration . Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich / Vienna 2011, ISBN 3-446-42585-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. Rachuri Sudarsan, Steven J. Fenves, Ram D. Sriram, Fujun Wang: A product information modeling framework for product lifecycle management. Manufacturing Systems Integration Division, Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 2005, doi : 10.1016 / j.cad.2005.02.010 .
  2. Product Lifecycle Management: What is it? Retrieved October 10, 2019 .
  3. Antti Sääksvuori, Anselmi Immonen: Product Lifecycle Management. 3. Edition. Springer Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-78173-8 .
  4. John Stark: Product Lifecycle Management - 21st Century Paradigm for Product Realization by John Stark. Springer Verlag, 2011, ISBN 978-0-85729-545-3 .
  5. M. Abramovici, S. Schulte: Product Lifecycle Management - A strategic solution approach for continuous process chains and information flows. In: CAD CAM. No. 2/2005, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2005.
  6. Luciano Cunha: Making PLM and ERP work together (PDF; 76 kB) Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  7. z. For example the GDT - Graphische Datentechnik Gesellschaft für CAD / CAM-Technik und Industriellerechneranmmeldung mbH in Schmallenberg, which developed software for storing, organizing, managing and retrieving drawings and graphics.
  8. ^ Liebensteiner theses . Website of the sendler \ circle it forum. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  9. Cimdata sees PLM market growing again. PLM IT Business website. Retrieved January 30, 2013