What Is PLM?

PLM Turns Ideas
Into Products

WHAT IS PRODUCT LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT?

Product lifecycle management (PLM) enables engineering, manufacturing, and related product teams to speed the design, development, production, and servicing of products. Product companies and their supply chains can streamline product development and drive continuous improvement from concept through end of life.

WHAT IS PLM SOFTWARE?

PLM Software Diagram

PLM software brings the complete mechanical, electrical, and software design together into one shared system. By eliminating engineering, quality, and manufacturing silos, dispersed teams can collaborate in real time throughout the new product development (NPD) and new product introduction (NPI) process.

Product lifecycle management software was first introduced with client-server solutions that required firewall protection and heavy infrastructure resource investments. Today, cloud-based PLM software solutions provide a single source of truth, eliminating infrastructure expenses and large up-front software purchases with a pay-as-you-go subscription. 

Single Source of Truth

HOW PLM HELPS

PLM systems help internal and supplier teams work together to build the right products, at the right time, at the right cost. The key to achieving product design and delivery goals lies in the ability to bring electrical, mechanical, and software designs into a single system—allowing all teams to collaborate on the entire design—before passing the released product design to downstream systems.

How PLM Helps Diagram

DO I NEED PLM?

If you make sophisticated products using dispersed teams, then you need PLM. Don’t try to get by with product data management (PDM) tools alone. PDM tools help different engineering teams manage CAD design iteration. However, PLM systems bring the entire design together, enabling teams beyond engineering to review, approve, and release the finished product.​ 

PDM vs PLM Diagram

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLM

PLM systems bridge NPD and NPI processes to ensure high-quality products are shipped on time. Product lifecycle management solutions track past, present, and future designs with a transparent audit trail of all product changes. Click on each benefit below to see how PLM helps drive results.

SPEEDS REVIEWS TO RELEASE PRODUCTS FASTER

  • Facilitates design reviews with electrical, software, and mechanical teams to ensure interoperability
  • Automates engineering change reviews to speed new product development (NPD)

ENABLES RAMP-UP TO VOLUME PRODUCTION

  • Enables real-time collaboration between internal teams and supply chain to ensure design for manufacturability
  • Eliminates design and latest-build confusion to reduce costly scrap and rework or production delays

ENSURES REGULATORY
COMPLIANCE

  • Simplifies environmental regulatory compliance to keep products safe and marketable
  • Safeguards U.S. national security interests with compliance to ITAR/EAR export regulations

HOW TO IMPLEMENT PLM

When considering PLM software solutions, it’s critical to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO)—not just the cost for the software alone. Evaluate the PLM solution to determine if it is designed to be easy to configure or requires custom coding. Here are the key questions and considerations when evaluating what it takes to implement a PLM software solution successfully. ​

SOFTWARE

  • Determine the cost of software and consider extended subscription periods to save costs.
  • Is the platform designed for security and scalability?

IMPLEMENTATION AND TRAINING

  • What is the training approach and cost? Is it live or recorded? ​
  • How many resources are needed by the vendor and by your team to implement the software? ​
  • How much time is necessary to configure and test before you can go live?​
  • Does the vendor offer implementation best practices?​
  • Is there an ongoing customer experience plan to take you beyond implementation?

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

  • Cloud software offerings normally include technical support in the cost of the software subscription, but confirm how technical support is handled by the vendor.
  • If the software is not cloud-based or provided under a software as a service (SaaS) model, determine the cost for additional annual maintenance and upgrade services.

HOW FAR DO PLM CAPABILITIES EXTEND?​

PLM helps high-tech, consumer electronics, and other complex manufacturing industries gain a competitive advantage. Cloud PLM manages parts, assemblies (bills of materials or BOMs), drawings, design files, specifications, policies, procedures, and everything you need to create a high-quality product fast. To learn about specific PLM capabilities, click on each solution area below.​

Learn more about Arena PLM solution benefits.

YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN 4 STEPS

See how Arena PLM takes you beyond implementation to ensure successful adoption and scalability.

HOW CLOUD SOLUTIONS ACCELERATE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

Dollar In Circle

CFOs and executives want to reduce long-term capital expenses and lengthy software implementations. Arena’s Cloud PLM provides a pay-as-you-go subscription model and best practices methodology to improve change efficiency, speed supply chain collaboration, and reduce costs.

Read our white paper to explore the benefits of cloud software systems aimed to help companies design, produce, and deliver high-quality products in this global environment.

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