To understand what really PLM is and why manufacturing companies spend so much in this domain, it is important to go back in time and analyze how the evolution started.
While in the middle of last century, changes began to appear in the little world of products. Manufacturing companies, CEOs and COOs started to brainstorm and device new strategies to succeed in the engineering atmosphere. For all the years, they had an accepted way of thinking, and proven strategies, about the way their products were managed. A key approach that was already in place was departmental management. Hierarchy defined by organizations, included shop floor employees, middle level managers, marketing team etc. All the information were captured on paper, typewriters were widely used by clerks, engineering team were using slide rules for calculation. The Iron Curtain divided the capitalist West from the communist East. In the US and Western Europe, engineers were predominantly men, white and white-shirted.
However, as years passed the beginning of 1970s, drastic changes started and the seed for digitalization was laid upon. Going back, we can recall the beginning of Microsoft and Apple Era in 1975 and 1976 respectively. From these years to present, the product scenery started showing a significant change. So many revolutions in various fields including Software, Electronics, Health, Robotic, Nanotechnology etc. began. After the introduction of internet and www, beginning of current century people started speaking about Internet of things. Most of the products engineered during these times were mechatronics. Mechanical and electrical parts were the backbone of products. Meeting so many changes, it was time for the engineering companies to think about new strategies.
The Beginning of PLM Paradigm:
The all new PLM pattern began beginning of 21st century and was continuously evolving since then. Product LifeCycle Management (PLM) is a business activity and practice to effectively manage a company product all the way across their lifecycle, from the first idea in someone’s brain, when its designed, when its realized, when its marketed, when its services and when its retired and disposed off. This practice helped to manage the whole range from independent part to an assembled finished good or a complete collection of variant products. PLM paved way to increase product revenues by reducing production cost and manufacturing time. It helped to maximize the value of current and future products for end users as well as other stakeholders like suppliers, dealers and manufacturers.
Many technological advancements introduced such BigData, IoT, DataLake etc provided better opportunities for PLM practice. PLM pattern helped manufacturing companies to effectively monitor a product from Dawn to Dusk. PLM became an ongoing, not to neglected endeavor for manufacturing companies.