What is PLM: Journey from 1.0 to 4.0?

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

As more organizations are expanding into the global markets, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) adoption has increased to overcome engineering challenges and market complexity.

So, it does not come as a surprise that many companies have an opinion that PLM is seamless. But, what is PLM?

Is it just a data-driven software or a collaborative approach uniting people and processes to design, produce, support, and dispose of products across their lifecycle.?

To understand this, let’s revisit its origin.

Pre-PLM Era

Before PLM, organizations in the automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries used basic methods and techniques to design their products. It was indeed time-consuming, complex, and costly.

Pre-plm era

They needed a tool that would aid them in designing their products while also performing complex calculations to help them function effectively. So, came along Computer-Aided Design (CAD) in the 1960s which helped create product designs that supported engineering calculations. As CAD became popular, industry leaders developed Product Data Management (PDM) to manage numerous product-related files.

The PLM origin

It was not until the mid-1980s that the product lifecycle management concept was introduced in the automotive and aviation industry. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was the first vehicle designed entirely with the adoption of PLM. After this, PLM was adopted by other businesses who realized that they could now overcome the following drawbacks of outdated and conventional processes:

1. Complex supply chain management.

2. Decentralized production.

3. Increased product complexity with multiple variant demand.

4. Cost became a critical factor for customer purchases resulting in an unhealthy cutting price strategy by manufacturers.

Empowering Teams with the PLM Benefit

empowering teams with PLM benefits

PLM is instrumental in coordinating information, processes, and people related to a product lifecycle, right from concept ideation to manufacturing, support, and product retirement. Its data-driven methods help reduce design to manufacturing errors, minimize iterations, and enable faster speed to market.

This seamless platform is involved in detailed planning across the product lifecycle stages, so any problems are identified early on. Compliance and risk professionals can quickly point out problems in the supply chain or any design calculations, hence reaching a solution sooner.

A faster, safer, and streamlined production helps organizations to cut costs and increase revenue.

PLM 4.0: Reinventing PLM with Digital Transformation

Digitalization is transforming products from physical goods into digital twins (replica of physical products). Hence, there is a greater demand for the adoption of IoT and data analytics and digitalizing PLM.

Also, the introduction of cloud in the PLM has a significant impact on the market, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic, where remote work has taken precedence. PLM in the cloud has indeed helped consolidate product information, streamline change orders and requests, and streamlining communication with suppliers.

Investment in the next generation digital PLM is now critical for the upkeep of business functions and processes, to respond to changing market requirements and avoid any disruptions. Today data plays a huge role in building a customer-focused strategy with constant information exchange with the customer building a strong and adaptable product.


Hence, PLM 1.0 was developed solely as a set of engineering change management tools that businesses adopted to get results but today’s PLM, or as we are calling it PLM 4.0 also involves a collaborative data-driven approach that helps teams work together with complete visibility, predictability, and self-optimization.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
PLM Nordic

PLM Nordic

PLM Nordic guarantees to reduce your costs and increase sales by Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Digital Transformation Services.