Product Lifecyle Management (PLM)

Product development, planning, production, distribution, marketing, sales, and service are all product lifecycle management (PLM) processes. PLM is a business discipline that examines goods and services at every step, from conception to eventual removal from the market. It enables you to keep expenses under control, accelerate product development, and increase marketability. A crucial element of PLM is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. It unites several teams throughout the company and aids workers in collaborating to create a better, more efficiently developed, manufactured, and marketable product.

What is Product lifecycle management?

Product lifecycle management refers to the process of regulating a product’s lifespan from creation to growth, maturity, and decline. Using PLM, you may create a strategy and make choices related to your product portfolio. Pricing, marketing, and selling strategies, as well as growth and discontinuation plans, are all determined using product lifecycle management. It’s a multifaceted process that uses technology to help you develop, capture, manage, and use your products to increase profits.

Because PLM contains parts of supply chain management, customer relationship management, and more, it works best with an efficient ERP software. Hence, employing software that can combine various operations into one comprehensive system can be useful. It can integrate the data from throughout the company to optimize operations. 

Understanding Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Effective product life cycle management aims to develop a product that outperforms its competitors, is incredibly profitable and lasts as long as consumer demand. To streamline processes, all departments and individuals involved in developing a product are brought together. It involves much more than just creating a bill of materials (BOM).

PLM solutions assist businesses in overcoming engineering difficulties and the growing complexity of product development. It is one of the four pillars of an information technology framework in a manufacturing company. The others are communication management with the client(CRM), management of dealing with the suppliers (SCM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

4 Pillars of a company's information technology structure.

You may consolidate data and integrate it and other elements of a product’s lifecycle using several ERP modules, like inventory management and supply chain management. The modules enable access to precise and real-time data, decrease duplicate and labor-intensive operations, and integrate customer relationship management, product engineering, and conceptual design into a single ecosystem. Manufacturers who hire designers, engineers, marketers and other professionals who work with existing products and develop new ones typically use PLM.

Product Lifecycle Management Stages

There is no one industry standard for representing the stages of product lifecycle management. The stages below resemble a conventional product development cycle.

  • Concept and design: At this stage, a product’s specifications are established using data from competitor analyses, market gaps, or client demands.
  • Develop: The product’s comprehensive design and any relevant tool designs will be created. The anticipated product is validated and analyzed during this phase (a prototype is developed and put through field testing). This yields crucial information about how the product is utilized and what improvements are required.
  • Production and launch: The design and other elements are modified in response to feedback from the pilot to create a product that is ready for the market. Scaled manufacturing of the new product is carried out before it is released and distributed to the marketplace.
  • Service and support: The time frame after the new product’s launch. During which service and support are provided.
  • Retirement: The management of a product’s market withdrawal, additional testing, and merging into a new idea must occur at this stage of a product’s lifecycle.
Stages of Product Lifecycle Management

However, the beginning, middle, and end are another way to see different product lifecycle management stages. You may assist in coordinating efforts and reduce wasted efforts by defining the processes and communicating properly at each step of the route. Find out more about the three stages:

  • Beginning of life: Planning, design, and manufacturing engineering are all included in this phase. It starts with conception and development. Later in this stage, as marketing and promotion pick up, the emphasis shifts to delivering the goods to consumers.
  • Middle of life: Congratulations! Your product has been developed, and your customer is currently using it. You’ll begin to enhance the manufacturing and distribution processes, collect user feedback, and monitor things like servicing frequencies.
  • End of life: The market could already be fully developed. Or maybe your product has become outdated. Now is the moment to organize your production end to prevent stock waste. A different choice is to look at how to re-energize your product through iterations, redesigns, or other methods of remaining competitive.
3 Stages of Product Lifecycle Management

The Elements of Modern PLM

Along with conceptualization, design, engineering, production, and other areas, PLM strategies use market knowledge to enhance current products and introduce new ones. The different phases of a product’s life cycle are crucial aspects of PLM. So, what five stages make up a product’s life cycle? 

Below we have discussed the five stages with respect to PLM:

  1. Implementing ICT ( information and communication technology): ICT comprises all the platforms, architecture, and standards required for PLM. Without it, the PLM process would not be feasible. The first stage is to break into silos so that data about your products, such as design, supply chain data, marketing, and sales data, are integrated and accessible on a central platform.
  2. Mapping processes: Create a map of all the employees, teams, and organizations required throughout the lifecycle of your product. Determine the skill sets needed for each stage. List the main stakeholders. PLM is more effective when a new product’s design, development, and distribution strategy is laid out and made available to all concerned individuals.
  3. Managing production methods: Manage data and product development practices to shorten marketing time while balancing cost, quality, and compliance.
  4. Improving product innovation: Create a pipeline of concepts that can be transformed into useful solutions.
  5. Speeding up commercialization: To reduce time to market, identify the roadblocks that delay the development of new items and give them extra attention. Standardizing components and procedures may be beneficial. Likewise, establishing connections with suppliers and other partners.

Benefits of Product Lifecycle Management

Specialized computer programs like project management, design integration, and process management can aid PLM.

Effective product lifecycle management offers various advantages. Some are:

  • Higher reliability and quality of the products.
  • Accelerating product launch.
  • Enhancing product safety.
  • Boosting financial assessment.
  • Lower expenditures on prototypes.
  • More precise and fast requests for quotes (RFQ).
  • Identifying sales opportunities and revenue sources quickly.
  • savings from reusing the original data
  • A product optimization framework.
  • Waste and error reduction
  • Control of seasonal variation due to enhanced capacity.
  • More accurate forecasting to cut down material expenses.
  • Improved supply chain coordination.

Overcoming PLM challenges

Companies struggle with disconnected systems, processes, and teams as they try to manage more complex product development processes. Using separate software systems could lead to higher expenses due to inefficiencies and a lack of product commercialization.

Some of the biggest PLM challenges include the following:

  • Departments, operations, and systems that are not interconnected.
  • Data of poor quality.
  • Frequent requests for changes.
  • Increased efficiency gaps while using different tools.

To tackle these and other issues, remove data and information silos using complete ERP software that includes modules for supply chain, manufacturing, and other departments. Adding end-to-end process owners and establishing enterprise-wide KPIs and targets are additional useful tools to reduce transmissions between teams. Implementing a new or evolving software system might also benefit your organization by providing immediate top-level support.

Product lifecycle management software

Companies utilize PLM software systems to manage a product and the data related to it across the whole product lifecycle.

PLM also prevents designers and engineers from working alone in a disconnected vacuum by providing access to outside information sources, including customer and analyst feedback, field performance data, and visibility into the constraints of downstream processes like manufacturing.

Teams outside of design and engineering might also benefit from a PLM system. It can give suppliers and business stakeholders valuable insights and quick feedback during product development.

Example of PLM system

Although typically used by design and engineering teams using CAD data, a PLM system may give all business stakeholders access to the product design process.

A PLM system gives designers and engineers immediate access to the essential data they want. By integrating CAD (computer-aided design) data with a bill of materials, other corporate data sources, and integration with an ERP system, the solution simplifies project management and handles this product data across the whole product development lifecycle.

Product lifecycle management tools

PLM is a business strategy to develop new products and continually enhance products. Multiple integrated software application solutions handle certain phases of a product’s lifecycle and link various functionalities. Although the emphasis is on manufacturing processes, PLM techniques and software also contain marketing, sales, and portfolio management modules. Business owners may use enterprise resource planning software to collect, manage, track, and report on the data essential for successful PLM. ERP solutions, such as MyDirecteur, link: 

  • accounting
  • project management
  • customer relationship management (CRM)
  • inventory and order management
  • human resource 

And other stages of a product’s life cycle into a single system for the entire business.


Product lifecycle management aims to link teams, data, and strategy over a product’s entire life. PLM is a discipline that motivates staff to consider the overall objectives of the product and business.
A powerful ERP software supports PLM to provide employees with the tools and insight to collaborate, share, create, develop, acquire, and sell a product more successfully. In this procedure, modern ERP software is essential. It streamlines manual processes, harmonizes data, and enables successful PLM.