Product Lifecycle Management Revisited

Product Lifecycle Management Revisited

Lars Taxén (Linköping University, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-192-6.ch012
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The scope of this chapter is PLM (Product Lifecycle Management). I point out some concerns with the traditional way of understanding PLM, and discuss potential benefits from tackling these concerns from the Activity Domain Theory (ADT) perspective.
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A definition of PLM

Although the definition of the term “PLM” varies, the essence of PLM seems to be a widening perspective, from managing authoring data to managing all data that are pertinent to the definition of the product during its life cycle. CIMdata (2008), a leading consulting firm, states that:

  • PLM is a strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions that support the collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information.

  • PLM supports the extended enterprise (customers, design and supply partners, etc.).

  • PLM spans from concept to end of life of a product or plant.

  • PLM integrates people, processes, business systems, and information.

CIMdata emphasizes that PLM pertains to the entire business, not just the technology of an IS. PLM is as concerned with “how a business works” as with “what is being created” (ibid). According to CIMdata there are three fundamental capabilities of PLM:

  • Provides universal, secure, managed access and use of product definition information.

  • Maintains the integrity of product definition and related information throughout the life of the product or plant.

  • Manages and maintains business processes used to create, manage, disseminate, share, and use the information.

My interpretation of PLM is summarized in Figure 2:

Figure 2.

The scope of PLM


The central category is “Integration”. PLM is about integration of a number of aspects: business, people, process, information and system. The key question is of course what integration means and how this integration shall be operationalized in practice.

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