What is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – The Ultimate Guide to Understand its Meaning and Benefits

Product Lifecycle Management

Every day, innumerable new products are launched in the market. However, only a few of them succeed, while the rest fail to stay and sustain in the market. The reason is that either they are not up to customer expectations or are launched before the market is ready. There could also be a situation wherein the product sells faster than the company’s ability to handle the sales pick-up. It is due to fundamental issues in product lifecycle management (PLM).
Now, the next question on your mind would be what PLM is and why you need to know about it. This article will clear all your doubts about product lifecycle management.

What is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)?

Let’s first understand what product lifecycle is and then move on to the management aspect. It is the period from when a product is introduced to customers till the time it is removed from the shelves or the market. Now, what is PLM?
Simply put, product lifecycle management is – the way in which the goods are handled throughout their lifecycle. This includes the development and introduction stage, growth, maturity/stability, and decline. The cycle includes the period in which the product is manufactured till the time it is marketed. It is important to thoroughly understand what PLM is because it helps an organization make better decisions and gain efficiency in its operations.



Understanding Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

There are many units, departments and employees involved in the management of a product lifecycle. However, the goal is just one – to manufacture a product that stands out in the market and lasts in the market till the time there is demand. It is not just about setting up a bill of materials (BOM). There are different stages involved in product lifecycle management, which are as follows.

  • Ideation
  • Validation
  • Planning
  • Design and Development
  • Launch
  • Finding Market Fit
  • Maintaining Saturation
  • Keep, Kill, Reboot

With an understanding of what PLM is and the stages involved in it, an organization can ensure that they are capable of handling any challenges faced while developing new products. When a business is able to identify what stage of its lifecycle a product is on, it’ll also be able to figure out how to market it.

For instance, a new product may need to be explained and a product that has matured needs to be differentiated. It is important to note here that even when a product reaches maturity, it can still be updated or modified in some way so that it continues to be a part of the lifecycle.

Let us now take a look at the benefits and challenges of PLM.

Benefits and Challenges of Product Lifecycle Management

There are many benefits of product lifecycle management. From ensuring that the product reaches the market faster to making it top quality, there are many advantages of PLM. Here we’ve collated some of the many benefits of product lifecycle management.

  • Better quality and more reliable product
  • Reduction in prototyping costs
  • Better solicitations from suppliers
  • Faster identification of sales opportunities and revenue contributions
  • Better savings
  • A better framework for product optimization
  • Reduction in wastage
  • Better ability to manage any fluctuations
  • Reduction in material costs
  • Better supply chain collaboration

Here are some challenges of product lifecycle management:

  • Data quality issues
  • Disconnected systems and processes
  • Increased inefficiency with separate tools

History of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

The concept of PLM can be traced back to the year 1957 when the employee of an advertising agency came up with a five-step life cycle for goods. What developed as a manufacturing and marketing tool for businesses later matured into what we know as PLM today. The earliest recorded application of this process was by American Motors Corporation (AMC), which decided to bolster the product lifecycle of its main products. The PLM was so effective that the strategy was expanded throughout the organisation.

Career Opportunities in Product Lifecycle Management

Here, we have listed future trends that will accelerate the growth and adoption of the PLM process across various industries.

Blockchain

can be used to manage information about the supply chain of an organisation.

Digital Twin and Digital Thread

can help in creating prototypes of the product and managing the product’s data from the start to finish of PLM.

Augmented reality and virtual reality

(AR and VR) can help in locating the desired products or information related to different parts of a product required to successfully complete a PLM cycle.
Product lifecycle management can be a lucrative career path for aspirants who want to play a critical role in the development of consumer goods, business technologies, software platforms, and anything related to the production and distribution of a product or anything that people use every day.

Product management courses available for those considering pursuing a career in product lifecycle management. Achieving project management certification is a crucial step for anyone who wants to upskill themselves in this field.

Emeritus India offers some of the best product management courses in collaboration with globally renowned and leading institutions.

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