Product lifecycle management (PLM) represents an essential and core element for most companies' overall enterprise business strategy. PLM cannot be confined to solely the design/build processes of a manufacturing company. One of the long-standing, basic definitions of PLM is simply that PLM is a strategic business approach, transcending just a design/build solution set based on technology and applications. Companies are able to define their entire business and manufacturing process around an architectural framework based on a set of solutions that addresses all product lifecycle domains.
The scope of PLM has expanded to the extent that the product development process can be executed and managed from concept to end-of-life within a collaborative, holistic framework. PLM solution sets currently offered by PLM providers address all of the design/build/support/maintain product lifecycle domains that define the manufacturing enterprise. Currently, the PLM market is populated by a diverse array of solution providers that includes product design authoring, manufacturing process creation and management, digital simulation, product testing (CAD/CAM/CAE) suppliers, ERP suppliers, and enterprise business solutions providers.
To accurately portray the PLM market today, it is necessary to divide the market into distinct sectors that address the design/build/operate/maintain domains of the product lifecycle. The five areas ad-dressed are innovation management, new product development and introduction (NPDI), and portfolio management; collaborative design (CAD/CAM/CAE); product data management (PDM); manufacturing process management (MPM)/digital manufacturing; and service/support/content management.
Typically, large PLM suppliers provide PLM solutions across all of these lifecycle domains, while others target specific domains and solutions. While these primary market sectors have remained relatively stable and defined within the overall PLM solution set and applications, there are many emerging trends, technologies, and new business processes that are shifting the traditional market boundaries and expanding the scope of PLM into new industries and markets.