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Configit — Insights

Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM)

February 4th 2016

The development and use of product configurators has been touted as one of the more important IT enabled technologies to facilitate mass customizations of large numbers of product variants. However, the integration of configuration technologies into day to day business operations is complicated by the proliferation of configuration capabilities across a number of types of enterprise IT applications.

Some typical pain points are:

  • Misaligned data causing error states
  • Lack of collaboration between business units, resulting in sub-optimal solutions and error-prone manual processes
  • Lack of insight into consequences of design decisions made by product development and/or decisions on product offerings made by sales and marketing
  • Inefficient and slow change propagation across business units
  • Broken sales processes with customer disappointments and margin reductions

Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) is the management of configuration definitions and individual configurations across all involved business processes. A CLM system is integrated into a number of central business processes such as:

  • Product development
  • Pricing of products
  • Marketing communications
  • Sales processes
  • Sourcing of materials and parts
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Maintenance and service processes

A CLM solution:

  • Streamlines and aligns all processes in relation to configurable products
  • Supports both the product definition’s lifecycle and the ordered product’s lifecycle
  • Provides cross-area collaboration between otherwise separate business functions
  • Users range from back-office engineers and financial controllers to service technicians and customers
  • Is used for planning, analysis and optimization as well as daily operations
  • Aligns processes typically supported by other systems: PLM, CRM, ERP, various bespoke (typically outdated) systems, spreadsheets and text documents

Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM)


Modern cars are built from 3000 parts at final assembly.

The parts vary from car to car based on customer preferences and regional rules.

More than 1021 buildable combinations are common.

Getting it wrong means stopping the production line while losing millions of dollars per hour.

Read more about CLM

Read the Wikipedia article about CLM

Download the whitepaper Configuration Lifecycle Management by Configit and Joy Batchelor, Technical Specialist Product Configuration, Jaguar Land Rover

Download the academic paper Bridging the Product Configuration Gap Between PLM and ERP – An Automotive Case Study by Joy Batchelor, Henrik Reif Andersen

CLM in Practice

  • News item about Jaguar Land Rover’s approach
  • Configit Ace Logo