The 10 Things Manufacturers Need To Know About PLM Today

PLM Is The Rocket Fuel New Products Need

By definition, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a series of product development and planning frameworks, processes, and systems designed to guide product ideas from concept, through development, launch, midlife product line extension, and retirement.

Today, manufacturers are relying on PLM more than ever before to design, build, and sell smart, connected products. According to their recent study on Digital Engineering and PLM Adoption,Capgemini estimates the size of the global connected products market will range between $519B to $685B by 2020. With manufacturers predicting 47% of their products will be smart, connected devices by 2020, the need for PLM has never been greater in manufacturers today.

The top six factors driving manufacturers to adopt PLM as their system of record for product development:

1. Gain greater scale and speed designing innovative, smart, connected products to generate new revenue streams and data-as-a-service opportunities.

2. Get compliance under control and automate required reporting to free up the thousands of hours per year spent producing and submitting reports to regulatory agencies at the local, regional, and national level.

3. Improve product quality by having every supplier meet minimum design standards, and track their compliance to ensure no quality gaps happen between the original PLM- and CAD-based designs, what sales are promoting as configurable, and what manufacturing can produce.

4. All manufacturers need a system of record capturing the product configuration lifecycle data and intellectual property at the product model level to ensure valid product configurations can be immediately sold through any digital channel, anytime.

5. PLM closes the product design and configuration gaps between engineering and R&D first, and by standardizing on a Configuration Lifecycle Management platform that includes CAD, ERP, and CRM, manufacturers can close the biggest configuration gaps slowing down sales today.

6. Prioritizing new product opportunities and turning roadmaps into reality is what makes manufacturing revenue grow the fastest, and where PLM systems deliver their highest return on investment (ROI).

Combining PLM, CAD, ERP, and CRM systems drive faster time-to-market and improves time-to-customer order delivery performance.

The Four Benefits of PLM For Manufacturers

7. 360-degree visibility across the entire new product development and introduction process. According to Gartner studies of PLM’s contributions to revenue growth, 60% to 70% of a manufacturer’s new revenue growth every year is from new products. To make these new products successful takes continued collaboration and focus on the shared goal of designing, manufacturing, and selling the highest quality products possible. PLM is making its greatest contribution to manufacturers today by enabling real-time collaboration across cross-functional teams and departments to meet launch timelines and customer delivery dates.

8. Turn compliance requirements into a competitive advantage by streamlining reporting, saving valuable time. Of all the constraints and costs manufacturers have to meet and report on, compliance with local, regional, and national standards are among the most costly and complex. PLM systems streamline compliance reporting requirements, scaling them across all production centers, automating processes, and even automatically filing compliance reporting to regulatory agencies.

9. Eradicate product quality problems caused by a lack of communication between engineering, quality management, and suppliers. By integrating PLM, ERP and CRM systems together using a Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) platform, product quality problems based on lack of communication are being eradicated from manufacturers today.

10. Reduce time-to-market for new products and improve on-time delivery performance for customer orders. PLM systems are purpose-built for accelerating new product development, designing new products to be as buildable and saleable as possible. Product designs that can flex to the specific needs of customers and still be produced at a profit is key. Manufacturers growing revenue at 10% a year or more combine PLM’s speed at time-to-market with buildable product configurations that can be shipped on time.


Smart, connected products are the future of manufacturing, and PLM systems are a must-have to manage their development, manufacturing, and sales. By spanning each product’s initial research and development efforts, scaling to define requirements and specifications, and setting achievable manufacturing quality goals, PLM keeps manufacturers focused on launching products faster and delivering orders on time.

By combining PLM, CAD, ERP and CRM systems using Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) as the unifying platform, product configuration gaps that cause problems for build-to-order and configure-to-order manufacturers can be eliminated, and sales increased.

PLM 101: The Mini-Series

How can you improve your PLM performance? Read the next post in the PLM series on using PLM to boost manufacturing performance.