Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal. PLM is a set of capabilities that enable an enterprise to effectively and efficiently innovate and manage its products and related services throughout the entire business lifecycle. It is one of the four cornerstones of a corporations IT digital structure. All companies need to manage communications and information with its customers (CRM-Customer Relationship Management) and its suppliers (SCM-Supply Chain Management) and the resources within the enterprise (ERP-Enterprise Resource Planning). In addition, manufacturing engineering companies must also develop, describe, manage and communicate information about their products (PLM).
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is also a strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions in support of the collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information across the extended enterprise from concept to end of life integrating people, processes, and information. PLM forms the product information backbone for a company and its extended enterprise. It is composed of multiple elements including: foundation technologies and standards (e.g., XML, visualization, collaboration, and enterprise application integration), information authoring tools (e.g., MCAD, ECAD, and technical publishing), core functions (e.g., data vaults, document and content management, workflow and program management), and functional applications (e.g., configuration management), and business solutions built on the other elements.
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