What is Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM?

Product lifecycle management (PLM) is a solution that offers a systematic approach to managing the sequence of changes a product undergoes, from its design and creation to its ultimate disposal or retirement. PLM is linked to manufacturing, but the management structure can also be utilized for service provision and software development.

A PLM software solution can help companies to manage their product's lifecycle by offering a data warehouse for all the information that impacts the product. The software can be utilized to automate the handling of product-related data and to integrate the data with other processes such as manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). Start by checking our leader SAP PLM, and other recommended solutions in this category.

Top 10 Most Popular Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM

1.
SAP PLM

Our Score 9.6

User Satisfaction 99%

SAP PLM is a product lifecycle management software for enterprises that offers greater visibility and control. Read Reviews

2.
Siemens Teamcenter PLM

Our Score 9.5

User Satisfaction 96%

Siemens Teamcenter PLM is a simplified yet comprehensive product lifecycle management software for enterprises to enhance their profitability and increase efficiency. Read Reviews

3.
Autodesk Vault

Our Score 9.4

User Satisfaction 100%

Autodesk Vault is a CAD data management and collaboration software for building an efficient product development cycle in multi-user environments. Read Reviews

4.
PTC Creo PLM

Our Score 9.4

User Satisfaction 100%

Creo is a powerful yet flexible 3D design tool to help you design, visualize, and analyze your product under the process of development. Read Reviews

5.
Infor PLM Discrete

Our Score 9.4

User Satisfaction 100%

Take your product development process to the new heights of efficiency and quality with Infor PLM Discrete. Read Reviews

6.
Infor PLM Optiva

Our Score 9.4

User Satisfaction 100%

Infor PLM is exclusively designed for the process manufacturers to optimize product development processes and reduce the cost of production while ensuring quality and compliance. Read Reviews

7.
Oracle Agile PLM

Our Score 9.3

User Satisfaction 100%

Comprehensive Product Lifecycle Management Software for enterprises to effectively manage product value chains and lifecycles. Read Reviews

8.
PTC Windchill

Our Score 9.1

User Satisfaction 100%

PTC Windchill is a comprehensive product lifecycle management software that envelopes all the features of product development. Read Reviews

9.
Dassault ENOVIA

Our Score 9.0

User Satisfaction 100%

Product Lifecycle Management solution for large and medium-sized companies for collaborative innovation, clarity and consistency. Read Reviews

10.
Roadmunk

Our Score 9.0

User Satisfaction 100%

Roadmunk is a roadmap application for product management and marketing teams that helps them manage their product launch campaigns. Read Reviews

How To Choose The Best Product Lifecycle Management Software

As the name indicates, product lifecycle management (PLM) software helps companies to manage their product’s lifecycle from design and development to disposal at the end. Therefore, it is imperative that you choose the best product lifecycle management software for your organization’s needs. However, this can be a tough task given the surfeit of PLM programs in the market. To help you, we have created this buyer’s guide which details the things to look for and evaluate in your search for the best product lifecyle management software.

Get to know each product with free trial

A great way to start your search is to register for the free trials or demo offered by leading product lifecycle management software providers. This will enable you to try out each solution’s features free of cost and understand if the system is what you are looking for. You can start by visiting the websites of the following top PLM platforms to find out if they offer a free trial: Autodesk VaultAutodesk Fusion LifecycleArena PLM, and Oracle Agile PLM. These tools  have been given high rankings in our product lifecycle management software reviews that you can read to do a comparison of their features. 

Targeted Businesses

PLM software can be used by companies in a host of industries including the following:

  • High Tech
  • Life Sciences
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Industrial
  • Transportation
  • Consumer Products
  • Clean Tech

Examples of Product Lifecycle Management Software

  • Autodesk Vault: Data management and collaboration software. Vault data management software assists designers and engineers to organize design data, handle documentation, and monitor revisions and other development processes.
  • Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle: Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle (formerly PLM 360) is a cloud-based platform that is a next-generation alternative to conventional product lifecycle management. It is an affordable, easy-to-use PLM system that makes the benefits of product lifecycle management available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
  • Arena PLM: Arena PLM enables high tech companies to go fast. Engineering and manufacturing teams can use the software to drive ideation, innovation, launch, and manufacturing in quick time.
  • Oracle Agile PLM: Comprehensive enterprise PLM solution for managing your product value chain. Oracle’s Agile PLM solution helps you innovate profitably, efficiently centralize product data, and streamline processes.

Types of Product Lifecycle Management Software

You can select and purchase from the following general types of PLM solutions:

  • PLM software from an ERP vendor: Most ERP systems offer PLM feature with their suites. Example vendors are: Infor, Oracle, and SAP.
  • Best-of-breed application: This is offered by PLM-specific vendors who provide a suite of modules to manage all stages of the product lifecycle. Example vendors are: Dassault Systemes, PTC, and  Siemens.
  • Stand-alone PLM modules: You can also buy CAD, CAE and other modules as stand-alone solutions. Example vendors include: CAMWorks, MasterCAM, and Autodesk.

Key Features of Product Lifecycle Management Software

  • Computer-aided design (CAD) – CAD apps create two-dimensional and three-dimensional models of components. You can use CAD software to produce designs quickly and accurately. Plus, you can update and reuse designs as needed.
  • Computer-aided engineering (CAE) – CAE is used to simulate products, identify weaknesses, and develop preliminary designs to make safer and more sound assets. Common CAE features are fluid dynamics analysis, mechanical event simulation, finite element analysis, and performance simulators.
  • Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) – CAM is used by manufacturers to create products precisely according to design specification. CAM apps communicate with machinery to make items exactly as designed and create documentation needed to trace manufacturing trends at future dates.
  • Manufacturing process management (MPM) – MPM software automates and manages all the processes that are needed to make products.
  • Product data management (PDM) – PDM creates a central storehouse for all information related to product design and processes. PDM modules can be accessed from any device and provide data security features to secure production information.
  • Reporting and analytics – You can use analytics to find where lead times are going out of control which can make your project overshoot cost estimates. Many solutions offer pre-built reports, as well as ad hoc reporting that you can customize for your needs.

Benefits of Product Lifecycle Management Software

  • Quicker production – You can use CAD software to create designs more quickly and easily at lower costs. Plus, you can use CAM functionality to handle machining processes and create products quickly.
  • Accurate production – You can use PLM software to ensure products do not deviate from design specs during machining. Plus, you can also simulate and test designs before production to ensure the finished products are of good quality and dependable.
  • Efficient production – You can communicate with your team members and share designs, production forecasts and other information. PLM software helps you to create definitive, automatic processes for product design, creation, and disposal.

Latest Trends

Need for greater integration

Smartphones are revolutionizing the PLM industry and are making the products more complex. Designers and engineers need to handle complex issues related to combining electronic, mechanical, and software elements. Manufacturing companies will not be able to keep software, electronics, and mechanical teams in silos as there is great demand for integration of software, electronics, and mechanical elements of product data.

Internet of Things data overwhelms engineers

PLM software vendors are trying to figure out the benefits the Internet of Things can offer to their products and businesses. PLM solutions are becoming more complex as its designers are adding software and electronic components. Plus, online social interactions are bringing more data to the table. To sum up, the Internet of Things is set to create a wave of data that may overwhelm PLM software makers.

The future of manufacturing technology disruption

What does the future hold for manufacturing technology disruption? We can expect smarter software as well as full connectivity involving a range of data-capturing features and sensors that will be integrated into products. Plus, PLM software vendors can be expected to use agile, lean methodologies to make their products better. Existing development environments are likely to be disrupted by multidisciplinary interconnected data sets because of the complexity of products.

Potential Issues

The following challenges can affect the effective use of PLM software:

Lack of integration between a bill of materials (BOM) and CAD

If you do not use a good quality CAD system, it may not automatically generate a BOM list. The solution is to use PLM software which automatically creates a BOM list and updates it if designs get revised. This ensures there is no gap between design and manufacturing.

Revision Errors

Multiple revisions may be created during the design and review processes. This increases the chances of sending an older version of the design for manufacturing. This error can be expensive in terms of resources, time, and cost. With PLM software, you can synchronize data between teams, business units, and locations.

Misplaced or lost documents

A number of documents are generated during the design and manufacturing process. These include CAD drawing and parts lists, text documents, pictures, spreadsheets and more. It is easy for these documents to become disorganized and littered. Use a quality PLM software to securely store all important product documents in one place and make them easily accessible to all team members and business units.

List of Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM Companies

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Our Score Read More

Our platform utilizes our innovative SmartScore™ approach to gather information about all the applications in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category to help you decide on the best possible app. It takes into consideration the following metrics: main features, collaboration elements, customization, integration, intuitiveness, customer support, security, mobile support, media rating. At the moment, SAP PLM is the leader in this category and is recommended by our experts. Following thorough evaluation it got the best results among its competitors and we strongly suggest that you include it as one of the alternatives for your company.

User Satisfaction Read More

A summary of general user satisfaction with the software in our Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category evaluated with our unique algorythm that gathers user reviews, comments and opinions across a broad range of social media sites in order to help you make an educated investment choice.

99%

96%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Pricing Read More

Each vendor in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category will offer a different set of pricing packages for its app and every package will include a different set of tools. Below we list the overal pricing for the cheapest plan provided for each service. Keep in mind that advanced features may cost extra.

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$2200

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$19

Devices Supported Read More

An overview of what type of devices and operating systems are supported by these B2B solutions in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category, including mobile platforms and web-based solutions.

Windows

Android

iPhone/iPad

Mac

Web-based

Laguages Supported Read More

Find out what languages and geographies are supported by the popular B2B apps in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category, including spftware designed for international markets and created for multi-cultural teams of employees.

USA

China

Germany

India

Spain

France

Russia

Pricing Model Read More

Find out what pricing models are offered by the vendors in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category to see which one fits your business needs and budget best. Be aware that certain services can offer free or freemium accounts for you to test first.

Free

Monthly payment

One-time payment

Annual Subscription

Quote-based

Customer Types Read More

An overview of what kinds of customers a selected B2B platform in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category is designed for, from small businesses and non-profits to large enterprises.

Small Business

Large Enterprises

Medium Business

Freelancers

Deployment Read More

A summary of what types of service deployement are offered by each B2B vendor in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category. Even though most of modern SaaS services are cloud-based certain solutions may offer an on-site deployment model as well.

Cloud Hosted

On Premise

Open API