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.

Most Popular Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM

Elbats MES reviews
Elbats MES

Our Score 8.5

User Satisfaction 100%

Integrated manufacturing execution and product lifecycle management software for factories and manufacturers. Read Reviews

SAP PLM reviews

Our Score 9.6

User Satisfaction 99%

Part of SAP Business Suite, SAP PLM is a Product Lifecycle Management Software for Enterprises for greater visibility and control. Read Reviews

Siemens Teamcenter PLM reviews
Siemens Teamcenter PLM

Our Score 9.5

User Satisfaction 100%

Simplified, yet comprehensive product lifecycle management software for enterprises to enhance their profitability and increase efficiency. Read Reviews

Autodesk Vault reviews
Autodesk Vault

Our Score 9.4

User Satisfaction 100%

CAD Data Management and Collaboration Software for building efficient product development cycle in multi user environments. Read Reviews

Infor PLM Optiva reviews
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

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 apps 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 of leading PLM apps. 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 solutions to find out if they offer a free trial: Autodesk VaultAutodesk Fusion LifecycleArena PLM, and Oracle Agile PLM.

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

FinancesOnline makes use of our proprietary SmartScore™ mode to test all the software in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category to help you pick the best possible service. It includes the following elements: cruscial functionalities, collaboration possibilities, customization, integration, simplicity, customer support, how secure a software is, mobile support, scores in other media. Currently, SAP PLM is the leader in this category and we gave it the highest score in our tests. Following extensive research and analysis it received the best results among its competitors and our experts strongly suggest that you include it as one of the options for your business.

User Satisfaction Read More

An overview of total user satisfaction with the software in our Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category based on our unique algorythm that gathers customer reviews, comments and opinions across a wide set of social media platforms in order to help you make an educated investment decision.











Pricing Read More

Each vendor in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category will offer a different set of pricing plans for its app and every package will include a varied group of tools. Below we list the overal pricing for the cheapest plan offered for each service. Please note that advanced features may have an extra cost.

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Devices Supported Read More

An analysis of what kind 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.






Laguages Supported Read More

Learn which languages and geographies are served by the top B2B services in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category, including spftware intended for international markets and prepared for multi-cultural groups of employees.








Pricing Model Read More

Examine what pricing models are provided by the vendors in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category to check which one matches your business needs and expenses best. Keep in mind that certain services can provide free or freemium accounts for you to try out first.


Monthly payment

One-time payment

Annual Subscription


Customer Types Read More

An analysis of which types of customers a given B2B service in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category aims for, from small businesses and non-profits to big enterprises.

Small Business

Large Enterprises

Medium Business


Deployment Read More

A summary of what styles of software deployement are offered by every B2B vendor in the Product Lifecycle Management Software - PLM category. While most of modern SaaS services are cloud-hosted there are services might offer an on-site deployment model as well.

Cloud Hosted

On Premise

Open API