Why PLM?

Where did the idea of Product Lifecycle Management [PLM] come from?

Engineers/designers need to manage their drawings /documentation.  Even before CAD, engineers needed to be able to store designs and retrieve them.  They needed to know the latest released version of drawings/documentation.  They needed to be able to track changes to their designs – to their bills of materials.  They needed to make sure that the right information got to the right people at the right time.

If you worked for a small company, you might have been able to handle this manually.  However, big companies like aerospace and defense companies had thousands of drawings [documents] that needed to be managed.

Some of the errors that they looked to prevent:

  • Engineers needing to make a change to a design might not be able to find the design they needed and would start over.
  • Engineers needing to make a change to a design might end up working on the wrong version of the design.
  • Engineers wanting to improve a design would begin working on a design that had already been changed. Imagine the problems when the error was noticed.
  • Upon release of a design, the engineering information needs to be passed to manufacturing. Occasionally, the wrong information would get passed causing a very expensive error.

Back then, I was selling engineering document management software.  Today, you might be able to use PDM [product data management] software.  If you choose to manage all product information easily, you should look into PLM [product lifecycle management] software.

These kinds software addressed the common errors that companies were attempting to avoid.  They can do a good job of eliminating errors if the employees of a company are disciplined to use the software.

A plus for PLM software – it makes it easy to be ISO 9001 compliant.

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