PRODUCT LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT
PLM Becoming More
Capable of Working with
Supply and Demand
Since the advent of product
lifecycle management, the
methodology has had the
vision of managing the entire
lifecycle of a product. PLM
software, however, hasn’t
come as far as the methodology advocates. But as vendors
keep pushing the envelope,
PLM solutions are becoming
more capable of harmonizing
activities beyond product
design. PLM’s involvement in
the supply and demand chain
is an area worth significant
attention in the years to come
—Kurt (Yu) Chen, research analyst at
Technology Evaluation Centers
here are different angles to the advancement of PLM solutions
in the supply and demand domain. From the perspective of
functionality coverage, PLM continues to expand its footprint to
pre- and post-design processes. In the meantime, PLM has also
become a more mature platform for cross-function product collaboration.
PLM is expanding both upstream and downstream from the core areas
where it originated. In the upstream direction, main PLM vendors keep adding
functionality modules to their solution portfolios. These capabilities include
ideation, requirements management, system engineering, portfolio management, and so on. Such functionality allows professionals that focus on capturing and analyzing market demands—and optimizing offerings to meet these
demands—to perform their tasks based on a common data model that can be
shared and reused in subsequent activities.
On the downstream side, the fusion between product development and sourcing is becoming the new norm for PLM solutions. In industries such as fashion,
consumer packaged goods and retail, supply chain collaboration is now a prerequisite for a competitive PLM solution. In addition, PLM is expanding toward the
ability to manage the configuration of physical products (or production variances),
in order to streamline design, quotation, building and servicing activities.
Today’s PLM application is not only capable of doing more but also strives to
perform tasks better than its predecessors. A number of emerging technologies
have been injected into PLM applications:
• Web 2.0—PLM vendors are adopting Web 2.0 technologies to facilitate infor-
mal communications within organizations, as well as to gather and distribute prod-
uct knowledge from and among external parties.
• Search—The significance of stronger search capabilities in a PLM setting is
that product definition information is further unlocked in order to be available
whenever it is needed.
• CAD visibility and interoperability—In the near future, supply and demand
professionals can expect inexpensive CAD tools that have everything —and just
Collaboration in the supply and demand chain will be better catered to
when it is powered by PLM and plugged into a holistic product collaboration platform.