What Is Product Life Cycle Management?

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Product life cycle management (abbreviated as PLM) is the succession of strategies that are made use of by business management as a product goes through its operations life cycle. The conditions under which a product is sold (development and introduction, growth, maturity/stability, and decline) changes over time. This means that it must be managed as it moves through its succession of stages.

What Are The Goals Of Product Life Cycle Management?

The goals of PLM are to:

  • Decrease time to market,
  • Enhance product quality,
  • Lessen prototyping costs,
  • Identify potential sales opportunities as well as revenue contributions, and
  • Cut environmental impacts at end-of-life.

In order to create new products which are successful the company must understand its customers, markets as well as competitors. Product Life Cycle Management integrates individuals, data, processes and business systems. PLM provides product information for companies and their extended supply chain enterprise. In addition, PLM solutions help organisations to overcome the increased complexity and engineering challenges of developing new products for the global competitive markets.

It is vital for marketing managers to understand the limitations of the PLM model. It is difficult for marketing management to accurately gauge where a product is on its life cycle. A rise in sales per se is not necessarily evidence of growth, a fall in sales per se does not typify decline and some products, e.g. Coca-Cola and Pepsi, may not experience a decline.

For specific products, the duration of each PLM stage is unpredictable and it’s difficult to detect when maturity or decline has begun. Because of these limitations, strict adherence to PLM can lead a company to misleading objectives and strategy prescriptions.

What Does Effective Product Life Cycle Management Do?

Effectual product life cycle management brings together the many organisations, departments, as well as employees who are involved with the product’s production in order to streamline their activities. The ultimate goal of PLM is producing a product which outperforms its competitors, is highly profitable and also lasts as long as consumer desire and technology permit.

PLM systems assist organisations to cope with increasing complexity and engineering challenges of creating new products. They can be looked at as one of the four foundations of a manufacturing corporation’s information technology structure. The others are the:

  • Managing communications with their clients (customer relationship management or CRM),
  • Dealings with suppliers (supply chain management or SCM), as well as
  • Resources within the enterprise (enterprise resource planning or ERP).

Identifying the particular stage of its life cycle that a product is in is vital in determining how it will be marketed. For instance, a new product (one which is in the introduction stage) needs to be explained. A mature product needs to be distinguished. PLM can affect more fundamental elements of a product as well. Even after it reaches maturity, it is still possible for a product to grow—especially if it is updated or augmented in some way.

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