PLM broadens its appeal

For many years, the need to eliminate the silos that isolate different groups has been a recurring theme.  The providers of design software are stepping in to help push this trend forward by making product lifecycle management more viable.

The days when PLM was complex software that was only suited to Fortune 500 companies have passed. Back in 2006, the Aberdeen Group stated that “small to medium-size enterprises that do not adopt PLM will be at a competitive disadvantage.”

Providers like PTC, Dassault and Siemens UGS have made several moves to help small enterprises see value in programs that link many facets of design and manufacture together. They’ve improved collaboration software, making it simpler for companies throughout the supply chain to share data. Improved data management products provide vaults that hold the latest revs of a file, ensuring that all users are working with the latest version of product data. As with all software, graphical user interfaces have advanced so tools are much easier to use.

I recently attended a day-long presentation by PTC, where management described many advances. A push to embrace open source and a partnership with Microsoft will make the software much easier to share while also helping trim costs.

PTC is also making sustainability and environmental issues a centerpiece of its efforts, which could help this industry meet tighter regulatory requirements. Other PLM suppliers are undoubtedly beefing up their efforts to address the green revolution.

Many parameters must be considered before companies make the plunge to adopt PLM. But the payoffs seem to make it much more attractive these days.

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