Data Management & PLM

You Thought PLM Systems Weren’t Sexy

26 October 2017 | Team EACPDS


Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) isn’t the sexiest topic, but it does have a certain je ne sais quoi if you ask me. The evolution of this technology is really fascinating and the business impact of the adopting a PLM system definitely falls into the category of ‘exciting.’

Today we expect instant access to data, high-quality products, and exceptional customer service. Couple that with the need for companies to continually, and quickly, innovate in order to stay relevant, PLM quickly becomes the best looking dance partner on the floor. PLM drives value from quote-to-cash and helps organizations collaborate effectively, get to market faster, and make more money. What’s not sexy about that? Here are 5 companies that are using PLM to get, and stay ahead. Take a look. I hope it gets you thinking about areas PLM could benefit your business.

1. Lifetime

‘Lifetime is innovation’

Let’s begin with a well-known company, recognized for its’ ability to continually think different and better. “Lifetime invented the first portable basketball hoop and then the first complete basketball system packaged in one box. This simple, yet new concept made basketball systems easy for mass retailers to store and sell, and for consumers to take home” (Lifetime)

What does this have to do with PLM? The answer is everything. Selling the complete basketball system in a box to retailers is what initially launched the growth of the product lifecycle for Lifetime. Product Lifecycle Management allowed Lifetime to quickly develop virtual product prototypes for retailers before the products physically existed. With the use of one system, the company was able to quickly produce prototypes, while developing and shipping the products in time. PLM has expedited this company’s time to market by allowing Lifetime to consolidate databases that control product data. This has ultimately helped leveraged a faster product release.

2. Lenovo

A passion for innovation and collaboration’

Lenovo is a $43 billion dollar global technology company with over fifty-two thousand employees. They design, develop, manufacture and sell personal tables, computers, workstations, servers, and electronic storage devices. Currently marketing the ThinkPad line of notebook computers, the company is well known for its versatile devices.

“We test Think systems against 12 military-grade requirements and more than 200 quality checks to ensure they function in extreme conditions. From the arctic wilderness to desert dust storms, from zero-gravity to spills and drops, you can trust ThinkPad and ThinkCentre to handle whatever life throws your way” (Lenovo)

With a vision to be the number one product technology company in the world, Product Lifecycle Management has helped unleash a passion for innovation and collaboration. The PLM system, Windchill, allowed Lenovo to collaborate with their partners. Using one universal system the company has efficiently utilized their design teams located in both Japan and China. You can see how PLM tools have helped Lenovo here.


‘Actionable steps to streamline development’

iRobot designs and builds robots that improve quality of life and safety standards worldwide. The company develops some of the world’s most important robots ranging from combat-proven defense to public safety to household cleaning. You might be familiar with iRobot’s products, including the award-winning Roomba® Vacuuming Robot and the Braava® family of mopping robot that have been welcomed into millions of homes around the world. “iRobot is at the forefront of developing technologies in the areas of mapping and navigation, human-robot interaction, and physical solutions.” (IRobot). As they grew IRobot faced challenges from decentralized files and product data. With the use of PLM, iRobot was able to break down the barriers between engineering and operations to save time and reduce costs.

4. Whirlpool

‘Leaders never rest. Leaders transform.’

Over the last 100 years, Whirlpool has grown to become the world’s leading appliance manufacturer. This company continues to lead the market as they improve their ability to collaborate across their global brands. Whirlpool depends on the use of PLM technology to help them overcome challenges by providing a single source of truth for every product, part, and resource throughout the organization. By unifying the entire enterprise, Whirlpool is able to optimize its product development processes and the performance of its engineering teams to create truly global designs that not only meet but also exceed customer needs.

So, sexy? Maybe not. But important, transformational, necessary? Absolutely. How could a single source of product data help your company?