case studies

product lifecycle management

Product lifecycle management or PLM is an all-encompassing approach for innovation, new product development and introduction (NPDI) and product information management from ideation to end of life. PLM Systems as an enabling technology for PLM integrate people, data, processes, and business systems and provide a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.

Business Drivers

Innovation and new product development are essential for most companies to sustain future revenue growth. Customers demand more new products in shorter time intervals, often customized to their own needs. They want more attractive designs, better performance, better quality, lower prices, and instant availability. To meet these needs companies have to be able to collaborate closely within their own organization and with partners and suppliers located in various parts of the world. At the same time, companies have to manage increasing product and manufacturing complexities due to a quickly growing number of environmental and regulatory rules and requirements.

The Problem

Accelerating innovation and increasing the number of successful new product introductions is a huge challenge for most organizations today because of their traditionally serial, fragmented, manual, and paper based processes. The result is that many companies suffer from NPDI practices that are slow, resource intensive, costly, inflexible, provide little visibility, and are difficult to manage and control.

Typical business problems are:

Innovation/New Product Development

  • Bringing new products to market takes too long
  • The product development pipeline is too small or nonexistent
  • Undesirable mix between new and established products (Stars and Cash Cows)
  • Not enough revenue generated from new products
  • New product development projects are often over budget and over schedule
  • Little or no visibility over status of new product development projects

Change Management

  • It takes a long time to process change orders through the organization
  • Many people have to sign off on change orders
  • Difficulty determining the impact of changes on products, documents, manufacturing procedures and production equipment
  • Affected parties (internal, customers, suppliers, etc) are not notified of changes

Information and Intellectual Property Management

  • Difficulty to search, access and retrieve existing information
  • Little or no re-use of existing information and parts
  • Significant effort to re-create documents and drawings that cannot be found
  • Little information security
  • No or little protection of intellectual capital


  • High cost and large effort to meet and adhere to all regulatory and environmental rules and requirements (SOX, FDA, EPA, ISO, ITAR, RoHS, REACH, WEEE, ELV, etc.)
  • Difficulty to keep track of and meet all the different international regulations (US, EU, Japan, etc)
  • Large effort to prepare for audits
  • Risk of non-compliance
  • Product redesign and changes to meet regulatory requirements
  • Large effort to determine all materials used in a product

Business Inefficiency

  • Redundant or duplicate parts and resulting excess inventory
  • Spend significant time and effort to re-enter data in various systems
  • Spend significant time and effort to distribute information internally and externally
  • Need significant space to storage paper files and documents
  • Large paper consumption for printing and copying

The Solution – PLM

Through their ability to integrate all product related data and processes and to eliminate boundaries in the value chain, PLM Systems can significantly reduce non-value added activities and enable stakeholders to collaborate in real time using a consistent set of information throughout the entire product lifecycle.

As a result, productivity improvements of over 60% in NPDI-related activities have been achieved through PLM-enabled, enterprise-wide data and process optimization and integration that have allowed companies to:

  • Drive innovation
  • Accelerate Revenues
  • Increase Productivity
  • Reduce Costs
  • Improve Quality
  • Ensure Compliance
  • Shorten Time-to-Market

In today’s highly competitive, fast-paced and global business environment, well-designed and implemented PLM practices, processes and technologies that support an organization’s strategies for innovation and growth can afford companies a real competitive advantage.

The Benefits of PLM

Using a PLM system to manage product data and integrate and automate business processes generally results in efficiency improvements, which consequently enable companies to develop more new products, shorten time-to-market, reduce costs, increase productivity and improve the quality of products and procedures.

These efficiency improvements can generally be leveraged in two ways: Increased output with the same resources (labor, time, material) or constant output with fewer resources. The result in the first case is a higher revenue at the same costs, in the latter case it is constant revenue at lower costs. In both instances the gross margin will increase as a result of using PLM.


OBEROn provides all functionalities to develop simple or complex PLMs. Using this platform you can define PLM object classes (products, parts, CAD elements, ECO, ECR ... ), relationships between them (like BOM structures), lifecycles , event rules, access rights. OBEROn is capable of storing files (office documents, PDF, CAD drawings, reports, images) in a distributed file system network: you can create interfaces via webservices in order to access remote file spaces or use the ftp protocol.
You can also define the user interfaces like menus, menu commands, forms; these elements can be used to implement a web-browser interface or stand-alone clients.

The OBEROn PLM is a demo web-application that demonstrates the power of the OBEROn platform.
Here is some screenshoots that show the basic functions:

User login

The basic search: filter objects by class,code,revision,holder,current status, creation date

Create new part: part types are subdivided into classes and sub-classes.
Specific (or Extra) attributes related to the component class/sub-class extend the basic properties.

Show/Edit part details: a form can include also navigation items to show connected objects (like CAD elements)

Navigate the object showing the connected elements

Show the object lifecycle and the current stage. Let the enabled users to promote or regress the objects status.


REFERENCE: "What is PLM?". PLM Technology Guide

See also

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