When it comes to managing product data, there are a lot of methods and software that could fit the bill. When faced with deciding which to use, many companies simply try to do it with homegrown spreadsheets instead of exploring other options. To shed some light on the question, we’ve put together this article to help understand the differences between the two best choices for managing product information within an organization: Product Data Management (PDM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).
Similarities and differences
It’s important to start out by stating that PDM software and PLM software are both used to manage product-related information and data throughout the product development process, but they serve different purposes and have some key differences. Put generally, PDM software is focused on managing and organizing data related to a product’s design and development. Whereas PLM software is focused on managing the entire lifecycle of a product from concept to disposal.
Another broad difference is in the application’s architecture and focus. PDM software tends to be an extension of CAD software suites. In this situation, the main goal is to manage the product’s design files and their specifications. Product lifecycle management software is seen predominantly as a stand-alone application. It’s built to be integrated well beyond the product engineering area. PLM extends into manufacturing, purchasing & inventory management, and even quality control departments of a company.
Breaking down the differences
Below we have focused on some of the main differences between product data management software and product lifecycle management software:
1. Scope: PDM software is typically designed to manage product data within a specific department, such as engineering. Conversely, PLM software is designed to manage product data across the entire organization. This involves departments such as sales, marketing, and customer service.
2. Functionality: PDM software is focused on managing product data such as CAD models, technical specifications, and bills of materials. PLM software, on the other hand, includes a broader range of functions such as project management, collaboration, and supply chain management.
3. Lifecycle management: PDM software manages data related to a specific phase of the product development process, whereas PLM software manages data across the entire lifecycle of a product. This includes data related to product design, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and end-of-life management.
4. Integration: PDM software is typically integrated with other engineering and design tools, such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software. PLM software, on the other hand, is designed to integrate with a broader range of enterprise systems. This integration includes ERP systems and other business applications.
5. Business impact: PLM software is designed to have a greater impact on business operations and strategy, helping organizations to optimize their product development processes and improve their overall competitiveness.
Bringing the two together
There are a number of inherent differences between the two applications. It’s not uncommon for larger firms to use both systems. Many times, companies start off using PDM products. Then bring on PLM to extend the benefits beyond engineering into the rest of the organization.
In these organizations, the PDM and PLM systems tend to work in a complementary manner. Each system is used for their strengths and rely on the other to offset their shortcomings. Eventually, a firm will connect Material Resource Planning (MRP) capabilities to its existing PDM and PLM systems to get even greater process visibility and efficiency.
If you’re looking to get better control over your product’s parts and specifications, it’s time to sign up online for Aligni PLM today!
- Aligni Knowledge Center
- Supply Planning for Manufacturing
- Material Resource Planning for Manufacturing
- Managing the Quoting process with Aligni
- Product Build Management with Aligni
- Demand Planning for Manufacturing
- Tracking material usage in production environments
- The Use of Safety Stock in Manufacturing
- ECRs in Manufacturing
- Engineering Change Orders
- Bills of Materials in Manufacturing
- The DFM process
- What is a build?
- Understanding the RFQ Process in Manufacturing
- Engineering Change Management in Manufacturing
- Just in Time Manufacturing Process
- Capacity Planning
- Inventory Planning
- Inventory Analysis
- How capacity planning and MRP work together
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) defined
- Product Data Management (PDM) defined
- The differences between PLM and PDM
- How PDM and PLM work together
- PLM in new product development
- The Advantages of Managing ECM in PLM
- Managing Product Costing with PLM
- The Product Handoff Process
- Managing Product Handoff information with PLM
- What product data does a PLM system manage?
- What data does an MRP system manage?
- Managing inventory lead times with MRP
- Inventory tracking defined
- Why inventory tracking and demand estimation work together
- Managing quality in an MRP system
- Migrating to an MRP system
- Manufacturing Production Planning
- The ECM process, step-by-step
- Lead time reduction with MRP
- Managing product specifications in a PLM
- Managing part versions and part revisions in MRP
- The benefits of managing BOMs in MRP
- Managing your ECM process in an MRP system
- Collaborative BOM Management
- Production Plans in Manufacturing
- Reducing material shortages
- Aligni Recommends: Walking Through a Big PCB Factory in China | JLCPCB
- Quality, Capacity, and Capability: finding the best EMS provider for your organization
- A gentle introduction to electronics contract manufacturing
- Why saving your purchasing data can make you a better buyer
- Aligni recommends: Benefits of using product lifecycle to manage BOMs