A Quick Guide to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Choosing a technology partner that upholds the principles of PLM can be notable benefit to managing the lifecycle of your products from initial design through to end of life and disposal.

A technology partner that includes PLM as part of its management system will support the initial design of product, conformity of product throughout production, inventory control and full traceability; many of the world’s leading manufacturers adopt PLM practices into their businesses to make them more effective and efficient.

What is PLM and why is it important to your business?

PLM is commonly supported by a complete information management system, a software platform that constantly monitors and manages the various stages of the product life cycle from design, development, production, market launch, retirement and disposal.
Additional benefits of an established PLM system can include, but are not restricted to, the following improvements:

  • Efficiency of the design and production process
  • Avoidance of waste
  • Monitoring of the product life cycle through specified parameters


An effective PLM manages and coordinates people, processes and keeps data up-to-date and creates a chain of collaboration between all stages of product design, delivery and application at the customer.

Product Lifecycle key challenges

From initial design and development, through to production and delivery to the market, there are several key stages that fall within the scope of PLM. An ideal technology partner must understand and be prepared to support with each of the following common challenges:

  • Design and development of products and services (whether outsourced or internal)
  • Preparation for production (including process planning and prototype build events)
  • Vendor management
  • Data, document, Bill of Material (BOM) and CAD management
  • Product analytics and risk management
  • Quality assurance and testing
  • Project and program management
  • Quote process management
  • Regulatory and environmental compliance management
  • Supply chain and Inventory management with parts procurement traceability
  • Engineering and Prototyping change management


Throughout the development of a product or service the complexities commonly increase, the ideal technology partner will be able to find specific solutions that have a positive impact on the entire product life cycle. They will be able to offer solutions that can easily be integrated with existing processes, as well as reducing waste and increasing efficiency.

10 Benefits of using PLM

PLM can be a powerful tool that generates efficiencies and can resolve the common challenges businesses might commonly face during product development.

The software employed as part of a PLM process creates advantages for the entire organisation, especially if integrated into established Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. It allows for streamlining a company’s financials, supply chain management, engineering, operations, reporting, manufacturing and human resourcing activities; supporting all business areas involved in the process of a product lifecycle.

Benefits of establishing a PLM system can include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  1. Easy integration: PLM methodologies integrate easily into existing ERP systems and Quality Management systems
  2. Synergised planning and production: Business areas involved in development and design and those linked to production can work together with full visibility of relevant data, improving efficiency and reducing complexity in shared process.
  3. Easy access to Bill of materials (BOM): Full supply chain management and access to accurate BOM information ensures that production is completed in line with the required specifications and timeframes.
  4. Managing change: Online workflow and approvals allow efficient change point control, offers full traceability of change events, mitigates risk via clear parts level revision control and makes relevant information accessible to those who need it.
  5. Automated systems: An established PLM system may enable efficient stock management and trigger automated parts procurement processes where a shortfall is predicted.
  6. Business scalability, meeting compliance and industry regulations: Having a system that allows individual parts and components of the product to be traceable can inevitably lend itself to stronger synergies with product compliance and new regulations in the industry.
  7. Agile product delivery: In the current business environment the speed at which a business can develop and launch its products is critical, efficient and effective processes as part of a PLM will reduce the risk of harmful delays and improve delivery timing to market.
  8. Reduced costs: An established PLM system will create efficient and effective processes that will allow you to align with market demands whilst controlling costs, increasing productivity and creating stronger production flows.
  9. Enhanced stakeholder management: An established PLM system creates a connection between people, processes and business partners in a constant collaboration. A product can be virtually designed, reviewed, analysed and produced in real-time with interactions from various stakeholders.
  10. Information and reporting: An established PLM system offers clear, concise and accurate information which can be passed onto the customer as necessary improving reporting and increasing customer satisfaction.


Global Display Solutions (GDS) understands that a fully established PLM system adds value to the customer experience and improves our commitment to delivery of our products and services.

We are proud to say that our PLM system, and integrated ERP system, effectively manages data, people and processes across the entirety of our business.

GDS’s innovative management approach allows us to have effective and sustained control over our supply chain, ultimately guaranteeing supply continuity, controlled costs, stronger efficiencies and high levels of bespoke support for its customers.

As a premier global technology partner, specialising in digital displays and interactive technologies, we are always looking for ways that help you to improve your competitive advantages through innovative application of our experience, products and services.

If you would like to learn more information around how GDS can potentially support your business needs please contact emea@gds.com or visit our website gds.com for details.

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