Much like streamlining a supply chain, discrete manufacturing is increasingly distilling industry terminology into acronyms such as PLM, CAD and CRM. However, as the industry continues to standardize acronyms, what they actually mean can become unclear.
To help understand the acronym-centric world of discrete manufacturing, here is a top 10 list of the most common acronyms used and, more importantly, what they mean:
1. Warehouse Management System (WMS) – WMS controls the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse and the processes of shipping, receiving, putaway and picking. The systems also direct and optimize stock put-away based on real-time information about the status of bin utilization.
2. Product Data Management (PDM) – PDM is the use of software and other tools to track and control product data. The data tracked usually includes the technical specifications of the product, specifications for manufacture and development, and the types of materials needed for production.
3. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – PLM is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product through its conception, design, manufacture, service and finally disposal. PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems to provide a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.
4. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) – CAD represents the use of computer software technology for designing real and virtual objects. It can be applied across many different industries, including automotive, shipbuilding and aerospace.
5. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – ERP solutions are integrated computer-based systems used to manage internal and external resources such as financial records, materials and human resources. The systems are built as a centralized database and consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise-wide system across all channels of manufacturing.
6. Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) – EAM manages the whole life of an organization’s physical assets for maximized value. It includes the design, construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance and decommissioning of equipment and facilities. By managing assets across the facility, organizations can improve utilization and performance, reduce capital and asset-related costs and extend asset life.
7. Maintenance Repair and Operating Equipment (MRO) – MRO involves repairing mechanical or electrical device whether unforeseen, scheduled and preventative maintenance.
8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – CRM is recognized as a strategy for managing interactions with clients and sales prospects. It involves using software technology to organize, automate and synchronize business processes, including marketing and sales.
9. Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) – This is the buyer-side counterpart of CRM, representing a set of tools, technologies and services that helps manage relationships with vendors. In turn, vendors use these tools to develop better relationships with their customers.
10. 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) – 3PL provides a one-stop service for outsourcing (third party) logistics services for part or all of their supply chain management functions. They typically specialize in integrated operation, warehousing and transportation services that can be scaled to customized needs based on market conditions and the demands.