From CAD to CRM, working in the discrete manufacturing world can sometimes feel like sailing in alphabet soup. By focusing today’s post on PLM and PDM, we may be pointing our manufacturing ship directly towards the waters of controversy.
For some time, a question asked by discrete manufacturers is whether PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) or PDM (Product Data Management) is a more relevant term to describe our needs and pain points.
Oleg Shilovitsky at PLM Think Tank sounded off about it recently, leveraging simple Google searches to find out what others in the industry were saying. His conclusion is one that we share, but won’t reveal just so quickly.
Essentially, PDM tends to focus on the intricacies of design, CAD models and specifications of a certain product. While this is clearly relevant to manufacturing, it makes it much more of a subset of a broader Product Lifecycle Management system.
The demands placed on companies in the manufacturing industry have grown from the simple production and delivery of products to a full-service enterprise that controls every step from design to delivery, production to support. PDM is one link in that much longer chain, and in a way, PLM is the chain itself.
Shilovitsky’s conclusion – again, one that we share – is that PLM allows for the management of data in a much broader and larger scope than PDM. It not only creates the benefits of PDM, but overlaps some of the data management solutions. Bottom line, PLM can do what PDM can, while encompassing a whole lot more.
By no means is my opinion the be-all, end-all on this issue. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the PDM vs. PLM debate. Or if you have no opinion on this debate, I’d be interested to hear more about what you are looking for in an enterprise software solution, whether we call it ‘PDM,’ ‘PLM’ or ‘purple pancakes.’