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Product Lifecycle Management Software


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Fishbowl Manufacturing logo
 
We recommend Fishbowl Inventory to small to mid-sized organizations looking to improve efficiency and productivity throughout the entire product lifecycle. The PLM module is offered as a stand-alone, best-of-breed application.
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We recommend Fishbowl Inventory to small to mid-sized organizations looking to improve efficiency and productivity throughout the entire product lifecycle. The PLM module is offered as a stand-alone, best-of-breed application.
 
Infor VISUAL ERP logo
 
Infor VISUAL ERP is a comprehensive manufacturing solution for small distributors and manufacturers. It can be implemented in as little as a couple months and often offers ROI in twelve months or less.
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Infor VISUAL ERP is a comprehensive manufacturing solution for small distributors and manufacturers. It can be implemented in as little as a couple months and often offers ROI in twelve months or less.
 
Global Shop Solutions logo
 
We recommend One-System ERP Solutions by Global Shop Solutions to make-to-order, engineer-to-order and mixed mode manufacturing operations. A great fit for both small and large organizations. Includes Apple iPad support.
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We recommend One-System ERP Solutions by Global Shop Solutions to make-to-order, engineer-to-order and mixed mode manufacturing operations. A great fit for both small and large organizations. Includes Apple iPad support.
 
E2 Shop System logo
 
Shoptech Corporation’s E2 Shop System is a good fit for organizations looking for a single solution to handle resource planning, accounting, execution and all other aspects of the product lifecycle. Great for MTO manufacturers.
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Shoptech Corporation’s E2 Shop System is a good fit for organizations looking for a single solution to handle resource planning, accounting, execution and all other aspects of the product lifecycle. Great for MTO manufacturers.
 
IQMS MES Software logo
 
EnterpriseIQ’s ERP is a system designed for discrete manufacturers in industries such as aerospace, medical devices and automotive. It offers product lifecycle management functionality and is delivered on-premise.
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EnterpriseIQ’s ERP is a system designed for discrete manufacturers in industries such as aerospace, medical devices and automotive. It offers product lifecycle management functionality and is delivered on-premise.

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KeyedIn Manufacturing logo
 
KeyedIn Manufacturing is a web-based solution designed for small and mid-sized manufacturers that helps manage everything from the shop floor to production, scheduling, estimating, and more. KeyedIn was developed specifically for custom... Read More
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KeyedIn Manufacturing is a web-based solution designed for small and mid-sized manufacturers that helps manage everything from the shop floor to production, scheduling, estimating, and more. KeyedIn was developed specifically for custom... Read More
 
SYSPRO logo
 
SYSPRO offers Enterprise Resource Planning software to support the control, integration, and synchronization of the life of the manufacturing process for both short and long production runs. Implementing SYSPRO is made simple with... Read More
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SYSPRO offers Enterprise Resource Planning software to support the control, integration, and synchronization of the life of the manufacturing process for both short and long production runs. Implementing SYSPRO is made simple with... Read More
 
Henning Visual EstiTrack ERP logo
 
In addition to offering product lifecycle management support, Visual EstiTrack ERP offers complete MRP, CRM, SCM and HR functionality. Henning Software’s system can also integrate with QuickBooks or Sage accounting software.
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In addition to offering product lifecycle management support, Visual EstiTrack ERP offers complete MRP, CRM, SCM and HR functionality. Henning Software’s system can also integrate with QuickBooks or Sage accounting software.
 
Epicor Manufacturing logo
 
Epicor is a solution that we recommend to discrete manufacturers looking to improve their execution and planning. A good option for a number of industries, from aerospace and defense to plastics and pharmaceuticals.
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Epicor is a solution that we recommend to discrete manufacturers looking to improve their execution and planning. A good option for a number of industries, from aerospace and defense to plastics and pharmaceuticals.
 
Infor SyteLine ERP logo
 
SyteLine ERP from Infor is available as either an on-premise or cloud-based solution, depending on the needs of the buyer. SyteLine can also easily integrate with other Infor software solutions. Support for the iPad is included.
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SyteLine ERP from Infor is available as either an on-premise or cloud-based solution, depending on the needs of the buyer. SyteLine can also easily integrate with other Infor software solutions. Support for the iPad is included.

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +61 3 8899 7476


 
SAP Business One logo
 
SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite which primarily serves small to medium-sized businesses with up to one hundred employees and less than $75 million in annual revenue. SAP Business... Read More
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SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite which primarily serves small to medium-sized businesses with up to one hundred employees and less than $75 million in annual revenue. SAP Business... Read More
 
EVO~ERP logo
 
The EVO~ERP enterprise resource planning suite includes manufacturing resource planning, financial accounting, product lifecycle management, supplier management, human resources and business intelligence functionality.
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The EVO~ERP enterprise resource planning suite includes manufacturing resource planning, financial accounting, product lifecycle management, supplier management, human resources and business intelligence functionality.
 
Datacor Chempax logo
 
Chempax by Datacor is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) application designed specifically for chemical process manufacturers and distributors. The solution can be scaled to... Read More
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Chempax by Datacor is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) application designed specifically for chemical process manufacturers and distributors. The solution can be scaled to... Read More
 
Rootstock logo
 
Rootstock Software is a cloud-based ERP solution designed for manufacturers and distributors of all sizes and across industry verticals. The software controls different aspects of the business - from sales and purchase order management,... Read More
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Rootstock Software is a cloud-based ERP solution designed for manufacturers and distributors of all sizes and across industry verticals. The software controls different aspects of the business - from sales and purchase order management,... Read More
 
Priority logo
 
Priority is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is suitable for midsize to large businesses in many industry segments, including manufacturing, apparel, electronics, food and beverage, industrial machinery and more. Priority’s... Read More
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Priority is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is suitable for midsize to large businesses in many industry segments, including manufacturing, apparel, electronics, food and beverage, industrial machinery and more. Priority’s... Read More

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +61 3 8899 7476


 
MIE Trak PRO logo
 
MIE Trak Pro is an on-premise system that offers product lifecycle management functionality within the suite. This system is best suited for small to mid-sized companies and includes features such as job costing and barcoding.
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MIE Trak Pro is an on-premise system that offers product lifecycle management functionality within the suite. This system is best suited for small to mid-sized companies and includes features such as job costing and barcoding.
 
S2K Manufacturing Management Software logo
 
We recommend S2K by Vormittag Associates, Inc. to repetitive, MTO, ETO and mixed mode manufacturers looking for a enterprise suite with product lifecycle management capabilities. S2K is based on IBM’s System i platform.
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We recommend S2K by Vormittag Associates, Inc. to repetitive, MTO, ETO and mixed mode manufacturers looking for a enterprise suite with product lifecycle management capabilities. S2K is based on IBM’s System i platform.
 
bcFood logo
 
bcFood by Beck Consulting is a complete Enterprise Resource Planning system designed specifically to meet the unique needs of food manufacturers, processors, and distributors both small and large. bcFood is built on Microsoft Dynamics... Read More
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bcFood by Beck Consulting is a complete Enterprise Resource Planning system designed specifically to meet the unique needs of food manufacturers, processors, and distributors both small and large. bcFood is built on Microsoft Dynamics... Read More
 
Cetec ERP logo
 
Cetec ERP offers a suite of modern ERP, MRP, and QMS software solutions. Applications include ERP, Job Costing, Manufacturing Execution, Production Scheduling, ISO 9001 Management, Electronic Routers/Work Instructions, Inspection Reporting,... Read More
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Cetec ERP offers a suite of modern ERP, MRP, and QMS software solutions. Applications include ERP, Job Costing, Manufacturing Execution, Production Scheduling, ISO 9001 Management, Electronic Routers/Work Instructions, Inspection Reporting,... Read More
 
Geneva Business Management Systems (GBMS) logo
 
Geneva Business Managements Systems (GBMS) is a web-based ERP application with the best aspects of a desktop application giving small to medium-sized businesses the flexibility they need in order to succeed in today’s competitive... Read More
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Geneva Business Managements Systems (GBMS) is a web-based ERP application with the best aspects of a desktop application giving small to medium-sized businesses the flexibility they need in order to succeed in today’s competitive... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Daniel Harris,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: April 30, 2017


The goal of product lifecycle management (PLM) is to provide an infrastructure that companies can use to improve product quality. This is achieved by creating a centralized system to organize all data on all products, from initial conceptualization, to manufacturing, to sale and eventually to recycling.

For large companies with geographically dispersed teams, managing these processes and integrating data from throughout the supply chain is a complex strategy that requires software to help automate and connect disparate technology solutions. PLM software is the technology that ties these solutions together.

Here's what we'll cover in this guide:

What Is PLM Software?
Common Features of Product Lifecycle Management Software
Important Considerations
Market Trends to Understand

What Is PLM Software?

PLM software can be thought of as an application designed to help users track all information around product design, production and consumption. It integrates all technology and systems throughout the product lifecycle, from design and simulation technology to procurement and manufacturing solutions.

The advantages to using PLM software can be distilled to three main benefits:

Faster production. Through the use of computer-aided design software, designs can be quickly and easily created, and at lower costs. Meanwhile, computer-aided manufacturing functionality can manage machining processes to create more products, quickly.

More accurate production. PLM software can reduce the chance products deviate from design specifications during machining. Its users can also simulate and test designs before production to ensure finished products will be reliable.

More efficient production. Users can communicate with coworkers throughout the organization and share designs, production forecasts and other data. The creation of definitive, automatic processes for product build, assembly and disassembly.

These benefits combined lead to more organized, profitable product development.

Common Features of Product Lifecycle Management Software

The modules and features found within PLM applications will vary vendor by vendor: some systems are fully featured suites, containing modules to handle every step of the lifecycle, while other solutions offer phase-specific functionality to handle only one aspect of the lifecycle. Most applications act as the “integrator,” connecting various applications and data sources into one, coherent solution.

When evaluating PLM software, here are the key features and functionality to be aware of:

Application Description
Computer-aided design (CAD) CAD applications create two-dimensional drawings and three-dimensional models of components. Users of CAD software are able to produce designs more accurately and at greater speeds than professionals who design by hand. In addition, engineers can also reuse and update designs as needed.
Computer-aided engineering (CAE) CAE is an essential process to simulate products, anticipate weaknesses and build-upon preliminary designs to create safer and more structurally sound assets. Its features commonly include performance simulators, finite element analysis, mechanical event simulation and fluid dynamics analysis.
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) CAM ensures that manufacturers create products precisely to design specification. Its applications communicate with machinery to create items exactly as intended, while creating the necessary documentation to trace manufacturing trends at later dates. These applications can greatly reduce raw material usage and improve production efficiency.
Manufacturing process management (MPM) MPM software manages and automates all of the processes that take place to machine products. MPM is also a key component in streaming processes through various reporting functions that look to reduce lead times and inventories.
Product data management (PDM) PDM creates a central repository for all information on product design, requirements and processes. PDM modules are often accessible from any device and offer data security features for users who need to secure production information. Bill of materials (BOM), CAD files, supplier and materials data and information on machine processes are accessible through PDM modules.
Reporting and analytics Analytics can be used to find where lead times are getting out of hand and costs are greatly overshooting estimates. Many systems feature pre-built reports, as well as ad hoc reporting that users can customize to their own needs.

Important Considerations

When evaluating PLM software, there are a few key considerations that you should keep top of mind:

Integrated suite vs. best-of-breed software. Buyers have a lot of options in this market. Many of the major vendors in this space offer multiple applications with varying degrees of functionality. When it comes time to purchase software to assist with PLM, buyers have three main options:

  1. Purchase PLM software from your ERP vendor. Most enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems offer PLM functionality with their suites. Example vendors include: SAP, Oracle and Infor.
  2. Purchase a best-of-breed PLM software application. There are PLM-specific vendors that offer a suite of modules and applications to manage every step of the product lifecycle. Example vendors include: Siemens, PTC and Dassault Systemes.
  3. Purchase PLM modules on a stand-alone basis. Buyers may also choose to purchase CAD, CAE or other modules on as stand-alone tools. Example vendors include: Autodesk, MasterCAM and CAMWorks.

All three options have their merits and faults for particular buyers. We recommend buyers first evaluate their needs, consider the systems that new PLM technology must integrate with and then evaluate the systems that best meet this criteria.

Cloud-based vs. on-premise. Cloud-based PLM software is still in its infancy, but many of the big vendors now offer to host some functionality and allow applications to be accessed via the Internet. The benefits of using PLM software in the Cloud are similar to many other applications, such as low upfront spend and easy online access.

Because of the proprietary nature of the information stored in PLM software, many buyers choose to deploy this type of system in a private Cloud, or an online network managed by the users’ company, rather than by the software vendor. This allows buyers to enjoy the cost- and access-related benefits of the Cloud while maintaining tighter control around their data.

Market Trends to Understand

As we look to the future of PLM, there are some glaring trends on the horizon. First and foremost is the advancement and blurring of the lines that we’re seeing in connected devices. Over the next 5-10 years, more and more products will become connected. While this will lead to exciting product performance and maintenance monitoring, it’s also a new component of product design that must be taken into account.

From a manufacturing perspective, more and more products are going to require baseline software components built into them. This will add another team for existing design, mechanical, electrical, and other manufacturing teams to work with. Organizations will have to determine where, when, and how to embed software teams into the traditional PLM processes.

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