@Ken E: Sorry Ken. I didn't mean to make that assumption. PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management and as a discipline and software technology, it's really about orchestrating the processes and data sharing mechanism so that all product-related information is readily accessible to all the various stakeholders around a product throughout the different stages of its lifecycle.
So what that means is that not only do engineers have access to the same product record, but that information is readily available to different functional areas with product responsibility like marketing, for example, for creating sales collatoral materials or maintenance and support, for having the proper information for repair and maintenance, and even procurement, who has responsibility for sourcing the proper components and materials to build the product. This approach is contrary to the way organizations have traditionally maintained product-related data, in siloed systems and with disconnected processes. By having an integrated process and a so-called one version of the truth product record, organizations can optimize development, reduce rework, improve quality, and foster better collaboration leading to efficiencies in delivery cycles. That's the goal, of course, if implemented properly. Proper implementation--that's a whole other story!
@naperlou: This riff on PLM is less about opening up the discussion to users or the general public about the product or the evolving design, but more as a collaborative bridge for all of the various stakeholders involved in product development beyond product engineers.
Quality engineers need access to original designs, but not necessarily the full CAD models with geometry; procurement specialists need drawings and tolerances to zero in on sourcing the right parts; marketing people need detailed drawings and specs to create the marketing and collateral materials. The entire value chain needs access to key product data, but they don't necessarily need the engineering/3D model guts of the design IP. That, Autodesk contends, still belongs behind the firewall secured by a traditional PDM system. The cloud-based PLM system and processes is for sharing and collaborating with the other stuff in a more open, easier to use fashion.
Beth, this is interesting considering the discussion on SolidWorks. Much of PLM is concerned with lifecycle issues. Once a product is released and has the necessary protections for IP, the public will want to know details. It also helps to have collaboration with the user community to further evolve the product and increase adoption. All in all, it looks like they have their act together when it comes to configuring this.
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