Here's a quick history of PLM. Arena Solutions put these slides together, but this is not a promotional piece. The history actually begins configuration management, the precurser of PLM.
The 1992 Jeep Grand Cherokee was designed by American Motors Corp. using a number of emerging software technology tools to speed the design process. The tools included CAD for design, a new communications systems that supported quick resolution to design challenges, and product data management (PDM). Since all the engineering data was in a central database, the company was able to reduce costly engineering changes and speed design and development of the vehicle. The PDM system was so strong, Chrysler adopted it company-side when it acquired AMC.
Configuration Management (CM) was launched by the US Department of Defense in the 1950s. CM was applied to the life cycle of a system, offering visibility and control of the system's performance, function, and physical attributes. CM emphasized the functional relation between parts, subsystems, and systems in order to control system change. It also helped verify that proposed changes were systematically considered to minimize adverse effects. Through the 1950s and into the late 1960s, CM was adopted by industry.
A number of standards bodies contributed to CM standards, including ISO, NATO, ANSI/EIA, GEIA, and more. Standards focused on management, quality, and interoperability.
Through the 1980s, many of the basic tools in the PLM porfolio began to gain strength. CAD and PDM were quickly adopted as standard design tools, and Unigraphics emerged as one of the first companies that bundled these tools together into what was now call Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).
In the 1980s, AMC began using PLM tools to design its vehicles, particularly the Jeep. While the first vehicle design completely using PLM tools didn't appear until the 1992 Jeep Grand Cherokee, AMS was already using aspects of PDM and CAD to speed design and make design more efficient.
AMC's 1992 Jeep Grand Cherokee is recognized as the first complex product to be designed and produced entirely with the use of PLM tools. The Opel Astra also was an early car designed with PLM tools. At the time, the use of PLM delivered benefits such as fast evaluation of design variations, faster development cycles, reduced mistakes, higher design quality, and the ability to produce safer cars.
BOMControl, the cloud-based bill of materials management system, was introduced in 2000. While BOMControl is now under the umbrella of Arena Solutions, it is still branded by its original name.
As cloud-based systems become more accepted in the design profession, many other PLM companies began to introduce their tools as cloud offerings. Now, virtually all of the major PLM vendors make their products available in the software as a service (SaaS) model.
Going forward, we're seeing the convergence of new and old technologies into the PLM world of tools. PLM tools now incorporate IoT and IIoT support, simulation, and CAE tools. 3D printing functionality and material selection is now connecting to PLM systems. Also, developments in big data analytics has created a PLM circle that goes from design, through manufacturing, out into the use field, and back into design.