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Under the Hood - All things PDM and PLM


4 Steps to Get Started with Product Lifecycle Management

June 8, 2021

Product lifecycle management has always been promising. But achieving fully connected data, people, and processes from where you are today may seem daunting.  

Improving the way your teams manage data and processes, while you know will eventually prove beneficial, seems like a lot of work. The good news is you do not have to fully implement every PLM workflow right away to start seeing impressive results.  

To help you get started on this attainable approach to PLM, we have broken down the process of transitioning to PLM into 4 actionable steps that you can take today to get you closer to your goal of fully connected data, people, and processes so you can start experiencing the benefits of PLM right away. 

1) Get your vision: understand what is possible with fully realized product lifecycle management 

The first step to achieving any business improvement is understanding the ROI and what you stand to gain by doing the work to make the change. You need to have a clear vision of what connected data, people, and processes would mean for your business.  

Maybe like Autodesk customer Evatec, you’re looking for a way to win more business and reduce resource consumption. Evatec makes thin film production tools for the semiconductor, optoelectronics and photonics industries. They implemented Autodesk PLM to satisfy increasing customer demand for their tailored solutions, which allowed them to win more business and achieve a faster time to market.  

Or perhaps your vision is to improve your business’s operational efficiency overall. Autodesk customer Aclara Technologies is a world-class global supplier of smart infrastructure solutions to more than 780 water, gas, and electric utilities. They implemented Autodesk PLM to streamline their new product introduction processes for global teams, including engineering, operations, and contract manufacturers. 

Whatever outcome you are working toward, it is important to have a clear vision for your end goal and how PLM can help you achieve it. 

2) Find a PLM solution that scales with your business 

As you can see from the stories about our customers we detail above, there are significant benefits to transitioning to PLM. The right PLM system can manage a lot. Unfortunately, traditional PLM tools require a lot of work on your part before your business can start to see benefits.  

This is why it’s important to find a PLM provider with a solution that is modular and scalable – so you can start simply and scale easily to address your most pressing business needs first and start seeing the benefits of PLM right away.  

You should be able to choose the capabilities you want from a collection of core PLM apps and specialized processes that are all included at no extra cost. Approaching a transition to product lifecycle management in this way allows you to start experiencing the benefits of PLM without the headache of needing to change everything at once.  

3) Understand which PLM capabilities are available for you to choose from. 

Once you have identified a provider that offers a simple, scalable approach to PLM, you will need to identify which PLM capabilities you have to choose from. Which workflows are offered, and which ones are the most important to your business?  

Here are the key PLM workflows that we offer and the ones that we have identified as mission-critical when it comes to connecting your data, people, and processes. When evaluating a PLM solution, make sure these are on your must-have list. 

  • Product data management centralizes design data and engineering processes in one location, saving time and effort for all involved in the product lifecycle. 
  • New product development allows you to configure project templates and standardize phase-gate milestones, deliverables, and tasks by product line, business unit, or product team, or other designation. 
  • Bill of materials management lets you centrally manage and share structured BOMs throughout the enterprise, ensuring that at any phase of a product’s lifecycle, stakeholders are working with the most up-to-date, accurate information. 
  • Change management gives you a clear view of the details you need to submit, track, and approve change requests and change orders.  
  • Quality management provides a way for you to automate quality workflows, track and record changes, and analyze quality metrics to prevent issues. 
  • Supplier collaboration helps you stay connected 24/7 to your global supply chain with anytime, anywhere access to the information your extended organization needs for quoting, procurement, and supplier management. 

 4) Get your PLM score to identify which areas need attention first 

With so many easily configurable workflows to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to begin. That’s where understanding your business’s PLM score comes into play.  

Your PLM score will tell you how well your teams are currently managing data, people, and processes, so you know which areas to focus on first. We’ve developed a free PLM assessment tool, so you can get your PLM score, and identify which areas need attention first, and which ones can come later.  

The tool will take you through a short series of questions about your role and how your teams are managing data, people, and collaboration. Then you will receive a full report with the details of your PLM score, information about your results, and resources to help you choose the capabilities you need first. 

When you complete the assessment, someone from Autodesk will follow up with you to discuss your results and help create a strategic plan for you to address the areas that will benefit your business the most first, until you finally realize the benefits or fully connected data, people, and processes.  

Experience PLM benefits right away 

Following this 4-step process will ensure that getting started with product lifecycle management goes smoothly, allowing you to begin experiencing the benefits of PLM right away, without needing to change everything at once.  

We hope you found this information helpful. Before you go, don’t forget to take the quick step to get your PLM score here.


Samantha Reynolds is the campaign development manager for Autodesk PLM.