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What is Product Lifecycle Management? Definition

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8th Dec, 2022
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What is Product Lifecycle Management? Definition

Product lifecycle management (PLM) comprises the process of managing a product as it progresses through the generic phases of its life: introduction, development, growth, maturity, stability, and decline.

It includes both the manufacturing and marketing of the product. The product life cycle concept informs business decisions ranging from pricing and publicity to expansion and cost-cutting.

What is Product Lifecycle Management software?

Product Lifecycle Management software is a solution for managing all of the information and processes involved in the lifecycle of a product or service across globalized supply chains. It includes data from items, parts, products, documents, requirements, engineering change orders, and quality workflows.

Supply chains are becoming more global, and companies are shifting their business models. Many companies, for example, use embedded software services such as product-as-a-service (PaaS) to sell new products or services. As a result, these companies are recognizing the importance of cloud-based PLM software that is ready to help them in being able to adapt and be responsive.

Modern Product Lifecycle Management software is quickly becoming the keystone of business transformation since it offers the digital foundation and enterprise product record for comprehensive and integrated product development and supply chain strategy. When your company operations are synchronized with today’s PLM software on a common platform, you can try to unite your product value chain with integrated business planning and supply chain execution, allowing you to drive faster innovation and enhance how products are created, developed, maintained, and serviced.

What are the fundamentals of PLM?

In an age when innovation is essential for company longevity and success, Product Lifecycle Management plays a critical role in assisting manufacturers in developing the next generation of products at a lower cost and with a faster time to market. While PLM can also be construed as a corporate strategy, three fundamentals influence how teams work, and organizations’ ability to grow and thrive:

  • Universal, secure, and controlled access to and use of product definition information.
  • Maintaining the integrity of the product definition and related information throughout the product’s life cycle.
  • Management and upkeep of the business processes that are used to establish, maintain, distribute, share, and use information.

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What are the five phases of product development?

There is no single industry standard that describes the stages of product development. The phases below, on the other hand, portray a typical development process.

  1. Concept and design: The ideation phase in which the requirements of a product are defined based on factors such as competitor analysis, market gaps, or customer needs.
  2. Develop: The product’s detailed design and required tool designs will be created in this phase. This includes product validation and analysis, as well as prototype development and field testing. This provides constructive criticism on how the product is being used and if any improvements are needed.
  3. Production and release: The first feedback is used to correct the layout and other components to create a market-ready version. The new product’s production is ramped, followed by an introduction to the market and distribution.
  4. Service and support: The period of time after the launch of a new product where service and support are offered.
  5. Retirement: After the end of a product’s lifecycle, its departure from the market is to be handled along with any potential retrials or absorption with other innovations. 

Understanding Product Life cycle Management (PLM)

Effective product life cycle management invites many companies, departments, and the entire workforce involved with the product’s manufacturing unit to reorganize their activities with just one motive- to create a product that beats its competitors, is profitable, and lasts as long as consumers demand and technology permits. It entails far more than simply creating a bill of materials (BOM).

PLM systems assist organizations in dealing with the growing complexity and technical challenges of creating new products. They are one of the main pillars of a company’s IT structure, the others being the management of client communications (customer relationship management [CRM]), supplier interactions (supply chain management [SCM]), and enterprise resources (enterprise resource planning [ERP]).

Identifying the stage of a product’s life cycle helps determine the way it will be promoted. A new product, for example, must be explained, whereas an established product must be distinguished. PLM can also have an impact on more fundamental aspects of a product. A product can continue to grow even after it has reached maturity, mainly if it is updated or enhanced.

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Benefits of Product Lifecycle Management

Product lifecycle management has many benefits, such as getting the product to market faster, releasing a high-quality product in the market, ensuring product safety, boosting sales opportunities, and reducing faults and waste. PLM can be facilitated by specialized computer software that executes programs such as document management, design integration, and process management.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased product quality and dependability
  • Reduced prototyping costs
  • Requests for quotes (RFQ) that are more accurate and timelier, i.e., solicitations from suppliers
  • Quick identification of potential buyers and revenue contributors
  • Savings from reusing original data
  • A product optimization framework
  • Waste reduction
  • Improved ability to deal with seasonal variations
  • Improved forecasting to save money on materials
  • Enhanced supply chain collaboration


Optimizing product manufacturing through product lifecycle management tools and software enables companies to reap maximum benefits faster, including rapid delivery and assurance of high quality. As companies are experiencing an expansive difference in products optimized under PLM and without it, more brands are seeking PLM assistance resulting in a rise in talented personnel with finesse in the field.

If you’re someone hoping to follow a path in product management, upGrad’s Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management, in collaboration with Duke Corporate Education, can be the right fit for you! 

The course extends an industry-relevant curriculum comprising top skills such as product Knowledge, Design, Strategy, Leadership, and Stake Holder Management, to equip learners with the right set of skills required to excel in the current product management market. The course is designed for undergraduate freshers and working executives to upskill in their relevant sectors. 

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Karan Raturi

Blog Author
Karan Raturi is the General Manager of upGrad North America. He has also led various finance, strategy, and operations teams at Wayfair, Kurt Salmon, and IBM.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is a product life cycle?

2 What is a PLM software system?

A product lifecycle management (PLM) software system manages a product and its related data throughout all its product life cycle stages. Though initially used by the design and engineering team, a PLM system will provide all business stakeholders visibility into the product design process.

3 What is the difference between product lifecycle management (PLM) and product data management (PDM)?

PDM only captures and maintains information on products during their progress and life span, whereas PLM manages all aspects of the product throughout its lifecycle.

4What is product development software?

Product development software refers to tools that aid in the creation of new products. Product roadmaps, data analysis, a communication tool, task management, and bug tracking are all possible features.

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