Complete Overview of Product Lifecycle Management

Complete Overview of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Do you wonder how product lifecycle management developed and how it works? You are at the right place to get the complete overview concept about product lifecycle management.

Product lifecycle management aka PLM is the management of data and processes implemented in the design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, and service of a product over the whole lifecycle.

This idea was first used back in 1931. In 1957, employees of the advertising agencies like Allen, Booz and Hamilton, introduced a five-step lifecycle for good.

The life cycle begins with the introduction phase, following growth and maturity and eventually reaches saturation and decline.

In this article, you will get a full overview of the product life cycle and how to imply perfect product management at all stages.

What is product lifecycle management?

Product lifecycle management is also known as PLM. 

It is the process of examining how an item moves from the stage of idea to a fully matured product.

It follows the stages of a product’s design, introduction, development, growth, maturity and decline.

Its responsibilities include product manufacturing and product marketing.  It includes business decision making, pricing and promotion.

Effective PLM brings together the many companies, departments, and employees involved with the product’s production to streamline their activities.

PLM systems support organizations to cope with the increasing complexity and engineering challenges of developing new products.

An ultimate product management guide can help you better understand the framework

The function of life cycle management

The main aim of product lifecycle management is to ensure optimal quality, profit and customers’ expectations. Here are some main functions of this life cycle management

Product life cycle phases

Product life cycle management has four stages to make the workflow smooth and effective. It is mandatory to understand distinct steps the good go through during production to avoid any complexity

Product Development

The first phase involves research, brainstorming and development, producing initial designs, creating first models and moving them to test the audience on a small scale.

Expensive new products introduced to the market are meant to low sales and costs from research and development, consumer reaction, and marketing.

Product Growth

The product gains popularity in this phase. Marketing boosts and maximizes benefits.

During the growth phase, the finished product reaches wider markets and results in a rapid increase in sales.

Production cost goes down in this phase because of the economics of scale, and marketing cost increases to chase new marketplaces aggressively.

Product Maturity

In this phase of PLM, product popularity dominates more focused marketing and future predictions for improvements of product or changes required in the production process.

A fully developed and tested product is excessively available and experiences a continuous demand in the market.

However, the product management team that produces the product focuses on maintaining market share and competing with the same products.

Product Decline

A visible end and decline in product popularity and sale can be seen with the increased competition or low customer return rate.

In this phase, companies adjust their product to avoid them from becoming outdated. They manage their focus to new features and qualities of the product altogether.

Advantages of Product life cycle management

Every product going to manufacture goes through a life cycle that determines the development process.

But, using life cycle management lets you control the process and exercise control over success.

Having a proper plan and strategy benefits the business at every stage and keeps the worker goal-oriented. Here are some advantages

Facilitating in scaling

The Product lifecycle management framework keeps a record of all the necessary functions a company must perform to get a product to the user.

It creates a good guideline to use when scaling a business.

A healthy PLM process recognizes any limitations to sales. So, the businesses can understand when they should adjust their supply chain to sell more products to large audiences 

Make the supply chain more effective

The primary function of PLM is to organize the supply chain involved in producing a directory.

However, understanding each step in the process of PLM allows you to know ineffectiveness and waste.

Moreover, you can examine different supplies, manufacturers and transportations methods when needed.

Life cycle management provides the company with a complete strategy for setting up, maintaining and improving the physical movement of waste materials and finished goods.

Speculating costs

Enterprise forecasting cost is connected with each part of a life cycle during all phases of PLM.

It produces an extensive directory of cost data that is then utilized to predict future expenses.

You can use PLM processes to forecast seasonal ups and downs, different model scenarios to better the pricing structure, and recognize possible challenges.

Determining profit streams

Extensive product life cycle management has an experimented framework for making possible sales leads and new opportunities in the marketplace.

PLM facilitates the process of passing top-rated and demanding products.

Furthermore, let you chase opportunities to boost company income to make expansion more efficient.

Its benefits also include improved product quality and reliability and reduced first model cost. PLM has many benefits, which helps in determining processes, and makes the worker’s goal-oriented.

Through the PLM, product managers can expect an accurate outcome and determine if this product can stand out in the market or not.

Product lifecycle management stages

Life cycle management involves organizing all workflow processes all at once while also considering where a product is in its life cycle.

Companies can determine different PLM methods that suit their specific business model, but mostly PLM has three stages:

Beginning of life

The beginning of life is the first stage of product life cycle management, also known as BOL. It looks after all activities regarding idealizing and production of a product.

In this phase, businesses foresee high costs and focus on educating the buyer and users about the perks of their product.

The strategies used in this phase of PLM include figuring out product requirements.

Testing the product at different levels through experiments and Q/A tests and planning to meet the supply needs of consumers is also part of this phase.

Middle of life

Middle of life is the second stage, also known as MOL. It involves the distribution of a product, advertisement, and maintenance.

After product launch, when businesses start to notice profitability, they can focus on improving their supply chain and customer interaction sources 

PLM methods may involve analyzing shipping techniques, making leads for retail space or online sales channels and creating continuous and noticeable branding.

It also includes customer support processes, servicing products, and collecting data according to customer satisfaction and product issues.

End of life

The end of life is also known as the EOL phase. This stage of PLM determines when a product ends being useful to a buyer.

This phase can raise whether a customer will again purchase an item and make strategies or plan to enhance the number of re-purchases.

 It can also recognize why a product is becoming outdated. All stages of PLM are connected.

A business’ process for shifting from one phase to the next is just as crucial as each stage on its own.

However, having a clear idea of the process for each stage and determining an inventory for starting new efforts creates an overarching product life cycle and improves overall project teamwork.

According to the production and demand change conditions, one product will undergo the product life cycle phases multiple times.

Life cycle management tools

The framework you choose and utilize to keep a record of a product’s lifecycle is made up of many different PLM tools that ease communication, store data and produce analysis reports.

These are some of the product lifecycle management tools that product managers can use at different stages and phases of a brand new product’s development and implementation:

  • Spreadsheets
  • Modelling programs
  • Cost profiles
  • Requirements analysis
  • Market assessments
  • Word processors
  • Correspondence tools

Measurement and Evaluation of PLM 

One can measure and evaluate the efficiency of the PLM program by analyzing the following metrics and the respective changes after implementation:

  • Innovation: The revenue and total sale making from new products.
  • Delivery Time: The time from order to delivery.
  • Product Life: The lifetime of the product is usable by the customer.
  • Cycle Duration: The time taken from production start to completion of the process.
  • Product waste: analyzing how much waste collects after every product production.
  • Product assurance: The amount of the product found to be defective and flawed.
  • Return and warranty: Warranty: The number of product returns and warranty claims determines the customer satisfaction and defect rate.
  • Accuracy: How accurately one decides the need for parts.
  • Feedback by customers: The amount of customer feedback contributed to the development process.


Product lifecycle management has significant importance as it determines the development process.

Its different stages and phases have made it easy for a product manager to determine if the product is meeting demands or not.

Its unconditional benefits have made it must have an option for every industry, business and company. Nowadays, different tools have been introduced to make evaluation more accurate.

 At the same time, PLM accuracy has made it even more challenging to rank the product in the market.

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