Skip to main content

About this book

This book presents some twenty case studies, showing how companies in different industry sectors and of different sizes make advances in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Like the author’s previous volumes, this book provides a valuable resource for those wishing to learn about PLM and how to implement and apply it in their companies. Helping readers to · learn about implementing and benefiting from PLM;
· learn about good PLM solutions and best practice;
· improve their planning and decision-making abilities;
· benefit from the lessons learned by the companies featured in the case studies;
· proceed faster and further with PLM the book presents effective PLM solutions and best practices. At the same time, the case studies included demonstrate how different companies implement and benefit from PLM. Each case study is addressed in a separate chapter and details a different situation, enabling readers to put themselves in the situation and think through different actions and decisions.
A valuable resource for PLM team managers and employees in engineering and manufacturing companies, the book is also of interest to researchers and students in industrial engineering fields.

Table of Contents


How Do Elephants and Ants Tango?

The PLM journey at Outotec covers Plant, Equipment and Service businesses. It started in 2011 in conjunction with a global processes and IT systems harmonization program. This case study focuses on the years 2016–2018 and adjusting the concept—the so-called “making elephants and ants tango” or “one size doesn’t fit all”—phase of the PLM journey. It outlines PLM activities for both Equipment Products and Plants, then describes some lessons learned. Finally, next steps are discussed.
Sami Grönstrand, Helena Gutierrez

Trustworthy Product Lifecycle Management Using Blockchain Technology—Experience from the Automotive Ecosystem

Rooted on the principle “from cradle to grave”, the lifecycle-driven approach to managing products like automobiles and related services has been recognised as a pivotal approach in research and practice [5, 15]. Digital technologies have continuously fostered the further development of product lifecycle management (PLM) in recent decades [17]. Nowadays, novel disruptive technologies offer even more important advances for providers and users of such solutions alike [14]. For the case of the automotive industry, intelligent products have created seamless visibility over the vehicle operations [9], big data techniques allow for the creation of sound insights [10], and blockchain technology holds the potential for trustworthy vehicle data management [2, 7]. The economic potential of preventing fraud and providing correct data is vast. Solely for the case of mileage manipulation, financial damage of around 9 billion Euro is estimated for the European Union [3]. Accurate data establishing the basis for digital services potentially delivers a global revenue in the 100 billion Euro range [11]. While these benefits of decentralised and encrypted data management are clear in theory [6, 18], less knowledge is available about the practical implementation of such blockchain-based solutions [2, 7]. The purpose of this case study [19] is to reflect experiences from a project in the setting of a leading automotive player which targets development and roll out of a trustworthy product lifecycle management using blockchain technology. Specifically, the study at hand mirrors insights from the automotive ecosystem focusing on the business-to-business context, involving fleets, OEMs, and repair shops. Such a case study seems valuable as research and practice call for real-world insights on blockchain applications especially outside the financial industry [1]. After this abstract, the second part of the case study provides a sketch of product lifecycle management and blockchain technology itself. In the third part, further details on the case of vehicle operations in the automotive ecosystem are given. The fourth part illustrates findings in terms of experience from the realisation of trustworthy product lifecycle management. In the fifth part, a discussion on the diverse and relevant hurdles to overcome is followed by a description of limitations and a view towards the future.
Manuel Holler, Linard Barth, Rainer Fuchs

Integrating PLM into Engineering Education

PLM Case Study
This case study considers an approach to educating students in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Engineering Management, and Systems Engineering programs on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) concepts as well as on the use of industry relevant PLM tools. The case study follows how Oakland University’s Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Department has integrated PLM concepts and tools into its degree programs. The integration has occurred, and continues to occur, over 3 phases as outlined below.
Integration of PLM techniques and tools into existing courses.
Development of courses that teach PLM tools and their application.
Development of a PLM dual education program with industry.
Note that the beginning of the second phase is not contingent on the completion of the first phase, and likewise for the third phase with respect to the first and second phases. Each phase is an on-going effort, with later phases beginning after the previous phase has been initiated and is underway.
Robert Van Til

Open Access


This case study shows how the PLM environment has evolved at GROUPE PSA since the 1960s. During the initial period, the focus was on systems that mainly addressed the specific needs of individual departments, and improved the performance of individual engineers. Work processes were organised around drawings. This approach changed in 1998, with the INGENUM project. Its objective was to set up a progressive reference frame for product and process definition based on a single physical digital model for all product developers. A third phase started in 2012, with the COMPANY PLM project. The objective of this ongoing project is to integrate all data related to the design, manufacture and maintenance of automotive products, including software components, in a common corporate repository for all participants. The scope, approach and lessons learned are described for each phase.
Jean-Jacques Urban-Galindo, Serge Ripailles

Structuring a Lean Engineering Ontology for Managing the Product Lifecycle

Many companies refer to PLM considering only the IT side and ignoring the organizational impact. The organizational aspects of PLM can be represented using an ontology providing a support to address issues and actions. Based on these premises an action research was carried out to increase awareness on dimensions and elements characterizing the product lifecycle in the engineering groups. The aim is to easily represent in an ontology the complexity related to the lifecycle of aerospace products, capturing relevant dimensions, relations and impacts for improving manufacturing activities through a reduction of errors, reworks and missed information.
Mariangela Lazoi, Manuela Marra

Alfa Laval’s OnePLM

This case study looks at the benefits and lessons learned resulting from Alfa Laval’s OnePLM program. Alfa Laval AB is a €3.6B provider of products and solutions based on its three key technologies of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling. The drivers for OnePLM go back to 2012, when a “pain point hunt” identified some 300–400 pain points related to product data management. Company management understood the problems were impacting the business, and the OnePLM program was launched. By 2018, OnePLM had been rolled out in 3 of Alfa Laval’s Business Units. Benefits have been achieved in many areas, including a rationalisation of the product portfolio, better insight of customer needs, and introduction of standardised business processes. A key benefit of the approach taken in OnePLM is that it has enabled a practically self-financing PLM program. Among the lessons learned have been the importance of: top management commitment; key stakeholder involvement; change management; focusing first on information; and having the right implementation team and partners.
Björn Wilhelmsson

Applying Product Usage Information to Optimise the Product Lifecycle in the Clothing and Textiles Industry

The clothing and textiles industry is facing intense challenges regarding shorter product lifecycles and increasing customer demands. The market expects new collection proposals up to every 15 days now instead of twice a year previously. The frequency of new collection design is especially demanding for small companies in the sector, who are under pressure to accelerate their design process whilst at the same time more precisely target customer groups to avoid unsold garments and returns. They also need to more efficiently manage their product lifecycles and supply chains to keep up with the higher speed of collection development. By gathering and analysing Product Usage Information (PUI) from customers, influencers and other stakeholders in the clothing and textiles product lifecycle, these companies can get quicker and better insights into fashion trends, customer expectations and market parameters. Precise knowledge about, for example, what colours, materials, styles and fittings are in demand can help companies develop new collections to more precisely meet market demands. In addition, sharing that information throughout their supply chain in a collaborative way can help accelerate processes throughout the lifecycle and contribute to overcoming the new market challenges. This article presents a use case from the Italian clothing and textiles company Dena Milano in which different sources of PUI were investigated to support the design of new collections and to update existing ones which better fit the expectations of the market, increase sales, and reduce the need for prototypes and the amount of unsold garments. It describes the development, trial and evaluation of a collaborative IT platform which collects, aggregates, analyses and visualises PUI to improve the target processes. Among the sources of PUI investigated in the use case are social media, company documents and databases, and different types of customer feedback. A novel approach to extracting fitting information from images was also developed as a part of the platform, as was a collaborative tool for idea management which involves stakeholders throughout the collection lifecycle in a collaborative open innovation process. The article begins with an introduction to the use of product usage information in the product lifecycle, and the background to its potential benefits in the clothing and textiles industry. The research approach and the activities carried out are subsequently described. This includes a detailed look at the PUI selected in the use case. The next section describes the architecture of the developed IT platform, with a focus on the tools designed to extract fitting information and collaboratively managing ideas. A section outlining the application of the IT platform in the use case follows. The next section presents the evaluation of the application of the IT platform from the point of view of Dena Milano. Sections describing the achieved benefits and an outlook to future work conclude the article.
Karl Hribernik, Dena Arabsolgar, Alessandro Canepa, Klaus-Dieter Thoben

A New Framework for Modelling Schedules in Complex and Uncertain NPD Projects

Producing reliable schedules for new product development (NPD) projects can be difficult. The uncertainty involved in NPD and the complex relationships between project tasks often leads to task repetition. This results in project schedules that are not linear and cannot be predicted using traditional methods. This case introduces a new modelling approach that aims to provide a more accurate and process specific representation of NPD project schedules. It was developed in a large multi-national component company and addresses the challenges they face producing accurate schedules for their NPD projects. The new approach uses a set of process specific variables rather than the subjective iteration probabilities used by earlier approaches. This results in more reliable project schedules accounting for specific project variations.
Ann Ledwith, Evan Murphy

A Study Analysing Individual Perceptions of PLM Benefits

PLM is the most desirable tool in the manufacturing sector these days. The offerings of PLM are still improving day by day in order to improve the cost, time, and quality of products. This case study discusses PLM benefits and individuals’ perception of the existing benefits. Based on a survey conducted among Indian manufacturing firms, PLM benefits are ranked using t-test. This case study provides a general view of an individual’s understanding and adaptability for PLM. On assessing the present status of PLM among users, top management may guide their subordinates to better understand PLM and improve the contribution of PLM for digitisation.
Shikha Singh, Subhas Chandra Misra

PLM Case Studies in Japan

Business Strategies and Key Initiatives
It has been a quarter of a century since PLM system implementations began in Japan. This case study introduces PLM business scenarios of three Japanese manufacturing firms. They come from three different kinds of business situations. In particular, they describe the mindset of several senior operating officers in terms of business strategies and PLM positioning. For example, a factory head decided to address PLM ahead of ERP; a head of R&D group defined a PLM system for product designers as a digital working space, and a CIO strongly encouraged his employees to use standard PLM functionality as much as possible, and not implement heavy customization. Observing such executives’ motivations on PLM promotion, the decision-making of management for PLM leadership is seen to be a critical success factor of PLM implementations.
Satoshi Goto, Osamu Yoshie

Developing the Requirements of a PLM/ALM Integration: An Industrial Case Study

The digitization of the industry, the drive towards smart factories as well as the Internet of Production (IoP) require rising smartness of products and services. Smart physical products are often mechatronic products that include increasing amounts of software. The development of software, however, comes along with new challenges for companies specialized in developing mechanical, electrical or electronic products. Some of these challenges address the product lifecycle management (PLM)-related business and work processes. The management of software lifecycles requires a much more rigorous requirements management. Furthermore, special solutions for management of source code in distributed development teams are needed. The build-process and testing activities need to be conducted in a systematic manner. The generation and provision of different licensing models need to be mastered and finally the issue of security needs to be addressed for any product that can be networked—which by the way is a strategic target of nearly any product developing company. Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) covers many of the above-mentioned issues. IT solutions for ALM are comparable to traditional PLM solutions, but focus particularly on software as a product. Thus, these systems have become widely used by software companies in the same manner as PLM solutions belong to the standard enterprise IT environment of companies developing physical products. With software penetrating traditional physical products, product managers, product developers, manufacturing staff etc. need to work with both, PLM and ALM, since neither solution is able to cover both domains sufficiently. However, ALM and PLM solutions feature redundant functionality. Thus, best practices for the systematic integration of ALM and PLM are required.
Andreas Deuter, Andreas Otte, Marcel Ebert, Frank Possel-Dölken

Product Lifecycle Management at Viking Range LLC

This case study describes the strategy implemented by Viking Range, LLC as they implemented a PLM strategy to unify multiple engineering departments into one engineering organization. While the company was not burdened by as much legacy data as some implementations, considerable constraints existed within the company with respect to resource allocation and not delaying the launch of new products. The author addresses typical PLM challenges and change management strategies and how Viking Range overcame these challenges. The case study ends with advice to readers who wish to implement a PLM strategy within their own company.
William Neil Littell

Management of Virtual Models with Provenance Information in the Context of Product Lifecycle Management: Industrial Case Studies

Using virtual models instead of physical models can help industries reduce the time and cost of developments, despite the time consuming process of building virtual models. Therefore, reusing previously built virtual models instead of starting from scratch can eliminate a large amount of work from users. Is having a virtual model enough to reuse it in another study or task? In most cases, not. Information about the history of that model makes it clear for the users to decide if they can reuse this model or to what extent the model needs to be modified. A provenance management system (PMS) has been designed to manage provenance information, and it has been used with product lifecycle management system (PLM) and computer-aided technologies (CAx) to save and present historical information about a virtual model. This case study presents a sequence-based framework of the CAx-PLM-PMS chain and two application case studies considering the implementation of this framework.
Iman Morshedzadeh, Amos H. C. Ng, Kaveh Amouzgar

How PLM Drives Innovation in the Curriculum and Pedagogy of Fashion Business Education: A Case Study of a UK Undergraduate Programme

PLM is increasingly understood as a strategic platform to facilitate business transformation through its dual role: firstly, driving operational excellence and then as a platform for innovation through providing an impetus for continuous engagement with emerging technologies. The three P’s of PLM: process, product data and people, remind us that if the transformational potential of PLM is to be achieved, there is a growing need for professionals with an understanding of PLM as the backbone of the future enterprise facilitating an open-ended view of product lifecycle management. The retail sector, previously a late adopter of PLM, is now undergoing a period of significant investment. In parallel, educators within the associated higher education sector are challenged with maintaining a forward-facing curriculum and providing new learning environments that engage students to suitably prepare them for future professional practice. The argument that is advanced in this case study is that PLM provides a contemporary framework and alternative approach for establishing a collaborative, forward-facing pedagogy for fashion business. Further, the insight and energy of students and graduates at the periphery of practice or their “peripheral wisdom” (Wenger in Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge university press, p. 216, [25]) has much to contribute to a sector in transition. This case-study reports on the first ever educational partnership to embed PLM in an undergraduate fashion programme in a UK University and seeks to encourage other educators to embrace PLM as a vehicle for educational change. This partnership was formed in 2014 with PTC for FlexPLM. The case study illustrates the initial implementation of product lifecycle management in conjunction with a shift from traditional lectures to collaborative learning practices to provide a powerful learning environment that equips future fashion professionals with a key differentiator that can drive the transformation of the industry.
Jo Conlon

Product Lifecycle Management Business Transformation in an Engineering Technology Company

The role of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in business transformation varies in scope and impact. PLM initiatives range from Information System (IS) renewal to strategic business transformation, where often the capabilities to implement PLM successfully are unclear. This case study explains, through a case company example, the PLM concept journey from definition to implementation. It explains the variables influencing PLM transformation in an engineering technology company. This paper is based on an example carried out from 2011 to 2015 when the company’s strategy transformed it from an engineering company to a product and service company. The outcome show how a strategy-driven PLM transformation impacts a company at many levels, and also why the first PLM initiative had limited success due to focusing on IS driven process harmonisation. The case study also highlights the importance of the knowledge of the products, services and enterprise architecture, but also business models. The conclusions show PLM being at the core of business transformation, a cross-functional activity impacting products, services and customers.
I. Donoghue, L. Hannola, J. Papinniemi

PLM Strategy for Developing Specific Medical Devices and Lower Limb Prosthesis at Healthcare Sector: Case Reports from the Academia

The study aims to present advances made by the academia in terms of multidisciplinary work among groups formed by industrial designers, industrial engineers, physiotherapists, and physicians, related to a University Hospital in a local environment in order to consolidate a collaborative strategy that allows the development of specific medical devices. Methodology A product portfolio consolidated by surgical devices and lower limb prostheses was the outcome of undergraduate projects, master and medical-surgical specialization projects working together. The baseline of surgical devices contains virtual pre-planning, biomodels, surgical guides, and implants according to requirements from different anatomical areas, predominantly skull and knee treatments. The baseline of lower limb prostheses presents cases developed and tested with users who had transtibial or transfemoral unilateral amputation. Results As the number of actors who shared data and limited resources increased, a gradual implementation of PLM strategy was established by building collaborative databases based on an established conceptual framework proposed by previous tool selection, so that the roles for project execution were defined in terms of access according to the role. To achieve comprehension among participants, a visualization model was adapted to involve workflows, roles, capabilities, and resources. Several data were collected from study cases to be stored and retrieved for further development according to stage development, understanding time and resources implemented to respond to a short period request when schedule uncertainties demand those requirements. Regardless of those results, the further project needs biocompatible materials as well as machines capable of transforming this raw material in order to achieve high-quality standards.
Javier Mauricio Martínez Gómez, Clara Isabel López Gualdrón, Andrea Patricia Murillo Bohórquez, Israel Garnica Bohórquez

Use of Industry 4.0 Concepts to Use the “Voice of the Product” in the Product Development Process in the Automotive Industry

The world is going through rapid and deep technological change. With advances due to new uses of the Internet and electronic devices, the relationships between companies and their customers will be improved in a way never seen before. These changes will allow products to communicate with their manufacturers (the Voice of the Product) so that they can be improved in future generations and can also be supported with updates made remotely, without user intervention. Productivity increases, continuous improvement and improved customer relationship are the objectives of this paradigm shift. Products from all durable and non-durable segments will have a high level of customisation, with the customer being responsible for specifying which characteristics will satisfy them.
Josiel Nascimento, André Cessa

PLM Applied to Manufacturing Problem Solving: A Case Study at Exide Technologies

This chapter presents a case study of a prototype Knowledge Management system that supports the process of Manufacturing Problem Solving in a multinational company. The prototype system allows capturing and reusing knowledge generated during the resolution of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) problems in multiple locations at shop floor level. The developed system was implemented in Exide Technologies. The system integrates the 8D method, Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). The PLM system is used as the source of extended problem context information (i.e. Products, Processes and Resources) that will enrich the similarity calculation of the CBR application. Process Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (PFMEA) is used as the source of the initial set of cases to populate the case-base. From the development perspective, the system comprises a multi-agent architecture based on SEASALT (Shared Experience using an Agent-based System Architecture LayouT) and programmed in Java. The development infrastructure comprises: Eclipse, JADE (Java Agent DEvelopment framework) and AML (Adaptive Mark-up Language) studio. The selected software applications are myCBR and Aras. The prototype system was tested and validated in three main steps with an increasing level of complexity. The results demonstrated the feasibility of the adopted approach. An overall description of the system, results, lessons learned, and recommendations are provided.
Alvaro Camarillo, José Ríos, Klaus-Dieter Althoff

Significance of Cloud PLM in Industry 4.0

The Industry 4.0 revolution is already initiated and under adoption by various industries. This case study highlights the elements of Industry 4.0 and discusses the contribution and significance of cloud product lifecycle management into this revolution. The present status of adoption of Industry 4.0 and cloud PLM is discussed with suggestions for future studies for better understanding and implementations. Challenges to cloud PLM adoption are discussed through two case studies.
Shikha Singh, Subhas Chandra Misra

Examples of PDM Implementation

These case studies are from four companies in different industry sectors. One company is in the electronics industry, one is from the automotive sector, one is an engineering industry company, and the fourth is from the aerospace industry. The case studies show that although the four companies are in very different circumstances, there is significant similarity between them. They are all caught between rapidly evolving technology, demanding customers and aggressive competition.
John Stark

Case Study: GAC

This case study describes the situation at GAC, a Tier 2 manufacturer of assemblies and components for the automotive sector. Product development timelines at GAC were too long, and it was faced with project overrun penalties. Executives launched many improvement initiatives in their own parts of the company. However, in spite of the many initiatives, problems with products continued and showed no sign of abating. As a result, the CEO called for a company-wide product development audit to identify problem areas, strengths and weaknesses. The audit would be one of the inputs for the development of action plans.
John Stark
Additional information

Premium Partner

    Image Credits