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Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is the business activity of managing, in the most effective way, a company’s products all the way across their lifecycles; from the very first idea for a product all the way through until it is retired and disposed of. The objective of the first chapter of this book is to provide an introduction to PLM, answering the questions: “What is PLM?”; “Why PLM?”; “When did PLM appear”; and “Where is PLM used?” This will help those working with PLM in a company, including those involved in a company’s PLM Initiative, to understand the basics of PLM and why it’s so important. It will allow them to participate more fully in the PLM Initiative and PLM activities. This chapter also aims to give students a basic understanding of PLM and its importance in industry. The first part of the chapter gives definitions of PLM, a PLM Initiative, and the PLM Paradigm. The second part of the chapter looks at the meaning of the letters P, L and M in the PLM acronym. The third part addresses the scope of PLM. It introduces the PLM Grid, describes activities within the scope of PLM; and identifies the resources managed in PLM. The fourth part of the chapter describes the PLM Paradigm, detailing concepts, consequences and corollaries. The fifth part looks at the potential benefits, strategic and operational, of PLM and a PLM Initiative. The sixth part shows how PLM has spread since its emergence in 2001. As of 2015, it’s used throughout manufacturing industry and throughout the world. The seventh and final part of the chapter looks at the problems that PLM solves and the opportunities it enables.
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