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The objective of this chapter is to give a basic introduction to the product-related environment of a generic company before PLM emerged. This will help those in a company’s PLM Initiative to understand some of the reasons why PLM emerged and why it’s so important. In turn, this understanding will help them to participate more fully in the PLM Initiative. This chapter also aims to give students a basic understanding of the product-related environment of a company before the emergence of PLM. The first part of the chapter is an introduction to the product-related environment of a generic company before the emergence of PLM. It describes some of the issues, such as departmental organisation structures, serial workflow and piecemeal improvement that typified this environment. They resulted in slow and costly product development and support. The second part of the chapter addresses product data, which was another problem area for companies before the emergence of PLM. The third part of the chapter looks at the increasingly complex environment for products in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This environment became so competitive that companies couldn’t afford to continue with slow and costly product development and support practices. The fourth part of the chapter presents some of the feedback from a review of a particular company’s environment before it implemented PLM. It illustrates many of the issues addressed in the preceding parts of the chapter. The fifth part of the chapter gives examples of some of the problems with products that occurred in other companies. PLM has the potential to help companies avoid such problems. The sixth and final part looks at the opportunities opening up for companies in the twenty-first century. PLM enables companies to seize the many market opportunities for new products in the early twenty-first century.
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- The PLM Environment
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