What Is the Scope of PLM Features Needed for Electronics?

May 16, 2022 Cadence PCB Solutions

Key Takeaways

  • PLM software must accommodate multiple tasks and teams.

  • The scope of PLM software tools and the processes that can be implemented in them depends on the features that can be implemented in these software platforms.

  • The best PLM solutions for electronics are compatible with multiple file types, processes, integrations, and functional environments.

 PLM scope

Product lifecycle management (PLM) software platforms are used in enterprise environments to support the entire product development process as well as the transition to market. These software platforms help unify business processes that are needed to guide a product’s journey throughout its lifecycle. Today’s innovative organizations use PLM tools to align processes and manage resources in support of product development and distribution.

When product management teams are looking for a PLM solution, what features will they need to implement their processes and collaborate effectively? Companies that use an enterprise-level PLM solution may have a broad scope of tasks they must perform to design, build, market, sell, and support their products. The scope of PLM systems and their features needs to support this broad variety of tasks, both within an organization and with external stakeholders.

Because there are so many stakeholders involved in the product development process, what features and toolsets are needed to keep everyone aligned? It’s true that PLM software hinges on data access and tracking obsolescence, but teams should be able to build a comprehensive, communicative process through their PLM solutions.

The Critical Scope of PLM Features

PLM systems give engineering teams the features they need to incorporate new technology and keep up with changing market demands. Successful PLM is enabled by data visibility and is implemented with the goal of extending a product’s lifetime as long as possible. When choosing a PLM system, the scope of PLM platform features needs to align with development and production tasks as outlined below.

Design and Development

Front-end design and development tasks mark the beginning of a product’s lifecycle. The PLM process is not always linear; design and development tasks are often performed alongside other distribution and manufacturing planning tasks, all of which take significant time and effort to plan as part of a go-to-market strategy. Because these tasks must be performed together to help expedite a go-to-market strategy and reduce time to market, PLM software needs to hold all of the data required for these tasks in a single platform. Cloud PLM platforms are most effective here, as all stakeholders (internal design teams, contract manufacturers, parts vendors, etc.) can access the same set of data in a secure platform.

Some of the important tools that need to integrate with your PLM solution to support design tasks include:

  • ECAD and MCAD software
  • Simulation software
  • Documentation software (see below)
  • CAM software

With access to all of these features in one platform, engineering teams can work together efficiently and ensure they can understand each other’s data.

PLM scope

Engineering teams can work together on a single product with collaboration features in their PLM system

Documentation Tracking

The scope of project documentation includes more than just the physical design data. It includes everything needed to design the product, take it to manufacturing, deploy applications (either on the device or on the web), and enable customer success. Everything from documentation to sales collateral and application material should be available alongside physical product data in the PLM system.

An important feature in PLM systems that support documentation tracking and project history tracking is a version control system (VCS). As project data changes based on customer feedback or component obsolescence, it’s possible the product documentation also needs to be updated to ensure stakeholders always have the most accurate information about the product. In addition, a VCS is used to track changes and see revision history throughout the lifetime of a product so that product designers can track updates.

Manufacturing and Testing

PLM systems are as much about manufacturing and distribution as they are focused on design and development. Once a physical product is designed and released to production, there is often a round of testing and certification that occurs, and this documentation will be used by stakeholders to continuously improve the product by addressing defects. Product redesigns may be planned and implemented during the production and growth phases in an effort to anticipate obsolescence and ideally extend product lifetimes as long as possible.

Integrations

Many other important tool sets are needed to support a comprehensive PLM scope. Other software platforms like supply chain data management tools, team collaboration features, data storage and provisioning systems, and workflow management systems can be incorporated into the PLM process and platform. These other platforms are typically accessed through an API, especially if an enterprise deploys a cloud PLM instance. Integration across functional areas is the cornerstone of modern PLM systems, and it’s what gives all stakeholders the ability to participate in the product development process.

When you need to manage all aspects of the product lifecycle for electronic products and assemblies, use Allegro Pulse, the industry’s most comprehensive PLM platform from Cadence. The scope of PLM features in this platform help teams move through the entire development process, push products to production, and access the data needed to distribute and maintain products. Keep your products competitive and maximize your product lifecycles with the industry’s best PLM solution.

If you’re looking to learn more about how Cadence has the solution for you, talk to our team of experts or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

About the Author

Cadence PCB solutions is a complete front to back design tool to enable fast and efficient product creation. Cadence enables users accurately shorten design cycles to hand off to manufacturing through modern, IPC-2581 industry standard.

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