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PLM: What it is (a view)

"PLM is a category of solutions." That is a distinction, made by Peter Schroer, president of Aras Corp. (www.aras.com), that is often not entirely clear when the acronym is bandied about.

"PLM is a category of solutions." That is a distinction, made by Peter Schroer, president of Aras Corp. (www.aras.com), that is often not entirely clear when the acronym is bandied about. That is, Schroer explains, no singular "product lifecycle management" software package that one can buy and deploy. Rather, there is an array of software packages that are encompassed by the omnibus term. A simple distinction, he says, is to think in terms of PDM (product data management) as a tool that manages CAD data and that PLM deals with program management and product engineering. PLM, then, is a category that encompasses PDM. The Aras focus, which Schroer says is developed primarily for the Tier One and Two suppliers who need an economical solution to handling multiple programs but for whom trying to deal with them in Excel is far too difficult, has three elements. Program Management; Product Engineering; Quality Planning. Which is pretty much what automotive engineers deal with in product development. "We've even taken reference to PLM off of our website," Marc Linn, Aras vp of Marketing, says, "because some people are discounting PLM, thinking that it is PDM rebranded."-GSV