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PLM Terminology

A list of frequently used PLM terminology, including common PLM software solutions.

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Advanced Product Quality Planning is a framework of procedures and techniques used to develop products in industry, particularly the automotive industry.

AS9100 is a unified quality standard for the Aerospace industry created by the Society of Automotive Engineers and The European Association of Aerospace Industries.

A Bill of Materials (see BOM) can be arranged such that its levels flow in the order that the product is built or assembled. This arrangement is referred to as an as-built BOM.

A Bill of Materials (see BOM) can also be arranged such that its levels flow in the order that the product is designed. This arrangement is called an as-designed BOM.

An as-maintained Bill of Materials (see BOM) is arranged such that its levels reflect the order in which the product is maintained or serviced. This arrangement is referred to as an as-maintained BOM.


A PLM baseline refers to a specific configuration that is retrieved based on a query condition. Baselines are often referred to as "snapshots in time" of configurations, meaning that they accurately represent a configuration as it existed on a particular date/time.

Bill of Materials - a hierarchical listing of: all the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, components, parts, and the quantities there-of, necessary to produce a final product.

BOM Management
BOM Management solutions ensure a single definition of a product by aggregating and connecting all of the information and attributes used to design, manufacture and support that product in a structured, multi-level engineering Bill of Materials (BOM).

Business Process Management - a field in management that aims to strategically assess the processes a business uses and continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of those processes.This approach can be done through either or both of an analysis of people and technology.

Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence (BI) refers to any tool, technology, software, practice, skill, or anything else, a business uses to help itself understand and analyze information and data pertaining to itself. BI can be used for predictive modeling, historical analysis, or to look at current trends in order to facilitate decision-making for the business.


Computer Aided Design - a blanket term used to describe the tools and software used in computer-based design and engineering.

CAD File Management
CAD File Management solutions provide Electrical and Mechanical CAD integration and design file management for a wide range of commercial CAD applications.

Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) is Integrated CAD and CAM platform.

Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) is the use of computer-based tools to support the engineering process. CAE tools (software) can be used for activities like analyzing component durability and running simulations on CAD models.

Computer Aided Manufacturing - the use is the use of digital tools to assist with the process of manufacturing products or product components. CAM is a programming tool that allows engineers to create physical versions of the digital models they produce using CAD programs.

The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is a non-profit organization that creates quality standards for automotive parts. Their standards are currently applied to parts made from three materials: metal, plastic, and lighting. The organization is based in Washington D.C. and was founded in 1987. CAPA also focuses on the systematic investigation of discrepancies (failures and/or deviations) in an attempt to prevent their recurrence (for corrective action) or prevent from occurrence (for preventive action).

Computer Aided Production Engineering (CAPE) is the use of computer-based technology to design the processes and procedures associated with a product, such as: assembly, maintenance, and servicing.

Change Form
A Change Form is a document that acts as a vehicle to describe modifications (real or proposed) to effected items.

If a user wants to modify a file from a system library that file is "checked out" by the user for his/her exclusive use.

Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing is a blanket term for anything that involves the use or delivery of a service over the internet that is hosted by a second party.

Configuration Management is a field of management established in the 1950s by the defense industry that is designed to standardize all of the processes associated with the production of a product in order to ensure the consistency of products' attributes and performance with it's requirements and design.

Configuration Management II (CMII) is a management approach that starts the process with the project's requirements and ensures that the product or service developed follows from the demands and requirements of the customers. CMII is authorized and developed by The Institute of Configuration Management.

Capability Maturity Model Integration is an approach to process improvement in software engineering and organizational development.

In PLM the term configuration refers to a specific set of items, normally defined in a hierarchical structure, that together define a product. A valid configuration is always version-sensitive, so items can never be replaced with newer versions unless the new version is explicitly added to the configuration.

Configuration Management
Configuration Management solutions provide a comprehensive, closed-loop system for managing changes to product configurations and maintaining the functional and physical attributes of a product or system throughout its life.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a is a collection of processes and approaches that businesses use to track and organize it's contacts, leads, potential leads, customers, and potential customers, etc.


Document Management
Document Management solutions provide a secure online file repository that ensures all users are accessing a single verion of the truth in relation to products, processes and other files.


Enterprise Application Integration - a term for the plans, methods, and tools used to integrate and consolidate enterprise computer applications.

Engineering Bill of Materials - a Bill of Materials organized according to how a product is designed by it's engineers. It is also referred to as the "as-designed" bill of materials.

Engineering Change Notice - a change form for a change to a design.

Engineering Change Order - another term for an ECN.

Effectivity refers to the ability to define valid configurations based on multiple factors (including, but not limited to time). Effectivity differs from the concept of "effective date" in that effectivity must be defined on relationships. Many types of effectivity exist in PLM, including Date Effectivity, Lot/Batch Effectivity and Model/Unit (or Serialized) Effectivity.

Environmental Compliance
Environment Compliance solutions help ensure compliance, traceability and trackability with environmental laws, regulations, standards and other requirements.

Enterprise Resource Planning - an industry term for the activities and strategies businesses use to manage and coordinate resources, information, and functions

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a project management technique that allows for objective measurement of project progress.


FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11
Title 21 CFR Part 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation for drug makers, medical device manufacturers, biotech companies, biologics developers, and other FDA-regulated industries that defines the criteria under which electronic records and electronic signatures are considered to be equivalent to paper records.

Federation is the process of connecting business objects in other systems, such that those business objects can be included in workflows, configurations and business rules.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis is a procedure for analysis of any errors or defects in a process, design, or item.


Global Product Development
Global Product Development solutions provide a unified enviroment that enables enterprise organizations to foster collaboration, and connect and collaborate with globally distributed teams.

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is an industry term for the set of design and production methods used for the management of manufacturing and quality control testing of foods, pharmaceutical products, and medical devices.


Implementing Change
Any change to a product or design that results in the release and/or cancellation of a given set of effected items.

Two parts are deemed to be interchangeable when they can be used in place of one another in every possible application. This term is used in engineering change to decide whether the part's identification should change when a modification is made.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international organization, based in Geneva, Switzerland, that unifies proprietary industrial and commercial standards.

ISO 9000
ISO 9000 is a family of standards for quality management systems developed and maintained by the ISO.

ISO/TS16949 is a quality management standard based on ISO 9001 (part of ISO 9000). TS16949 is meant to emphasize continual improvement, defect prevention, and the reduction of waste in the supply chain. The standard applies to the design, development, production, installation, and servicing of automotive products.


Lean Design
The process of eliminating waste and non-value-adding processes in the design phase of the product lifecycle.

Lean Development
Lean Development integrates lean preproduction and preparation techniques to an aim to decrease time to product launch and reduce product development cycle times.

Lean Engineering
Lean Engineering is the application of Lean principles to the engineering process: flow, pull, standardized work, takt time, and other Lean principles through common lean techniques and tools used in operations.

Lean Manufacturing
Lean Manufacturing is an approach to production that emphasizes efficiency and the creation of "value." Value is any action or process for which a customer would be willing to pay.

Lean Product Development
Lean Product Development solutions incorporate lean design, development, and engineering into a holistic approach to product development that provides visibility into the engineering process, minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency at every stage in the value and supply chains.


Maintenance and Calibration
Maitenance and Calibration solutions make it easy to manage maintenance and calibration records for mission-critical tools, gauges and fixtures.

Manufacturing Process Planning
Manufacturing Process Planning solutions ensure information accuracy and quality for manufacturing processes by providing a reliable, single version of the truth in a secure, online location.

Manufacturing Bill of Materials - a Bill of Materials organized according to how a product is built. It is a list of the parts, materials, documents, and tools necessary to manufacture a product. It is also referred to as the "as-built" bill of materials.

Manufacturing Change Order - a change form for a change to a manufacturing process.

The word mechatronics is a combination of 'Mechanics' and 'Electronics'. The field of engineering it describes is an amalgamation of mechanical engineering, electronics engineering, control engineering, systems design engineering, and computer engineering.

Metadata is data that describes other data. The term can be used for any kind of data or information that describes data of any kind in any media.


New Product Introduction
New Product Development and Introduction (NPDI) solutions streamline and automate the NPDI process, enabling enterprise organizations to bring better products to market faster while maximizing profitability.

Non-Implementing Change
A change to a product or design that does not affect the release or cancelation of an item but rather alters a fact or description of the item or items listed.

New Product Development and Introduction (NPDI) is the process of bringing a new product or service to market. NPDI is typically the first phase in the PLM process.


Outsourced Design
The practice of outsourcing (subcontracting a service to a third-party) design services such as CAD drafting, or product design.


Part Traceability
Part Traceability solutions enable traceability to component vendor codes, serial codes and lot codes in as-built and as-maintained configurations.

Phase/Stage Gate
A Stage-Gate or Phase-Gate model is a project management technique in which a project, development process, or system, is divided up into sections called stages or phases each separated by a gate.


PLM Software
Product Lifecycle Management software is a software application that is used to support the PLM process.

Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) is all of the non-geometric attributes, in a 3D CAD system, necessary to manufacture a product, component, or system.

Point of Interchangeability
In a configuration, the level at which interchangeability is restored is the point of interchangeability, or the lowest level at which the entire configuration can be replaced with an alternate configuration without affecting overall function.

Portfolio Management
IT Portfolio Management is the systematic management of the different types of projects and initiatives managed by Information Technology services and capabilities in an effort to quantify the progress and effectiveness of IT investments.

Procurement is an industry term for the acquisition of goods or services. It can also refer to the department in an organization that performs these duties.

Product Analytics
A product configuration-aware business intelligence solution that provides enterprise organizations with integrated data analysis and drill-down capabilities for root cause analysis.

Product Costing
Product Costing is the process involved in analyzing the expenses generated by all of the various aspects of a given product's production and sale: from the purchase of raw materials and transportation though the cost of distribution.

Product Data Management (PDM)
Product Data Management (PDM) is the practice of using software and/or other tools to organize, track, and control data related to a product. PDM is the predecessor to PLM.

Product Engineering
Product Engineering solutiosn combine BOM structures, product costing, document management and graphical change workflows to enable enterprise organizations to reduce product costs, improve change coordination and develop better products faster.

Product Intelligence
All of the tools and methods a business uses to analyze the information and data pertaining to given product: sales, cost of production, historical revenues, price fluctuation in cost of materials, etc. are called Product Intelligence. These tools are used to facilitate decision-making about products.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
PLM or Product Lifecycle Management is a process or system used to manage the data and design process associated with the life of a product from its conception and envisioning through its manufacture, to it's retirement and disposal. PLM manages data, people, business processes, manufacturing processes, and anything else pertaining to a product. A PLM system acts as a central information hub for everyone associated with a given product, so a well-managed PLM system can streamline product development and facilitate easier communication among those working on/with a product.

Program Management
Provides comprehensive functionality to reduce project costs, improve profit margins and shorten product development cycles.

Project Management
Provides up-to-the-minute visibility into projects and programs, enabling enterprise organizations to plan and manage resources, mediate risk and maximize profitability.


Quality Management
Quality Management is a management approach that aims for increased and consistent product quality and the means and methods used to achieve this quality. The three main components of quality management are: quality control, quality assurance, and quality improvement.

Quality Planning
Quality Planning solutions provide enterprise organizations with comprehensive tools and processes to manage risk, improve quality and attain environmental, regulatory, safety, medical and other forms of compliance.

Quality Systems
Encompasses all of the processes, procedures and resources required to ensure quality management.

Quote Process Management
An in-bound quote process management solution for configure-to-order and engineer-to-order companies who need to inject engineering business rules and intelligence into the customer order process.


Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory Compliance solutions centralize compliance information and documentation, making it easier for enterprise organizations to achieve and maintain compliance with environmental, product safety, medical device, FDA, ISO and other processes and standards on a global scale.

An item is deemed to have been reidentified when its primary identifying number (e.g. Part Number) has changed. Reidentifying an item indicates that the new item should be tracked separately from the original item (i.e. a new Part is created), and is normally done when interchangeability is not preserved.

Risk Management
Risk Management solutions enable enterprise organizations to capture, manage, report and mitigate risks throughout the product lifecycle.

Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive - a European Union directive that restricts the use of six hazardous substances: Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Cadmium (Cd), Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), in the manufacture of certain kinds of electronic and electrical equipment. The RoHS came into effect on July 1st 2006.


Software as a Service is a model of software development and deployment in which the software provider licenses a software application to customers as an on demand service.

In telecommunications and software engineering, scalability is the capability of a system to handle increasingly large amounts of work without degrading performance.

Service-Oriented Architecture is a structure for information systems and services that defines and dictates how computing entities, like programs or operating systems, interact and exchange data.

SOAP is a protocol that dictates the encoding of information exchanged between different services (like operating systems).

Sourcing refers to the action of direct procurement for a product. Sourcing for a product is acquiring all of the essential raw materials, components, and assemblies necessary to manufacture a product.

Supplier Relationship Management is a practice of building and maintaining positive and strong relationships between a business and its suppliers.

Supplier Corrective Action
Supplier Corrective Action solutions automate and improves collaboration with suppliers, making it easier to manage relationships across a distributed, multi-tiered supplier network.

Supply Chain
Supply Chain Management solutions automate and improve management, coordination and communication with suppliers, making it easier to manage relationships across a distributed, multi-tiered supplier network

Systems Engineering
Systems Engineering solutions enable users to define, develop, capture and incorporate product requirements of all kinds — customer, technical, regulatory, etc. — in a single, dynamic repository.


Tooling Management
Automates tool and tool crib inventory and maintenance, enabling manufacturers to streamline processes and maximize profitability while improving compliance.


Value Chain
A Value Chain is a business management concept that describes the chain of activities through which a product passes on it's way to the consumer.

Variants & Options
Variants and Options solutions provide a highly flexible platform for configure-to-order and engineer-to-order environments, enabling enterprise organizations to reduce administrative costs and simplify complex ECO processes.


A Workflow is a visual representation or depiction of a sequence of operations defined as work.

Terminology Websites

PLM Glossary | Dassault Systemes

PLM Terminology Wiki | Aras

The PLM Encyclopedia | Isicad

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