[Updated] PLM, non-PLM, PDM… where is difference?

Thank you for Jim Brown’s post yesterday. Why is implementing PLM is hard? Now, I’m officially starting my collection of different comparison of PLM vs. non-PLM vs. PDM etc.

Actually, my first one was from COFES 2009 (PLM vs. non-PLM). It was Brad Holtz’s slide. You can see it here.

So, I have two now and will thank everybody to send me more…


pdm vs plm

[Aug-3] One more definition of PDM vs. PLM

pdm vs. plm -3

[4-Aug-2009] Another one. More “traditional” in my view.

pdm vs. plm -4

[4-Aug-2009] one more…

pdm vs. plm -5




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  • Nawal

    PDM = Engineering Data Managment (It is really only Design Engineering and limited manufacturing engineering CAM stuff etc.) in the context of an adhoc business process.

    PLM = Expanded Engineering Data Management (System Engineering, design engineering, manufacturing engineering, quality engineering) in the context of highly structured as well as adhoc business processes

    Non-PLM = Abstracting Engineering data to a coarser level, for example bunch of Part Master attributes, while ignoring the business process and iterative nature of how the data is authored. So for example, for NON-PLM system – a drawing is document like Word document.

  • Oleg,
    I will offer one more view. It doesn’t explicitly discuss PDM vs PLM, but I think it fits in the same collection of slides. This is what I call the “3 Dimensions of PLM Expansion.” PLM (from its roots as PDM) is expanding in regards to People (more roles outside of engineering), Product (more than just a CAD and technical data, to a commercial view of the product) and lifecycle (further up into the front end of innovation and back into the service lifecycle). It’s not a very impressive graphic (sorry, not my strength), but you can find it in this post: http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2009/what-i-learned-plm-please-take-3-giant-steps-forward/
    I hope that helps to build your collection, feel free to post it back here, I was not able to find a way to embed it for you.

  • Thanks for this very useful post and especially the diagrammatic representations of PLM/PDM. One thing i am struggling with at the moment is a definition of the context in which Product Information *Publishing* fits into this overall model. By Product Information Publishing I am referring to the externally published data and metadata – including images and multimedia – (typically including marketing as well as technical product information) which amasses over its lifetime and which variously ends up being published in one form or another (eg, in a catalogue, on a website etc. etc.) Would be interested in poiters to any discussions or constructs surrounding thisand the way it fits into the overall PLM / PDM picture.

  • Andrew, Thank you for your comments! PIM normally is supposed to synchronize, normalize and expose product information for external usage. I see it outside of what PLM and PDM are doing today. PLM can definitely have an option to manage it too, however, I don’t think PLM can support full stack of PIM requirements. At the same time, I think, trend is to have it included. Best, Oleg

  • Ivan Trokhalin

    Thanks for your posts!
    I think that it isn’t correct to compare PLM and PDM. PLM is a concept, it equals Information System (people, applications, business-processes and its interrelations through the life cycle of product) rather than applications or a suite of applications. PDM – just a technology and corresponding application that can be included into Information System with many other applications (technologies) involved in Product Life Cycle (ERP,SCM,CRM). Terminology in this sphere is very fuzzy. While standards are not exist here it is very difficult to answer ‘where is difference?’. What do you think about CIMdata’s PLM definition?

  • Ivan, thank you for commenting. What you are saying is one of the possible ways to differentiate PLM and PDM. The topic is not simple. I put some of my additional thoughts on this in the following series of posts. I hope you’ll find it useful.
    PDM vs. PLM: A Data Perspective — http://beyondplm.com/2010/07/23/pdm-vs-plm-a-data-perspective/
    PDM vs. PLM: A Process Perspective — http://beyondplm.com/2010/08/17/pdm-vs-plm-a-process-perspective/
    PDM vs. PLM: An Integration Perspective — http://beyondplm.com/2010/08/30/pdm-vs-plm-an-integration-perspective/
    Best, Oleg