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There are six key differences between the PLM paradigm and the previous paradigm.



















#1. PLM is focused on “the product”. It addresses the heart of the company, the source of its revenues, the products that customers buy. There’s little in a company more important than its products, and the management of their development, use and support. Without products, there’ll be no customers, no revenues. With PLM, the company is organised by product lines, product families.
Under the previous paradigm, the company was organised and run departmentally. Promotion and remuneration, for example, were awarded on the basis of achieving departmental goals. As a result, people didn’t focus on the product, but on departmental issues.


#2. PLM is "joined-up". With PLM, a company manages the product in a continuous coherent way across the lifecycle. PLM joins up many previously separate and independent activities, disciplines, functions and applications, each of which, though addressing the same product, previously had its own vocabulary, rules, culture and language. 
Before PLM, companies didn’t have a joined-up approach that managed a product continuously and coherently throughout the lifecycle. Departments such as Marketing, R&D, Manufacturing and Support took product-related decisions separately. Products were managed first one way by one department, then in different ways by other departments. Often they weren’t managed at all once they left the factory gate. Or when they got to their end of life.


#3. Under the PLM paradigm, the way that a company manages its products across the lifecycle is proactively designed and defined. It’s formally documented in the Quality Manual. 
Under the previous paradigm, the way that companies managed their products didn’t result from a clear documented plan, but from the way the various departments organised their activities. The subject of how products were managed across the lifecycle wasn't explicitly addressed by company management. Often nobody in the company could describe in detail how products were managed across the lifecycle.


#4. PLM is a business activity. It’s carried out to meet business objectives of increasing product revenues, reducing product-related costs, maximising the value of the product portfolio, and maximising the value of current and future products for both customers and shareholders. 
With the previous paradigm, each department independently implemented techniques and approaches to support its functional activities. These had technical objectives (such as “design better” or “manage our data better”), not business objectives (such as "increase product revenues").


#5. PLM has a holistic approach to the management of a product. It addresses not only products but also other resources such as business processes, people, product data, information systems and equipment. Under PLM, all these resources are taken into account when managing the product. 
Under the previous paradigm, there was a piecemeal approach to managing these resources. They were managed in different unconnected ways at different times in the lifecycle with different approaches by different people.


#6. PLM is a digital paradigm. Under the PLM paradigm, products are managed across the lifecycle with digital computers, digital information and digital communication.
In the previous paradigm, people used analogue and mechanical calculation devices, and paper-based information and communication.



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