Application Programming Interface. A library of functions, procedures, methods and/or classes that support the customization and functional extension of PLM Systems through custom-written programs.



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



A Bill of Materials 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 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 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.



An attribute is a specification that defines a property of an object, element or file. The information stored in an attribute is called metadata. COTS PLM Systems typically come with preconfigured attributes for item number, name, revision and description. Other company specific attributes can usually be added as part of the configuration of the PLM System.





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. There can be several types of BOMs as a product moves through its life cycle:

  • EBOM: Engineering BOM or As-Designed BOM
  • MBOM: Manufacturing BOM or As-Manufactured BOM
  • SBOM: Service BOM or As-Maintained BOM


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 Vaulting)

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.



Computer Aided Software Engineering. The use of dedicated software to assist in software development.



Collective term for computer aided technologies, i.e. CAD, CAM and CAE.


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.



Computer Numerical Control. Usually used in connection with a machine tool (CNC Machine) whose operations are controlled by a computer and NC Programs.



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.



Commercial-off-the-Shelf. A PLM System that is developed by a PLM Software Company and sold as a commercial application. COTS PLM Systems generally come with preconfigured functionality that allows a faster and less expensive implementation.


Customization (Application)

Development of company-specific functionality or modification or extension of existing out-of-the-box system functionality using the application API. Customizations can include company specific workflow behavior and extensions, custom forms and other user interface changes, and application integrations. They are generally created by writing software code in a standard programming language, such as C, C++, HTML, XML, Java, etc or a system specific programming language. Customized functionality often has to be re-written after upgrading a system, which generally makes customizations very expensive to maintain over the life of a system.





Design-to-Order. A process wherein a new product or product variation is designed and manufactured according to the specific requirements of a customer order.


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.



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.



Engineer-to-Order. A process wherein a new product or product variation is engineered and manufactured according to the specific requirements of a customer order.


Evaluation (Software)

Systematic analysis of the functionality, fit, costs and value of one or several PLM systems against a predefined set of criteria or requirements. The objective of an evaluation is the selection of the PLM system that best meets all requirements and provides the highest value for the business.



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.


Floating License

A software licensing method used by some PLM systems wherein a license can float among many users, but can be used by only one user at the time. Once the user has completed his work and logs out of the system, the license is released and can be used by a different user.



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 environment 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.



A distinct object that can be uniquely identified, usually through a number. An item in a PLM System can represent a part, a component, an assembly, a drawing, a document or any other object managed and uniquely identified in the system.




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, take 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

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


Manufacturing Process Planning (MPM)

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.



Data about data. Metadata is structured information that describes and allows to find, manage, organize, control and understand other information. Metadata typically includes information about content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of data. In PLM Systems, metadata is usually captured in attributes and includes number, name, revision, material and other information about parts, components, documents, files, etc.




Named User License

A software licensing method used by a majority of PLM Systems wherein each license is assigned to a specific (named) user. For every user that uses the system there has to be one Named User License. Unlike a Floating License, a Named User License is not available to other users if the assigned user does not work on the system.


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.





Out-of-the-Box. Often also referred to as COTS. Functionality in a PLM System that is available in the application as provided by the PLM Software Company. OOTB functionality may have to be configured to meet the specific needs of the end user, but does not need customization.


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.



A controlled release of a document and/or file that replaces previous releases. Each release is usually identified by an associated number or letter code, termed the “revision letter “revision level” or simply “revision”. The purpose of revisioning is to maintain the history of a document and/or file in order to be able to return to a previous release at any point in time. PLM Systems typically maintain all revisions of a document/file throughout the life of a product and often also for many years after its obsolescence.



Request for Information. Request made typically during the early investigation or project planning phase to potential suppliers to obtain more detailed information about PLM Systems and/or Services in consideration. RFIs often include a PLM Requirements Specification to determine the suitability of different options and to narrow down the number of possible candidate systems for a more detailed evaluation.



Request for Proposal. Request made typically during the evaluation or project realization phase to potential suppliers to obtain detailed technical and commercial information about PLM Systems and/or Services that need to be purchased. RFPs often include a detailed PLM Requirements Specification to compare different options and to allow the selection of the product or service that best meets the company’s business needs.


Rich Client

Sometimes also called Fat Client or Thick Client. User interface that requires the installation of dedicated software on the user’s computer or workstation. Many activities and functions are performed locally on the user’s computer; a connection to the server is mainly required to access and vault data.


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.



Return on Investment. The ratio of money gained or lost (realized or unrealized) as a result of an investment relative to the amount of money invested. ROI is usually expressed as a percentage rather than a fraction.





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.



A central computer that provides services used by other computers - often called clients - and/or stores data for different users. Depending on their purpose, there are different types of servers, including application servers, file servers, web servers and database servers. A PLM System requires one, several or all of the before-mentioned server types depending on the number of users and the system architecture.



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.



Standard for the Exchange of Product model data is an ISO standard (ISO 10303) for the computer-interpretable representation and exchange of product manufacturing information.

Typically STEP can be used to exchange data between CAD, CAM, CAE, PDM/PLM and other CAx systems. STEP is addressing product data from mechanical and electrical design, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, analysis and manufacturing, with additional information specific to various industries such as automotive, aerospace, building construction, ship, oil and gas, process plants and others.

STEP is developed and maintained by the ISO technical committee TC 184, Technical Industrial Automation Systems and Integration, sub-committee SC4 Industrial Data. Like other ISO and IEC standards STEP is copyright by ISO and is not freely available


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.




Thin Client

Often also called Web Client. User interface that requires only a web browser on the user’s computer or workstation to interact with the PLM System. All activities and functions are performed or processed on one or several central servers.


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.




Waterfall Method

The waterfall method is a sequential process, often used in software development and implementations, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through different phases. The original waterfall method included the phases Requirements Definition, Design, Implementation, Verification and Maintenance, but there are many variations dependent on the type of project or area of application.



Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.



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





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