10 Challenges in PLM Implementation

In this article, we will study 10 important challenges that are faced while implementing a PLM application in the organization.

Challenges in PLM Implementation

1. Integration with third-party applications

In the industries variety of data is generated such as process plans, Bill of materials, Inventory data, Manufacturing data, Design data, etc. To manage all these data different applications are used such as ERP, MES, and CAD software. PLM is about managing all these data under one umbrella. Integration of PLM software with all these legacy software becomes challenging due to the complexity of requirements, compatibility of software, platform dependency, and data transformation.

2. Complex functional process mapping

There are different departments available in every organization and they follow a certain flow of activities. PLM integrates all these departments with each other for smooth flow of information, data integrity, and data security. But sometimes it becomes really difficult to manage complex business process flow in the PLM application.

3. Heavy Customization

Each industry has its own business process, work culture, and way of managing product information. It’s not possible to develop software that meets all the requirements of all industries. It’s just not possible. So Customization needs to be done in the PLM software in order to accommodate business process requirements. Data model development, process development, and integration with third-party applications involve heavy customization. It becomes difficult for organizations to maintain heavily customized applications.

4. Legacy data management

Migration of legacy data into the new applications is one of the most difficult challenges of a PLM implementation project. Organizations use different legacy software to manage data of different departments. Managing all these data in one system becomes challenging because different software generates different types of data. Due to compatibility issues data needs to be transformed into a compatible format. It’s been observed data organizations almost lose 5-10% of legacy data while implementing a new PLM system.

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5. Acceptance by an end-user

An end user is a person who will actually use the PLM system. So it’s very important that the end user must feel comfortable while using the system. And his work must be simplified with the help of a new system. But as a general human behavior, we tend to hesitate any kind of new process in our current working structure. User training sessions are conducted to train users to use the system. But these are not enough. It takes time for users to understand how the new system works and get used to it.

6. High Licensing and maintenance cost

The licensing cost of PLM software is very high. Licenses are sold based on the requirements of different modules. And to support and maintain PLM applications, organizations need specialized PLM support consultants which also increases the cost of maintenance and user support.

7. Misalignment of business units

PLM traverse through all the business verticals or units of an organization. It’s been observed that some business units don’t agree with the proposed solution and it may result in a conflict of views on PLM application between different business units. Sometimes it’s become really difficult to convince all business units to accept and agree on a common solution.

8. Longer implementation time

Implementation of the PLM application is not just a simple software installation process. Implementation of the PLM application process is a lengthy and stepwise procedure. It generally takes 2-3 years to implement a PLM application or even more based on the business process requirement. So organizations have to spend more time implementing the PLM process. Sometimes a project gets delayed due to disagreement on certain solutions or software limitations that were not anticipated at the beginning of the project.

9. Selection of a PLM tool

The selection of a PLM tool is also a major challenge. Different factors need to be considered while selecting a toll such as License cost, maintenance cost, compatibility of PLM software with existing legacy software, and capability of software to manage the complex business process.

10. Requirement gathering

Requirement gathering is the very initial and important stage of any PLM implementation process. Because the information gathered during this stage is the basis of how PLM software will be for that organization. All the major architecture-level decisions and future implementation plans are decided based on this gathered information. Sometimes consultants miss some data, process, or scenario during this stage due to miscommunication or lack of functional knowledge which later results in a big headache to manage.


We hope this article was informative and you got some basic idea about the challenges in PLM implementation projects. Please share your experience of implementing PLM applications in the comment section or you can reach out to us using the contact form or send your view to hello.technolads@gmail.com

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