PLM Integration

What is PLM?

Product life cycle management (PLM) is an information system that helps coordinate the information, data and processes associated with the development of a product throughout its life cycle. PLM focuses on the entire life cycle of a product, from concept through end-of-life.

If you’re in the automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding, consumer goods and fashion industry, you’ll often require a PLM system to help manage all the information required to create your product.

Because the products associated with these industries (automobile, plane, cruise ship, etc.) all have several million parts, your PLM system will help manage the parts necessary for completion.

To add to the complexity, these parts are often sourced by many manufactures, each with different systems and data.

Since PLM seeks to help collaborate all the information necessary to build your product, leveraging a PLM system helps to lower your costs, improve your quality and shorten your time to market.

But, how well does your PLM system integrate with other systems, for instance your application management system (ALM), other PLM, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other legacy systems?

To truly improve the overall quality, lower your costs and shorten your time to market, each system including your CAD, PLM and ERP must work together.

That’s where you’ll want to understand and implement PLM integration.

Why is integration with your PLM, ERP, CAD, and other or legacy systems important?

Why is digital integration essential in the manufacturing technology world?

In today’s globalized manufacturing environment, product development is often done in various locations. Partners and vendors are globally dispersed, making communication and data sharing much more of a challenge.

When this data is managed throughout multiple data silos, the data is updated in one system but the changes are not reflected in other systems. This ultimately results in data inefficiencies, rework and inconsistencies throughout product development, leading to dollars and revenue lost for your company.

Your solution to effective communication throughout the entire product lifecycle is PLM integration. It’s a way to reflect critical in your systems and get the most up-to-date and accurate data for your product development.

Why can’t one system ‘do it all’?

Integrating product data is a challenge for even the most proficient company. If you were to fully centralize your data (choose one PLM system), then you would be ‘locked in’ to your chosen system and this would prevent future viability of your PLM.

Productivity suffers when an end-user is limited to only one tool, which usually requires cumbersome manual integrations. Point-to-point integrations do not scale properly and eventually leave you with budget constraints and limited ability to respond to change. When data is duplicated throughout multiple systems, compatibility issues and unsynchronized processing time will most likely occur.

What does this mean for your company? Incompatible, unsynchronized data leads to inconsistencies in product development and the rework of incorrectly manufactured parts. This additional work means that you will spend more money, more time and more resources on an integration.

As PLM vendors work to keep your data siloed in their system, how can you work efficiently when your data is stored elsewhere: in other business units, other departments – perhaps even other countries?

To add to the complexities of integration, smart connected products and blockchain technology have revolutionized product development. These tools provide first rate security and real time data access, but they also add a level of data management to your product development processes. How will you incorporate these into your processes?

Why PLM Integration?

The business benefits of PLM integration include more efficient and faster product development times. PLM integration gives you a better view of your lifecycle across all relevant domains and disciplines. You can be assured that data is visible and up-to-date across your organization and down through your external development partners.

What about PLM ERP integration?

While there are many types of data integration, PLM ERP integration is designed to increase the efficiency of your business operations.

This efficiency comes from PLM’s focus on production and manufacturing and from ERP’s focus on managing your resources, order processing, purchasing, accounting, inventory and manufacturing.

Because PLM and ERP are closely related, integration of these two components will streamline your product development processes, as any changes to one system will greatly affect the other. With bi-directional data flow between your PLM ERP, you’ll be able to get accurate data in both systems, thus improving your product development process and allowing you to use each system to its maximum capability.

What about ALM Integration?

ALM is short for Application Lifecycle Management. ALM helps manage the lifecycle of application development. PLM ALM integration incorporates the integration between your hardware and software systems.

ALM is complex and has its own set of software development lifecycle (SDLC) methodologies. Traditionally, these domains followed different development streams.

When you integrate both systems, both your hardware and software components are developed in a way that speeds up the entire development process.

CAD Integration

Collaboration in product development can be a challenge with so many different CAD file formats existing in the market.

The integration of both PLM and CAD ensures that changes are up-to-date since both systems ultimately improve collaboration which reduces rework and improves efficiency.

PLM Integration Other Business Systems

Regardless of the systems you use, PLM integration will give you a better view of your product lifecycle development. Though integrations can vary in complexity, they are quite manageable with the right software tools and with people who understand the criteria for successful data integrations.

PLM Integration Software and Tools

OpenPDM is your leading product for PLM systems integration. Regardless of your system(s), OpenPDM has connectors to connect to a wide variety of domains in various disciplines.


OpenPDM is the leading product for PLM system integration worldwide. As the standard PLM integration platform for all internal and external integration tasks, OpenPDM provides connectors to different systems in almost every domain and discipline. Use OpenPDM to integrate product data:

  • across corporate borders
  • with systems from different vendors
  • between different domains and disciplines

OpenPDM Integrate features

  • CAx integration/migration
  • SDM/ERP ingration/migration
  • PDM/PLM integration/migration
  • OSLC, web services, STEP, XML and other integration/migration solutions

Download the White Paper

Learn more about OpenPDM Integrate

Get the Digital Thread Guide

[erforms id=”7399″]


CALL / TEXT: +1 248 247 1007


EMEA, Asia-Pacific

CALL: +49 6151 9287-0


Join the 20,000+ people learning about PLM solutions and digital transformation.


PROSTEP is the world's leading product life cycle integration and migration specialist for the discrete manufacturing industry.

For inquiries please send us a message or email us at