Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is the process that allows businesses to track all aspects of bringing a new product to market. It starts from as early as the planning stage and works through until as far as the manufacturing and marketing phase.
There are lots of options to choose from about the best PLM software for 2022 and in this article, we’re going to highlight which ones you need to look out for. Included here will not just be a look at how each program works, but also guidance on which is best for your product type.
Our Pick for the Best PLM Software for 2022 – Teamcenter Siemens
Teamcenter Siemens is the best PLM Software for 2022 and is the best free PLM software offering a free 30-day trial. Some of the standout features include:
- Great links with CAD – Designing is a huge part of Teamcenter Siemens and products like CAD can be used seamlessly throughout the whole process
- Wide range of products – If you decide to expand, Siemens offers other products in areas like HR and Payroll that all link into the same platform to keep things streamlined.
- Free 30-day trial – You can test all the Teamcenter Siemens PLM products for free for 30 days with no obligation to buy.
Best PLM Software List: Top 10 for 2022
The list below highlights what we think is the PLM software for 2022. Each has a range of strengths and weaknesses which we expand on in the next section.
- Teamcenter Siemens – Best Free PLM Software for 2022
- SAP PLM – Best for Links to SAP Business Products
- PTC Windchill – Best Cloud-Based PLM Software
- Oracle Agile PLM software – Huge PLM Brand with Scalability Options
- Aras PLM – Highly Advanced PLM Software
- QA Wolf – Best Budget PLM Software
- Bamboo Rose – Best PLM Software for Small Businesses
- Upchain – Huge Range of PLM Software Features
- Propel – Best for Large Businesses
- Product Board – Best for PLM and HR Features
Best PLM Software 2022 – Compared
We’ve taken our list of the best PLM software and created more in-depth reviews of our top 5 picks. Use these reviews to help you pick the best PLM software for your product’s needs.
It’s worth noting that some software may suit certain products within the same company more than others. It’s not usually viable to process two of these, so try and find the one that strikes the best balance for all products that the company is going to be running.
1. Teamcenter Siemens – Best Free PLM Software for 2022
Teamcenter Siemens is the most advanced PLM software that we’ve used to date. One of the biggest selling points is the platform’s integration with CAD, allowing designers to quickly move products from the design stage up management level all within the same platform.
Standout features that you can access with Teamcenter Siemens include BOM (Bill of Materials) management system, electrical design management, visualization and VR mockup, mechanical design management and manufacturing workflow.
The design of the software is a little dated, but it’s been created to use minimal resources, which is needed when you work consistently with the likes of CAD and other high-power design platforms. Some argue that it looks a little dated and while true, the tradeoff is that functionally, it’s one of the best.
One of the highlights of Teamcenter Siemens is the huge range of products you can sign up. This makes pricing depend massively based on which you choose, but basic packages start from as little as $40/month. They also offer free 30-day trials with most of their software, so make sure you utilize this functionally.
- Great link up with CAD drawings
- Massive platform that allows links to a wide range of products
- Access to BOM management
- Comes with 30 days free trial for most software
- Looks a little dated
- Can be overkill for smaller companies
2. SAP PLM – Great Links to SAP Business Products
SAP PLM is a fantastic alternative to Teamcenter and while it’s not necessarily got fewer features, it is easier to use and as a “team” platform, will suit a wider range of businesses as a result.
The software starts from the initial planning stage and can work right through to the design and selling process. On this PLM system, you’re able to instill several teams to be linked to one project, which is imperative for larger-scale projects.
Some of SAP PLM’s features include product engineering, project plan coordination, document control, commercial project management, cost calculation and simulation, as well as enterprise visualization.
SAP’s pricing is generally linked to the size of the business and the number of products that you need to use. You get a free trial with almost all its products and pricing can start from as low as $30/month. However, costs increase massively based on the size of your business and the number of features you need from the software.
- Linked to SAP’ larger network of business-related products
- Great for CAD and design integration
- Can be linked to payroll and other HR-based platforms
- Huge scope for expansion from small to large businesses
- 30-day free trial
- Very expensive for the full package
- Can be overkill for smaller projects
3. PTC Windchill – Best Cloud-based PLM Software
PTC Windchill is one of the best options for PLM products on a cloud base. It’s been designed on the back of remote working which allows businesses that are either online or working from home to easily connect all stages of products development.
PTC Windchill excels when it comes to product design and having the ability to change and edit existing designs. CAD plays a huge role within the software and it allows all aspects of the team to chime in with thoughts and edits, without a lot of prior experience with the software.
Features included with PTC Windchill are extensive, but standouts for us included data visualization, outsourcing of project management tools, data malmanagement, Augmented Reality (AR and 3D visualization and of course, the cloud platform which it’s famed for.
PTC Windchill starts from just $14/month, which makes it one of the best in terms of value for money. As with all PLM software, prices will rise sharply as you add more features, but it is worth noting that you get a 30-day free trial on most of its services.
- Best for cloud-based PLM
- Good value for money
- Ideally suited for small-medium sized businesses who are looking to expand
- Lots of updates and improvements are constantly added
- Limited for larger businesses with more products to test
4. Oracle Agile PLM Sofwtware – Huge PML Brand with Scalability Options
Oracle Agile PLM allows you to create products from start to finish with one of the best-looking bits of software we’ve tested to date. Usability is high and with it comes a range of features that allow for seamless integration between a team based in the office and remotely.
One of the standout features is the predictive analysis of how products might fair. The AI takes a ton of data based on your product to work out things like design costs, lead time and potential profit margins. You can even link to things like HR tools to work out costs based on labour hours needed, which is highly impressive.
Features for Oracle Agile PLM include portfolio management, product development, cost management, closed-loop quality management and intelligent dashboards.
Pricing is fully bespoke and Oracle works with businesses as to what products they need and then creates a plan for them. You need to contact the Oracle team to get your quote, which for us, is a little frustrating if only to get some ballpark figures.
- Ideal for small to medium-sized projects
- Links with HR to work out costs based on labour
- Affiliated with some massive brands including Bissell, Orange, and Mazda
- Can link to other Oracle products which will save money over the long term
- Limited in terms of features compared with the competition
5. Aras PLM – Highly Advanced PLM Software
Aras PLM is one of the most advanced PLM software products that we’ve tested to date. It’s been made to work with both medium and large businesses, but the base of it has been designed to allow companies to grow with the product, rather than the other way around.
One of the biggest selling points is the range of companies that already use Aras PLM, which include Honda, Motorola, and Xerox. When you see these types of brands put faith in a product, then you know it’s doing something right at least.
Aras PLM has both functionalities for EBOM and MBOM, which is ideal for keeping tabs on costs for both marketing and production. Other features include document management, BOM management, self0s0ervicing reports, analytics, engineering for products, manufacturing process planning and quality assessment and management.
Pricing starts from just $13 per month, which makes it the most affordable in our list of the best PM Software for 2022. As you include more employees and want to access more features, it will obviously rise, but even at $80/month for the full package, offers incredible value. Based on the competition.
- Cloud-based PLM software
- Available in over 160 countries
- Excellent expansion options for product lifecycles
- Access to both EBOM and MBOM services
- Not the best when it comes to interface/design
- Can be sluggish with larger CAD/design files
What is a PLM Software? PLM Software Definition
PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management and the software is used to follow the journey of a product from its very beginnings in the initial planning stage, right through to sales and marketing.
The software has been designed to pull all aspects of a business together to try and create an outlook of how a product might work. To put it bluntly, one of its key areas is to see if a product can be profitable or not.
What PLM does best is automation and this allows businesses to quickly work out how a product is going to work and then going to sell. We’ve mentioned several of the best PLM software for 2022 on this page already and one of the key areas that they all have in common is automation.
By combing all parts of the company into one central resource, it reduces the “mess” that can come in the early stages. Mess or waste as it’s sometimes referred to is where business departments guess how other departments are going to work.
For example, PLM software will allow the design team to solely work on how the product functions. It then moves it along to marketing to see how much it will cost and then on to HR to work out the costs for the man-hours involved. This is an incredibly basic example to work from, but it highlights how each section of the company is involved in the process to make accurate predictions.
Another reason PLM software is popular is to use in front of potential investors and even stakeholders. Most of the best PLM programs allow users to easily break down and then present data that is digestible in Laymen’s terms.
How does PLM Software Work?
PLM software can range massively in terms of the features that it offers and the features that a business need. However, they all come with a range of elements that are key in how the software works, which we’ve highlighted below:
One of the key features of any PLM software is to create a centralized system that can be accessed by the whole business. This starts from the concept stage right through to the sales and marketing stage, with everything in between.
The PLM software will be able to note and highlight any concerns or changes that have been made both manually and automatically. Each person in the business within each sector will be able to access and see how changes that they make will affect other areas of the process.
For example, if costs for parts were to increase, the parts team would be able to input this data and changes would be reflected in other areas of the costing process. It would minimize profits, but it may also highlight where money can be offset in other areas to keep the reduction in profits to an absolute minimum.
Efficiency is one of the main reasons why many businesses spend large sums of money in using the best PLM software. The software will be able to streamline a huge range of processes that allow the business to run more efficiently and in turn, save money.
Moving to an online platform, such as cloud-based PLM means that everything is now online, meaning it frees up space within the business for other tasks.
By streamlining and having everything in one place, the idea is that you’re able to see what everything will cost to both make and market a product before you’ve even started making it. A good PLM will allow businesses to use tools at their disposal (staff) to calculate these costs and see any potential pitfalls before manufacturing starts.
This all ties into the bottom line and every business’s success is based on if they are profitable or not. To have the ability to predict if a product will work by being made in a certain process is, for the most part, priceless.
A great PLM will also businesses to streamline all phases of the company and not just products. Those that link in things like payroll and HR features can tie products to this to see where money can be saved. It can also be used to offset rising costs or even a decrease in cost as products can be made cheaper.
How to Choose a PLM Software?
We’ve already highlighted what we think are the best PLM software on the market right now, but we wanted to stress that this is not a one-size-fits-all process. Below we’ve included a few areas that you need to consider when you are choosing PLM software for your business.
Ease of Use
One of the most obvious places to start is the ease of use of the platform. Some can be integrated seamlessly into existing products and if you were using something like Siemens PLM software, it’s likely you’ll be able to include other products from there to cover existing programs that you may be running for staffing and design issues.
The key here for ease of use is the learning curve and how accessible a basic model would be to say, a shareholder, who is quite hands-off with these types of products. Ideally, you want feature-rich PLM, but with an easy to work with an overview of all the data that’s been inputted.
System Integration and Existing Processes
We’ve touched on this several times already, but it’s highly likely that most businesses will have some sort of product or tools already in place that would be disruptive to change. A PLM needs to be flexible enough to work alongside those or even better, integrate them fully to work as part of the current process.
This is one of the many reasons why we suggest having these sorts of programs in early as changing them down the line can be a pain. Try and find a PLM that would be able to grow as your business grows.
The best PLM software links multiple aspects of the business as one. You need it so that the design, marketing, payroll, HR, shareholders, and managers can all access the software, and all make changes that are needed to get a product to market.
There are a lot of options that will integrate into other businesses, such as invoicing, where you can pay people directly from the PLM software. You may even be able to get so the PLM is the heartbeat of your entire business, which would make things a lot more streamlined (and profitable) in the long run.
Getting a PLM off the ground and working as part of the business is imperative. Time is money, and the longer it takes to get started and then get a team trained up, the more it’s going to cost.
The best come with extensive tutorials on how it works and can even break these down into segments of the business for the tools they need. Realistically, the implementation should take a matter of hours, not days.
Conclusion – What is the Best PLM Software?
Teamcenter by Siemens has been voted as our best PLM software. Its ability to work within small, medium and large corporations is one of many reasons why we’ve voted this as number one.
We were impressed with the speed of the integration with the software and we would suggest that you look at other Siemens products that you can daisy chain on the back to add even more usability to this product.