CloudDecember 4, 2023

How Manufacturers are Using the Power of Cloud-Based PLM to Drive Innovation

Product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions enable manufacturers across industries to streamline product development, but cloud-based PLM is helping them take innovation one step further.
Avatar Clara ROUHANI

Customers nowadays expect companies to provide tailored experiences rather than simple products, which means that the complexity of products is increasing, and so are manufacturing processes. This, combined with business transformations, globalization and the shift to remote working, is pushing companies to improve how they operate in order to maintain their productivity as well as their competitive edge.

Product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions are helping manufacturers in all these aspects. In a 2023 survey, 70% of manufacturers stated that they use PLM solutions, and the majority of them use cloud or hybrid cloud/on-premise PLM.

In recent years, the cloud alternative has gained popularity as it is easier and less costly to implement than its on-premise counterpart: no need for specific hardware or IT investments, all that is needed is a browser and an internet connection. It is expected that PLM on the cloud will continue to make progress as it allows for better visibility, flexibility and collaboration.

In this article, we’ll explore how cloud-based PLM helps manufacturers improve their processes and rethink innovation in different industries.

Meeting certification requirements in Aerospace and Defense

Aerospace and Defense (A&D) programs are complex, and disruptions can have significant consequences in terms of time and cost, as revealed by a recent PLM survey in the industry. In addition to development, the certification process can be long and complicated, so it is essential for manufacturers to ensure that their processes are smooth from the start. One of the ways to reach this goal is to maintain a high level of traceability.

Engineer testing a drone in laboratory - Dassault Systèmes
PLM on the cloud improves traceability in aircraft development

Manufacturers in A&D are using cloud-based PLM to centralize all their data and track design modifications easily, giving them full visibility of all the aspects of the product development lifecycle. Using local servers and shared folders increases the risk of using obsolete information and overwriting critical information. The cloud ensures a single source of truth so that everyone has access to always-up-to-date data from anywhere.

Having clear workflows and being able to track all changes made to the aircraft is a key factor to obtain certification, whether for civilian or military aircraft. PLM on the cloud enables aerospace manufacturers to create robust processes and implement durable part numbering systems that support configuration control and provide traceability of every single product part.

Accelerating innovation in Transportation and Mobility

Consumer demand for electric vehicles has grown exponentially over the past few years and manufacturers must deliver innovative technology at a higher speed than before if they want to stay ahead of the market and stand out from competitors.

Two engineers working on an electric car chassis platform - Dassault Systèmes
Cloud-based PLM is increasing collaboration in Transportation and Mobility

Bringing together all product development processes on the same platform is helping transportation and mobility (T&M) manufacturers to minimize error risks as well as shorten the product development lifecycle, speeding up market launch and achieving faster return on investment. Not only is this increasing manufacturers’ efficiency, it is also allowing them to scale up their business.

Collaboration is a shared concern in the T&M industry, where companies need all departments to work together seamlessly from the earliest stages of development. PLM on the cloud is allowing project stakeholders to securely share data and communicate more easily across departments, getting their projects into production more smoothly and quickly.

Increasing sustainability in Lifestyle and Retail industries

Improving product quality is one of the most pressing challenges manufacturers face today, but in coming years, sustainability will become their main concern, according to a recent survey. Streamlining manufacturing processes and collaboration is proving to be a cornerstone to create more environmentally friendly products across Lifestyle and Retail industries.

View of a kitchen - Dassault Systèmes
Manufacturers are designing and producing greener products with PLM on the cloud

One of the ways manufacturers are using cloud-based PLM to accelerate design cycles is to improve their inventory management. Not only does it enable them to use materials as efficiently as possible, it is also reducing waste and helping them meet environmental and sustainability targets.

Better collaboration allows teams within the company to make updates throughout the entire development process, but it is also proving beneficial across supply chains, improving decision-making, reducing errors and increasing the quality and sustainability of products.

Information can be accessed on future projects and reused, transforming company knowledge and expertise into a real asset. Companies are becoming more efficient, innovative and sustainable while remaining competitive by lowering their costs and time to market.


Cloud-based PLM solutions enable manufacturers across industries to optimize product development and innovate in many different ways. 

If you want to learn more about PLM solutions, check out our latest survey report, Present and Future Outlooks of PLM in Manufacturing Industries, or head over to our podcast series dedicated to the future of PLM with Stéphane Déclée, CEO of ENOVIA or discover our customer stories.

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