Glossary

PLM lifecycle phase (or status or stage)

A lifecycle phase identifies the maturity of -- and the organization's investment in -- an item as it evolves from initial concept, through production, and on to service and repair (or beyond, if you have to worry about recovery and disposal). The point of identifying and managing various lifecycle phases is to control organizational behavior through agreed-upon business rules.The more expensive an item is, the more cautious you will be when making major financial (e.g., inventory or marketing) commitments. When first conceived, an item may not justify any financial commitment simply because it is not yet ready for procurement. As the item is developed, the commitment becomes somewhat greater because the item is ready for prototype evaluation. Later, items become ready for full production, and the manufacturing department is given the green light to purchase in any quantity necessary to meet sales demands. In the long run, a product may become obsolete, and the inventory commitment is reduced to what is in stock, or that necessary for servicing existing products.If your organization's needs are simple, an item may have a simple lifecycle: the business rules may only distinguish between "production" and "non-production" lifecycle phases. A complex machine or computer may have a more sophisticated lifecycle. Each lifecycle phase is most useful when you match it with a unique set of business rules. For instance, your organization may specify that when an item is at the "Prototype" phase, Manufacturing can only build 10 units and Sales cannot put any into the field; if the item's phase is "Field test", Manufacturing can build up to 250 units and Sales can place half of the items at selected customers' sites.It makes sense that you cannot build a production-level product out of pre-production and obsolete parts. Therefore, you should not promote an item to production phase if any of its children are at pre-production phases. Likewise, production items should not use any service-only or obsolete items. Some PLM systems allow you to explicitly enforce these rules.

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