PLM Tools with Artificial Intelligence?

PLM Tools with Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the buzz words found today. It is revolutionizing the way we look at problems and how we make computer solve a problem. In earlier days when computer was invented, it was thought that computer was a tool to only solve a problem faster. This view has changed since then. Today with Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics we can predict a problem and then use the same computer to solve it. I was reading an article CAD + MACHINE LEARNING =?and it triggered to me that there is a lot that AI can offer to the PLM world.

The dynamics of the Industry are changing and so is the product complexity. With organizations manufacturing and selling products globally, the rules of the games are ever changing. Further each market has its own demand-supply curves depending on the geo political situation at a particular time. Companies are investing big dollars on machine learning based solutions to predict future.

It was interesting to watch this video on YouTube “Keynote “Artificial Intelligence: Where are we at and where are we heading?”” . The video highlights a very interesting point – Now is the best time to invest in Artificial Intelligence. The huge progress in Big Data Analytics, easier access to high performing computers and presence of advanced deep learning systems make today the hot day for Artificial Intelligence.


We are still awaiting the AI surge in PLM. Vendors today are pushing clients for IOT, Digital Manufacturing, etc. But at the end of the day all these are not possible without “Intelligent PLM systems”. An Intelligent PLM system should ideally do the following without or with very less human intervention—

  • Intelligent Decision Making – The system should make data driven decisions. These tools should make use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics techniques to gauze future risks and take appropriate decisions.
  • Intelligence Data Processing – PLM tools today are simply Garbage-In-Garbage-Out. There is very little validation of on the data that is entered in the tools today. Also many organizations today do not have a central data lake for a concrete data policy.
  • Natural Language Processing and Text Mining – Today a lot of useful data is in unstructured format. There is a growing need to leverage this unstructured data for better product digitization.
  • Intelligent and Flexible Integration – Today most of the Integrations PLM systems have are hard wired. There is a growing need to make these integration more dynamic to allow more flexibility in how two systems talk to each other.

PLM tools are gearing up for embracing the AI wave. Manufacturing Industry can be a sweet spot for AI vendors right now. These companies are full of legacy data and tools that can be leverage to generate insights.

  • I started this discussion during PLM conferences in 2014 and explored these thoughts with major vendors of BI technology. At that time the conclusion was that the PLM market is considered a niche market compared to consumer-related businesses. I do not see PLM Vendors invest soon in this kind of technology as the path towards a digital and reliable enterprise is blocked by legacy documents. Yes the dream is there and companies without a legacy might be the first to realize his dream.