Glossary of PLM-related terms
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good manufacturing practice (GMP)
The set of design and production methods that yield a well-documented, consistent, serviceable and ultimately safe and useable product that conforms to customer, company, industry, and regulatory requirements.
A set of characters used to uniquely identify a particular item. Although generally restricted to numeric digits only, the characters may include any alphanumeric character as well as hyphen (dash, -), period, slash, or other separator character (though historically all but hyphen have been strongly discouraged).
In paper-based document control processes, change forms are documents that describe the change, list the items that will be affected by the change, and provide for authorized people to approve the change. In an automated PLM system, these functions are still relevant; in addition, the automated system will actually release or cancel items as directed by the change's contents.
An implementing change ("IC") executes the release and/or cancellation of a set of affected items; items that are not yet released ("pending" items) will be released, and released items will be canceled.
The action of copying a file from a computer into the PLM system's file repository, and associating it with a particular item.
indented (not indentured) list
A list of items that show the hierarchical (parent-child) relationships between, for example, components, subassemblies and assemblies. The list is arranged by indenting (offsetting) each set of child items from its parent.
A collection of parts or subassemblies that, once assembled, cannot be disassembled without impairing one of its component parts. It is, for all practical purposes, a part.
instance (or instantiation)
A specific occurrence of an abstract item class or type; the occurrence inherits characteristics from the abstraction. For example, the item class includes part types (like machine screw and transistor) and document types (like specification or assembly drawing). A particular type (transistor) is an instance of the part class. Likewise, a 2N2222 transistor is an instance of the transistor type. "Instantiation" refers to the creation of an instance from the abstract object.
A part is interchangeable with another part when (a) the relevant functional and physical properties are equivalent in performance, reliability and maintainability, and (b) can be used without requiring special procedures (such as selecting for fit or performance) and without altering the part itself or any other part. A part is often considered interchangeable with another when the form, fit and function are identical.
Practically speaking, if a new part can be intermingled with previous iterations of that part without any negative effect, then it's interchangeable. The part is "revised", retains the same part number, and is received into the same inventory location. Conversely, if you need to stock a new iteration of a part in a different inventory bin because it is not compatible with previous iterations, then it's not interchangeable. You must issue a new part number.
legacy data (or system)
Information created and used before introducing a replacement PLM solution. The data can be (a) absorbed into the PLM system, or (b) run in parallel until the data is obsolete or, through attrition, can be manageably migrated.
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.
An entity that produces (or contracts another to produce) physical items from raw materials, fabrications, components and/or assemblies.
manufacturing resource (or requirements) planning (MRP)
The predecessor to ERP, these systems focused on the relationships between, and demand for, components necessary to manufacture a product.
Data that describes other data. A PLM system doesn't literally manage documents and parts, but manages information about those items. Even in cases where a PLM system manages an actual electronic file (the data), it will also store information about that file (metadata), such as creating application, last-modified date, and whether the file is currently checked out.
PLM0071 Rev 2009-09-12 21:06:59 -0600
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