PLM and Industry 4.0

Summary & Goals

The goal of the PLM Green discussion forum and working group on Industry 4.0, led by Lionel Grealou, is to investigate and advocate the use of PLM business strategies and software technologies that will power an Industry 4.0 vision of sustainable green manufacturing.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is one of the core enablers to a green Industry 4.0, alongside other enterprise platforms and supporting technologies that include ERP, SCM, MES, SLM, IOT, 3D printing, etc. The smart products and smart factories resulting from Industry 4.0 can create a new low-carbon circular economy based on the principles of sustainable manufacturing.  Sustainable manufacturing requires data traceability through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources. This vision will require the technology tools, integrated processes, and data sharing that PLM is capable of providing right now.

Theme Moderators

Lionel Grealou, Managing Director

Focus & Objectives

Sustainable manufacturing implements multiple Circular Economy principles such as: reuse, recycle, reduce, recover, reuse, repair, regenerate, re-manufacture, and waste management. As such, it becomes necessary to rethink the “product” and its functions such as how to use the product more efficiently and environmentally over its entire lifecycle. As example, leveraging all of the data created upstream of manufacturing that is authored as part of the product development process, including EBOM-MBOM alignment, CAD and CAE data, digital manufacturing, manufacturing process planning, plant simulation, technical publications, electronic work instructions, digital twins, and other PLM solution elements (process, technology and data).

Sustainable manufacturing is the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources. It simultaneously concerns four dimensions or external factors: society, environment, economy, and  technology. It also involves sustainable engineering by expanding on how smart connected products and smart factories address the following industry requirements:

  • Product life extension
  • Part and component optimization
  • Smarter and circular design
  • End-to-end eco-innovation
  • Systems engineering, lean processes, clean data
  • Sustained growth and productivity
  • Renewable energy sources

Agenda & Activities

The agenda of this PLM Green theme group will be to explore the “intersection” of how PLM strategies and technologies enable the vision of Industry 4.0 for a more sustainable circular economy. In doing so we plan to investigate the following questions with respect to their green value:

  • How does data and product connectivity contribute to feeding smart factories, and enhancing the product lifecycle practice?
  • How to improve feedback loops and data integration upstream-downstream of new product development to contribute positively to the circular economy?
  • How to drive downstream waste reduction by improving data traceability and accessibility, with better product analytics throughout its lifecycle?
  • How to link more tightly manufacturing planning and execution?
  • How to more robustly connect and integrate engineering, manufacturing and service / maintenance process operations?
  • How to reduce time to market, with both product development and production cost optimization, integrating co-creation from the design office to the shop-floor?
  • How to align further the digital and the physical worlds, delivering more customer-centric products enabled by fully horizontally-integrated PLM strategies, taking an ecosystem approach to collaboration, leveraging more agile and continual release processes?
  • How to reduce pre-launch cost and generate downstream manufacturing improvements?

We will be pursuing the objectives using a plan selected from several activities which may include: focus discussion groups, articles and blog posts, book reviews, recorded interviews, industry surveys, conference panels, webinars, and cooperation with other organizations and alliances. The agenda will be developed in collaboration with our members and volunteers from around the world under the leadership of our theme moderator.

Announcements & Updates

Check back soon as we finalize and announce our activities for 2021. To follow our progress with periodic updates register HERE to receive our news updates or email us at

Invitation to Participate & Collaborate

To participate in our PLM and Industyy 4.0 discussion forum, we invite you to first join the PLM Green Global Alliance LinkedIn Group at then contact our moderator Lionel Grealou.

References & Resources

Here we have started creating a curated list of featured white papers, blog posts, presentations, case studies, webinars, and recorded interviews on the role of PLM in powering a green Industry 4.0  We invite you to send us examples you have come across in your own work, company, industry, or country to

Achieving Sustainable Manufacturing Through PLM and CLM - Sustainability in manufacturing is a hot topic. Customers, shareholders and regulatory agencies are increasingly demanding manufacturing companies provide sustainable, carbon-neutral options for the products they design, manufacture, sell, and service. For many of these companies, most of the tools they need to do this are already available in their enterprise… Continue Reading
Green and Digital Transformation - In the recent article "Green and Digital Transformation: PLM, ERP, Industry 4.0 toward Sustainable Innovation" PLM Green Global Alliance participant Lionel Grealou examines how enterprise platforms can contribute to sustainability goals. "Sustainability is on the agenda of every organization. Most OEMs and their supply chains have embraced the mantra… Continue Reading
Product Lifecycle Management in Support of Green Manufacturing - The technical paper "Product Lifecycle Management in Support of Green Manufacturing: Addressing the Challenges of Global Climate Change" is one of the earliest publications on the intersection of PLM and climate change. It was first published in the International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management. The authors Ligia-Varinia Barreto, Hannah… Continue Reading
European Green Digital Coalition Launched - Members of the new European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) are committing to establish science-based targets for reducing GHG by 2030 and to become climate neutral or net-zero no later than 2040. Announced by the European Commission: "The CEOs of 26 European companies have signed a Declaration to support the Green… Continue Reading
PLM and Industry 4.0 Exploring the Intersection of PLM and Industry 4.0 - In this insightful article by Lionel Grealou on Exploring the Intersection of PLM and Industry 4.0 "It is often said that product lifecycle management (PLM) is an enabler to Industry 4.0. Enabled digital platforms include PLM, ERP, MES and many other processes, tools and technologies leveraging the Industrial Internet… Continue Reading
Cummins Planet 2050 - This Digital Engineering article describes the Cummins PLANET 2050 sustainability initiative to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while reducing consumption of natural resources. Continue Reading
PLM for Sustainable Manufacturing - PLM and Sustainable Manufacturing - PLM Green Alliance theme moderator Lionel Grealou introduces the connection between PLM and Sustainable Manufacturing in his recent blog post. Continue Reading